Braille for Beginners

Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, 11 January-1 March 2022

Following very successful intakes in 2020 and 2021, we are delighted to be offering the third of our popular Braille for Beginners courses on Zoom. The programme will run for eight weeks and introduce you to the braille alphabet, numbers, punctuation and common conventions such as email and website addresses.

What will I learn?

The course will introduce you to grade 1 braille. By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand when and where braille will be useful to you
  • Read short stories in braille
  • Use braille for labelling around the home
  • Use braille technology, either stand-alone or to extend the functionality of your computer, smartphone or tablet

You will also be fully equipped to undertake further independent study, using an established programme such as Fingerprint to learn grade 2 braille.

How does it work?

The course will take place on Zoom and will be taught by an expert braille tutor with many years’ experience teaching adults who are losing their sight.

Each session will last for one hour, with roughly half an hour of teaching and the other half hour divided between questions and discussions about the various applications of braille.

You will need to register, but once you have done this, you will have access to all of the sessions. You will be emailed your own unique joining link and will be able to add this to your calendar for ease of reference.

If you are not able to join via Zoom, you will be able to dial in via a conventional landline or mobile telephone. All of the details you will need are at the bottom of this page.

Will there be homework?

No. The course will have a greater emphasis on reading than writing. You will not be expected to complete written assignments and none of the course will be formally marked.

However, we strongly recommend that you commit to regular reading practice between sessions. A good starting point is to read for ten minutes per day, every day.

What support is available during the week?

When you register, you will have the opportunity to opt into an email group. This is exclusively for Braille for Beginners participants and will offer a platform for you to ask for support from, and provide support to, your peers for the duration of the course.

In addition, the Braillists Foundation runs a Book Club every Thursday evening at 6:00 PM. There is a dedicated breakout room for beginners, facilitated by the Braille for Beginners tutor, where group reading practice is encouraged.

If you have a question which you’d rather not ask in the email group, the braille tutor will also be on-hand via email.

Registration will also entitle you to receive access to recordings of all of the sessions, so you can revisit them at your leisure.

Will I need to order anything in advance?

No. Unlike our previous courses, we will not expect participants to follow any particular reading scheme.

We will instead be producing our own resources. If you provide your address when you register, we will post these out to you in hard copy at no charge. Alternatively, anyone who registers will be able to download them in .BRF format, suitable for use on the Orbit Reader and other electronic braille displays.

However, our curriculum will be compatible with the popular Fingerprint course from RNIB, meaninng that you can continue to study grade 2 braille independently at the end of Braille for Beginners. If you have a copy of Fingerprint during Braille for Beginners, you may find the material useful for extra practice.

I am a sighted person – is this course for me?

Not really: we will be teaching participants how to read by touch. This is a very different approach to reading braille by sight and requires a substantially different curriculum.

If you wish to read braille by sight, please consult UEB Online.

I am a parent/guardian of a blind child – can my child participate?

We strive to make all of our events as accessible as possible and we do not anticipate there being any content which is unsuitable for children. There will be a strict moderation policy in place and anyone in violation of it will be asked to leave.

However, the primary audience for this course is adults. Although we will not disallow children from participating, we would ask that they are supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Please also note that the pace of the course may be prohibitive for small children and the content, though not inherently unsuitable, may include complex vocabulary or concepts which children may struggle to understand.

How do I sign up?

Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting registrations for the current Braille for Beginners course. If you would like to find out about future bourses, please sign up to our newsletter.