[AI] The story of Louis Braille's life, told in a lively style

raju rgdcnb1980 at yahoo.co.in
Thu Jan 3 00:12:15 EST 2008

The story of Louis Braille's life, told in a lively style

Louis Braille


Louis Braille (1809-1852)

Six dots. Six bumps. Six bumps in different patterns, like constellations, 
spreading out over the page. What are they? Numbers, letters, words. Who 
made this code? None other than Louis Braille, a French 12-year-old, who was 
also blind. And his work changed the world of reading and writing, forever.

Louis was from a small town called Coupvray, near Paris-he was born on 
January 4 in 1809. Louis became blind by accident, when he was 3 years old. 
Deep in his Dad's harness workshop, Louis tried to be like his Dad, but it 
went very wrong; he grabbed an awl, a sharp tool for making holes, and the 
tool slid and hurt his eye. The wound got infected, and the infection 
spread, and soon, Louis was blind in both eyes.

All of a sudden, Louis needed a new way to learn. He stayed at his old 
school for two more years, but he couldn't learn everything just by 
listening. Things were looking up when Louis got a scholarship to the Royal 
Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, when he was 10. But even there, most 
of the teachers just talked at the students. The library had 14 huge books 
with raised letters that were very hard to read. Louis was impatient.

Then in 1821, a former soldier named Charles Barbier visited the school. 
Barbier shared his invention called "night writing," a code of 12 raised 
dots that let soldiers share top-secret information on the battlefield 
without even having to speak. Unfortunately, the code was too hard for the 
soldiers, but not for 12-year-old Louis!

Louis trimmed Barbier's 12 dots into 6, ironed out the system by the time he 
was 15, then published the first-ever braille book in 1829. But did he stop 
there? No way! In 1837, he added symbols for math and music. But since the 
public was skeptical, blind students had to study braille on their own. Even 
at the Royal Institution, where Louis taught after he graduated, braille 
wasn't taught until after his death. Braille began to spread worldwide in 
1868, when a group of British men, now known as the Royal National Institute 
for the Blind, took up the cause.

Now practically every country in the world uses braille. Braille books have 
double-sided pages, which saves a lot of space. Braille signs help blind 
people get around in public spaces. And, most important, blind people can 
communicate independently, without needing print.

 Louis proved that if you have the motivation, you can do incredible things.

Where Can I Find a Picture of Louis Braille?

We hear this question a lot-why are there no photographs of Louis Braille on 
the Braille Bug site?

We looked long and hard for a photograph of Louis Braille. But he died in 
1852, and at that time photography had been around for only 13 years. It was 
still a relatively difficult and rare process.

Also, Louis Braille's code for reading wasn't adopted by the school where he 
taught until eight years before he died. France didn't officially adopt 
Braille's system until two years after he died. It wasn't until 1890 that 
the code was adopted in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Spain, 
and Scotland-and it took even longer to reach the United States. Louis 
Braille really became more famous after his death!

Maybe people didn't think of taking a photo of him while he was alive 
because they didn't know how famous he would later become. But someone did 
think to take an old type of "photo" called a daguerreotype shortly after 
his death. Here is a

portrait of Louis Braille

 that was based on the daguerreotype. You can see this image, as well as 
others, in a new biography from National Braille Press entitled  Louis 
Braille: A Touch of Genius . As the author notes, "This is the visage of a 
dead man; in life, he kept his eyes open."

The only other image we have of Louis Braille is a sculpted bust, which can 
be found at the school in Paris where he taught, the Royal Institution for 
Blind Youth.

It's hard to remember in these days of digital cameras and instant pictures 
how young photography actually is. Sculpture has been around for thousands 
of years-photography for only 165 years!

-         The Braille Bug


What is Braille?

What When you first look at something written in braille, all you see (or 
feel) is a jumble of dots! However, like any other code, braille is based on 
a logical system. Once you understand it, you'll be able to read and write 
braille easily. That's because braille is not a language, it's just another 
way to read and write English (or any other language, such as Japanese). 
Learn more in "Braille: Deciphering the Code" and check out the other links 

Braille: Deciphering the Code


Braille Technology

Printable Braille Alphabet Key

braille alphabet card

...Overview of the Braille Bug Site...

table with 2 columns and 44 rows

Six tiny raised dots, ingeniously arranged by a fifteen-year-old boy nearly 
two hundred years ago, have brought literacy to thousands of people with 
visual disabilities worldwide. Louis Braille, the inventor of the braille 
code, was born on January 4, 1809, so January is celebrated as Braille 
Literacy Month. The Braille Bug web site for children was launched in 
January 2002 to commemorate the achievements of this remarkable young 

The information, activities, and games found on the Braille Bug web site are 
designed to teach children in grades 3 through 6 about braille. As they 
explore the site, children will be able to:

list of 6 items

. develop an appreciation for the efficiency and versatility of braille;

. learn why and how Louis Braille invented the literary braille code;

. understand the importance of braille for another famous blind person, 
Helen Keller;

. learn to recognize braille letters and numbers;

. describe different ways to read and write braille, including the use of 

. use suggested resources to learn more about braille, blindness, and 
related topics.

list end

About Braille Literacy

Braille enables people who are blind or visually impaired to develop 
literacy skills comparable to those of sighted people who read print. Those 
who know braille can perform tasks as varied as jotting down a phone number, 
writing a shopping list, solving a long division problem, reading a musical 
score, or composing a doctoral thesis. Sighted elementary students initially 
are fascinated by braille as a kind of "secret code." However, as they learn 
more about braille and its many uses, they expand their knowledge of people 
with disabilities and the accommodations they use to lead full and 
successful lives.


