Braille – the world’s most popular tactile reading and writing system

World Braille Day celebrates every year on 4 January the birth of Louis Braille, inventor of the touch reading and writing system used by millions of blind and partially sighted people all over the globe.

Braille is a system of reading and writing for blind persons in which raised dots, in a series of 6 dots paired up in 3 rows, represent the letters of the alphabet. It also contains equivalents for punctuation marks and provides symbols to show letter groupings.

Braille is read by moving the hand or hands from left to right along each line. The reading process usually involves both hands, and the index fingers generally do the reading. The average reading speed is about 125 words per minute. But, greater speeds of up to 200 words per minute are possible.

By using the Braille alphabet, people who are blind can review and study the written word. They can also become aware of different written conventions such as spelling, punctuation, paragraphing and footnotes.

Most importantly, Braille gives blind individuals access to a wide range of reading materials, in fact providing the blind with access to the same reading and learning opportunities as the sighted.