Six Facts About Braille for Braille Literacy Month 

January 20, 2021 | Luis Rivera
Six Facts About Braille for Braille Literacy Month 

January is Braille Literacy Month, which also honors Louie Braille (born on January 4, 1809), creator of the braille system. Braille created this code system at the age of 12 after an accident left him blind at three-years-old. He discovered a French military code called "night writing" that allowed soldiers to communicate in darkness without having to speak. He used their coding to create his very own version and made it accessible for the blind and reading impaired. This system of reading and writing has been used for hundreds of years all throughout the world, but it is not the first. Here are some facts about the tactile system.

  1. Braille wasn’t the first raised letters system. Before braille was designed, other written communication systems created for the visually impaired included bent wire letters, wood letters and series of pricks.
  2. Braille is not considered a language. However there are different codes for almost every language including Spanish, Chinese and French. There is also a separate code used for music and math.
  3. There are six dots that primarily create the coding system. These six dot braille cells have 63 possible combinations, arranged as two columns of three dots.
  4. Braille is for feet too! Have you ever come across those big, yellow ends of a sidewalk or store? That’s braille for your feet.
  5. There are two versions of braille – contracted and uncontracted. Uncontracted braille spells out every word, while contracted braille abbreviates common words (example would be do not and don’t).
  6. There is a Braille Olympics, known as the Braille Challenge which takes place at the Los Angeles Braille Institute. Students from Canada and the United States compete to demonstrate their braille skills in reading comprehension and writing. 

Here are some free resources to help you and your family learn more about braille. OCLS offers an array of assistive services, including LEAP (Library eBook Accessibility Program), which provides braille formats that can be read with computers, assistive reading devices, braille printers, and even MP3 players.

Share Article

Comments and postings by library patrons do not necessarily reflect the official position of OCLS or its staff. All comments and posts are public records. Patrons are strongly encouraged to protect their privacy when commenting or posting on social software tools.

From book recommendations to pop culture discussions, the Orange County Library System wants you to join the conversation with library staff about the world around us.


Happy Birthday, Taureans! ♉ 🎊 Here's what all the bulls (and other signs) should read this month:
1 hour 16 min ago
in 1928, Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse premiered in his first (silent) cartoon, Plane Crazy.
14 hours 19 min ago
We are halfway to the spookiest day of the year and what better way to celebrate than with a Halfway to Halloween p…
1 day 16 hours ago