 Children who are blind or visually impaired can enjoy the activities on the 
Braille Bug website right along with their sighted classmates. However, they 
will need special software and/or hardware on their computers.

 . Those with low vision have the option of

changing the color of the site

 to increase contrast and make the text easier to see. They also may use 
screen magnification software to enlarge the text and pictures on the 

 . Those who do not learn visually may access information and participate in 
the games & activities by listening. To do this, they need to have a screen 
reader installed on their computer that will read everything that appears on 
the screen, including text, menus, icons, and alt tags. All the games and 
activities are designed to be completely accessible. However, the objectives 
for children who participate by listening are somewhat different from those 
for children who access the site visually. Although they will not be 
learning to recognize simulated braille letters and numbers, they will 
benefit from practice using their screen readers as they select menu items, 
listen to information, and play the games. Children with screen readers may 
access the games that have simulated braille characters by listening to the 
alt tags that give the dot numbers for each one. In this way, a player who 
is blind can work on the same questions with a classmate or friend who is 
sighted. This arrangement can promote the development of social interaction 
skills for both children. Children who would like more practice using their 
screen readers may also select the "

Jumble Puzzle

" game that provides clues in regular print letters and words, rather than 
in simulated braille.

 . Those who read braille may access the screen by using a refreshable 
braille display or by downloading and printing out a hard copy of the file 
on a braille embosser. Directions for creating a hard copy of any part of 
this website are found in another submenu item under "

Parents and Teachers

" entitled "

How to Download Braille Files


 The Home Page

 The Braille Bug, a ladybug with the six dots of the braille cell on her 
back, welcomes children to the website on the home page. There are four menu 
items for them to choose from, in addition to the "Parents and Teachers" 

Change the Colors of the Site

: Children have the option to change the color of the text and background 
based on their personal preferences for comfortable viewing.

What is Braille?

 Five submenu items provide children with information about the Braille 
Code, tools used to read and write braille, and the life of Louis Braille. 
It is recommended that children read "Braille: Deciphering the Code" before 
attempting any of the games or activities under the next main menu item.

list of 5 items


Braille: Deciphering the Code

-An introduction to Louis Braille's systematic arrangement of dots in the 
braille cell to form letters, punctuation marks, and numbers. In this 
section children also learn about braille contractions and short-form words. 
These are special symbols or spellings that reduce the amount of space 
needed for writing words in braille.



-Interesting facts about braille


Braille Technology

-A description of low- and high-tech tools used to read and write braille.


Printable Braille Alphabet

-A copy of the braille alphabet that students can print out and use as a 
reference while playing the games, writing their own simulated braille 
messages, or decoding braille words and numbers they find in the 


Louis Braille

-The story of Louis Braille's life told in a lively style.

list end

Games and Secret Messages:

Children can explore a variety of interactive activities that challenge them 
to decode simulated braille letters, words, and numbers on the screen. All 
of the activities except the first one include a copy of the braille 
alphabet and numbers for reference.

list of 7 items


See Your Name in Braille!

-Type in any name or other word, and watch it appear on the screen in 


Trivia Mania

-Decode braille words related to a specific category, such as "Insects." 
After a practice round, players earn points for correct answers.



-Read a riddle in print and decode the braille answer.


Braille Jumble

-A more difficult version of Trivia Mania. The braille letters for each word 
in a specific category are scrambled. Players decode the letters, rearrange 
them, and type their response. After a practice round, points are awarded 
for each correct answer.


Jumble Puzzle

-Games designed for use with a screen reader or refreshable braille display.



-Decode the braille numbers, figure out the pattern (such as 2, 4, 6, 8), 
and type the next number in the sequence. After a practice level, players 
earn points for correct answers.


Secret Message

-Send a coded message to a friend by clicking on the letters of the braille 
alphabet or typing in the text. When the message is sent via e-mail, the 
friend will receive instructions on how to see it in braille and decode the 

braillebug at afb.net

list end

Louis Braille

: The story of Louis Braille's life, told in a lively style.

Helen Keller Kids Museum Online

: A fascinating timeline of Helen Keller's life and achievements. Includes 
photos, videos, letters, and more!

 We hope that the children who use this site will enjoy learning about 
braille and begin to understand its significance for people who are blind 
and visually impaired. During the coming year, the Braille Bug website will 
expand to include a Reading Club and Friends area. We welcome your comments 
and suggestions, which may be sent to

braillebug at afb.net

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