Braille for Beginners

Welcome to Braille for Beginners On-Demand! This course will introduce you to the braille alphabet, numbers, punctuation and common conventions such as email and website addresses, and is based on our very successful Zoom courses ran in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

It is designed to be studied in your own time and at your own pace. We expect fast learners will complete it in about eight weeks, but there is no shame in taking longer!

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 is comprised of three elements:

  • Pre-recorded lessons from an expert braille tutor with many years’ experience teaching adults who are losing their sight, each lasting between 10 and 15 minutes.
  • Hard copy resources by post to accompany the pre-recorded lessons.*
  • Monthly remote drop-in sessions with expert braille tutors.

Access to the course is by free registration – you can find all the details at the end of this web page. Once registered, you will receive a link to download or listen to the pre-recorded lessons, and the hard copy resources will be posted out to you. You will also be invited to join the monthly drop-in sessions, either on Zoom or via a traditional landline or mobile telephone.

*Hard copy resources are currently only available in the UK. However, if you live overseas and wish to take the course, please contact us to explore what options may be available for you.

Will I be marked?

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 in addition to following the hard copy resources. A good starting point is to read a book or magazine for ten minutes per day, every day.

What extra support is available?

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. You are welcome to leave the group at any time, but many past participants have remained and will serve as excellent role models.

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 one of the Braille for Beginners tutors, where group reading practice is encouraged.

If you have a question which you’d rather not ask in the email group, the braille tutors will also be on-hand via private email. You will receive their contact details when you register.

Will I need to order anything in advance?

No. Everything you need to get started will be provided by us.

As you progress through the course, you might like to order additional reading practice or writing equipment. We will be on hand to offer guidance about this when you need it.

Our curriculum is compatible with the popular Fingerprint course from RNIB. When you have completed our course, if you would like to continue with grade 2, Fingerprint is an excellent next step. In addition, if you have a copy of Fingerprint whilst completing our course, you may find the material useful for extra practice.

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

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 learn to read by touch, you are more than welcome to register for the course.

However, if you intend to read braille by sight, we do not think our course will be the most suitable. We recommend the course from UEB Online instead.

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 during our drop-in sessions 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.

Where can I find out more?

We hosted a webinar about the course when it launched on 10 October 2022. A recording can be found below:

Download the Braille for Beginners On-Demand Webinar

We were also featured on the Double Tap podcast from AMI Audio.

Download the Double Tap episode

How do I sign up?

To register for Braille for Beginners, please use this link.

The course is completely free and the registration form only asks for the information that we need in order to support you.

Upon registering, you should receive a confirmation email straight away with all of the information you need. Your address will then be passed to a trusted braille production company who will prepare and dispatch your resources. You will receive a further email once your resources have been posted out to you.

Please note that it may take up to fifteen working days for your resources to arrive after you have registered.

If you do not receive your confirmation email or resources, mislay them, or have difficulties with or concerns about registering, please contact us for assistance.