New Ideas for Parents and Teachers
Many years ago my sighted father wanted to learn braille and had a great struggle finding materials and good approaches. I've described his experiences and how he inspired my interest in braille literacy. I developed this website as a way of passing on his ideas to help sighted persons learn braille and have added a
few of my own.
I am an early-retired computational scientist and you will spot my computer-based perspective throughout the site. I hope this is useful because I've discovered that an understanding of computers and computer terminology is very important to understanding many issues involving braille and computers, including transcribing programs. Just as in any area, there is misleading information where knowledge can protect you.
Computer science has brought much joy to my life. My hope is that the information here that shows the close relationship of the braille cells and the braille codes to computer concepts—from the binary number system to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) used to develop websites—will inspire those who know braille to learn more about computers and inspire everyone to discover the fascination of braille. .
Tip! Challenge your older children to learn about the binary number system. Go to number systems page.
Dotless Braille Tip! Throughout the site there are green-highlighted tips to make learning and using braille easier. Links to most of the tips are given below.
- Advocate for using DotlessBraille for interlining. That way you will know exactly what the braille says.
- Arrange cells in a way that makes them easier to find from their dot patterns. Go to Find-A-Cell tip.
- Learn the braille cells faster by memorizing them in numerical (NUMBRL) order instead of alphabetical order. Go to NUMBRL memory-trick tip.
- Try memorizing the cells in a different order such as by dot patterns. Go to memorizing tip.
- Label a brailler so it can be used by someone who doesn't know braille. Go to brailler tip.
Photo of old Perkins brailler with NUMBRL labels above keys.
- Use your word processor to make custom "cheat sheets". Go to tip.
- Use your word processor to make Braille-English and English-Braille dictionaries based on NUMBRL. Go to word-processor dictionary tip.
- Use the AutoCorrect feature in your word processor to learn the full-word contractions. Go to contraction-learning tip.
- Use your favorite font to display Braille ASCII to make it more readable if you use it for proofreading while waiting for DotlessBraille™ to become a reality. You can also use other fixed-width fonts (such as Lucida Console) instead of Courier if you need to check layout. Go to Braille ASCII display tip.
- If you use Word for word processing, set up a new Style called "Contractions" to define a half-size format for the two-letter signs for use with fixed-width fonts like Courier and Lucida. (Go to the Character Spacing tab and set Scale to 50% in the Font box.) That way you can practice the spelling rules for the two-letter contractions by selecting letter pairs and locally changing their
- Take braille notes with pen or pencil without having to list dot positions or "draw" cells. Go to NUMBRL useage tip.
- Connect the dots when writing braille cells with pen or pencil in order to make writing easier. Go to Kobographs tip.
- Change the keyboard mapping to make it easier to use a simulated braille font. Go to KickKeys tip.
- Try out an old standard keyboard mapping for full-keyboard input of literary braille. Go to mapping suggestion tip.
- Download and use the free NFBTRANS literary braille transcribing program to transcribe or check yourself. Go to NFBTRANS tip.
This page is still growing.
This page was last updated March 2, 2002.