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The Story of Louis Braille


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
Educational Technology
--Our Bodies
Social Studies



Brief Description

Learn about Louis Brailles system for the blind. Use an online Braille translator.


Students will

  • learn about Louis Brailles life.
  • use a braille card and/or an online braille translator to translate text into braille or from braille.
  • learn about other famous people who have been blind or visually impaired.


blind, Louis Braille, translator, Braille alphabet, braille

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

Lesson Plan

Ask students if they have heard of Louis Braille or the braille system. Write down the information they share. Students will likely know that braille is a system that helps blind people read. Each letter (as well as numbers and marks of punctuation) are represented by a series of raised dots. Every letter, number, and symbol is represented by a different combination of six dots.

Next, pass out to each student a copy of this braille card and a copy of this Story of Louis Braille work sheet. Challenge students to learn more about Braille by using the braille card to translate the words in braille type into text.

Extend the Lesson
You can extend this lesson by using one or more of the activities below.

My Name in Braille. Have each student translate his or her name into braille. Students can use the braille card to help them do that. They might create a braille nameplate by gluing split peas onto heavy stock paper. Alternative: Use those colorful old-fashioned sugary candy dots (also called candy buttons), the kind that come stuck to strips of paper.

Braille Riddles. On a large sheet of drawing paper students can write or type a favorite riddle (one they think their classmates may not know). Then they will use split peas or candy buttons (see above activity) to present the answer to the riddle in braille. Their classmates will have fun trying to figure out answers to the riddles. Adapt the activity for younger students: younger students might use this online Braille translator to translate the riddle response. Then they can print out the response (use the Large" setting) and paste peas or candy over the appropriate dots.

Braille Bios. Share more information about the life of Louis Braille by reading aloud one of these biographies.

  • Louis Braille: The Boy Who Invented Books For The Blind by Margaret Davidson
  • A Picture Book of Louis Braille by David A. Adler

    More Blind Bios. The famous people listed below were either blind or suffered from vision impairment. You might assign each student to learn more about one of these people. Ask students to report on what they learn about the person and about how blindness impacted his or her life.
    Andrea Bocelli - (born September 22, 1958) opera singer
    Dr. Jacob Bolotin - (1888-1924) First blind doctor
    Ray Charles - (September 23, 1930-June 10, 2004) American pianist and musician
    Jose Feliciano (born 1945) American singer
    Thomas Gore (December 10, 1870-March 16, 1949) American senator
    Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author, activist, and lecturer
    David Alexander Paterson (born May 20, 1954) New York governor
    Marla Runyan (born January 4, 1969) marathon runner
    James Thurber (December 8, 1894-November 2, 1961) American cartoonist
    Erik Weihenmayer (born September 23, 1968) mountain climber
    Stevie Wonder (born May 13, 1950) American singer-songwriter
    Others who became visually impaired:
    W.C. Handy (1873-1958) Blues composer - went blind in middle age
    Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564-January 8, 1642) Astronomer
    Claude Monet (November 14, 1840-December 5, 1926) French painter
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882-April 12, 1945) American president
    Harriet Tubman (c.1820-March 10, 1913) American slave and slave freer


    Assess students based on effort put into deciphering the Louis Braille work sheet.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Submitted By

    Gary Hopkins

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-USH.K-4.1 Living and Working together in Families and Communities, Now and Long Ago
    NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-USH.5-12 All Eras

    GRADES K - 12
    NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
    NT.K-12.2 Social, Ethical, and Human Issues
    NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools
    NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications Tools
    NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools

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