How Do You Read Braille?


Dating back to 1824, braille is a language used for the visually impaired to help make reading easy and accessible. However, you may be wondering, “how do you read braille and why would you need to if you’re not blind?”

There are many reasons to start learning braille. For example, you may suffer from a degenerative eye disease and are interested in learning early to ensure you know the language should you lose eyesight.

If you’re unsure how to start learning braille, you’ll want to keep reading. This guide can help you understand how the system works and ways to practice learning this language.

Understanding Braille

Before learning how to read braille, you may be wondering, “What is braille, anyway?”

To begin, each symbol that corresponds to a letter, number, or punctuation mark is located in a cell. Each cell is comprised of six dots, located in two vertical rows of three dots each.

Understanding the location of the dots and what number corresponds to each dot is crucial to helping yourself grow more familiar with learning the alphabet.

So, to understand the cells, you’ll want to start with the top left dot. Going down the row are dots, one, two, and three. From the top of the right row going down are dots four, five, and six.

Learning the Alphabet and Numbers

Once you understand the braille cell and how the dots are oriented, you’ll then be able to start practicing reading the alphabet.

You will need to memorize the alphabet in order to read brail effectively, but this can be a relatively easy task.

There are plenty of ways to familiarize yourself with the braille alphabet. One of the best ways to help memorize the letters and placement of the dots is to get a cupcake or muffin tin with six holders. Then, taking tennis balls, place the balls in the slots that correspond to each letter or number.

There are also plenty of books available with instructions, tips, and tricks to help you learn how to read braille in a more comprehensive and efficient manner.

Capitalization, Punctuation, and Single Cell Words

Once you’ve memorized the alphabet and numerals, you can move on to more challenging concepts, like understanding how Capitalization, punctuation, and shorthand works.

Capitalization is generally easy to understand. Before a word where the first letter is capitalized, there will be a single dot six. However, if the entire word is capitalized, there will be two sequential dot sixes before the first letter of the word.

Next, you will need to learn the punctuation characters. While not entirely necessary to reading, learning these symbols can help deepen your understanding of the context of what you’re reading.

While braille follows the same rules for punctuation as in print, the one major difference is that the period used to end a sentence will only have one space between it and the beginning of the next word. Typically, in print, there are two spaces.

Finally, you’ll want to learn some of the most common shorthand used to read and write braille, as this will make it more convenient and efficient to understand what you’re reading.

There are seventy-six words that are commonly shortened, so taking the time to understand what those are and how they differ from the regular word is essential.

Practice Reading

Once you’ve got the concepts down, it’s time to put your memorization to work.

The best way to read and understand braille is to practice as much as possible. Whether you purchase books you can read along while running your fingers over braille or invest in children’s books to help you get the hang of learning, there are plenty of options.

You will also want to practice reading custom ADA signs when out in public, as this is a great way to get real-world experience with familiarizing yourself with braille. This is one of the braille benefits, as many public places have practical resources to help you learn.

Other Tips and Tricks to Keep in Mind

One crucial tip to help yourself learn and understand braille is to use the proper pressure when running your index finger over the symbols. One easy way to find the right amount of pressure is to cover a train in a light layer of sand and run your finger over the sand. If you can feel the tray underneath, there is too much pressure applied.

Another one of the best braille tips is to create a cheat sheet of letters, punctuation, or shortened words that you have trouble remembering. When learning, you can utilize this sheet to help deepen your understanding, and before you know it, you will no longer need it!

You can also invest in learning how to write braille, which can help strengthen your reading comprehension. The more familiar you are with the language, symbols, and feeling of the words, the easier it will be to read.

Remember, learning braille is like learning any other new language. It’s not going to happen overnight! Don’t become discouraged if you’re not progressing as fast as you thought you would.

How Do You Read Braille? Your Complete Guide

Though you may have always seen braille and thought, “How do you read braille?” the answer isn’t as complicated as one might think! Keeping this guide in mind can help you become literate in reading braille.

If you’re ready to start learning braille, thanks to the help of this braille guide, you’ll want to check out the rest of our website. There, you can find more of the best lifestyle tips and tricks.

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