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Braille I Head Start

This lesson is provided in advance of the course start date to give students extra time to become familiar with the brailler and begin learning the alphabet. This page is a HEADSTART only - additional material and assignments will be found in Blackboard when the course opens on September 13.

Orientation to the Perkins Brailler

The first tool you will use to produce braille is the Perkins brailler. Familiarize yourself with the parts and functions of the brailler through the Adobe Presenter presentation Orientation to the Perkins Brailler. Learn how to load paper into the brailler and become comfortable with its operation. Be sure to orient the paper to use the 11 1/2" measurement as the width and the 11" measurement as the length.

Proper seating and positioning are very important when brailling. The setup that is most comfortable and ergonomic for brailling will resemble one that is recommended for working at a computer. Place the brailler on a table or other firm surface and sit at a chair that is at a comfortable height for the table and your size. Some individuals may prefer to sit with the brailler on their lap and others find that it is preferable to stand while brailling at a table. You may need to experiment to find the setup that works best for your own situation.

  1. Adobe Presenter presentation, Orientation to the Perkins Brailler:
  2. Text-only version of the Orientation to the Perkins Brailler presentation:

Introduction to Braille

Begin by reading a definition of braille from the American Foundation for the Blind web site. Read lesson one in the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing. This lesson introduces the braille alphabet. Use the supplemental web lesson for further explanation on the material covered in this chapter.

  1. Definition of braille (AFB web site):
  2. Supplemental web lesson:

Throughout the course you will use two braillers for practice and assignments. The manual brailler is the Perkins brailler that you borrowed for this class. You will use this brailler to produce braille on paper. The online brailler is an electronic tool that simulates a brailler through the computer keyboard. You will use this tool to receive immediate feedback as you learn and practice the braille code.

Manual Brailler

Practice reading and writing braille by completing the drills and the reading exercise in the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing. Drills 1, 2 and 3 will give you extra practice with the each of the groups of letters as they are presented in the Manual. The Reading Practice on page 1-3 should be completed according to the instructions for independent practice. It is not submitted to the instructor.

Online Brailler

The online brailler is located at Your user name and password were included in the headstart lesson e-mail message. It is important to understand that the NERCVE brailler user name and password are different from those used to sign into the course in Blackboard. The following presentation explains how to use the online brailler:

  1. Introduction to the NERCVE online brailler:

Complete the initial lesson using the computer keyboard with the keys s,d,f, j, k, l, to emulate the brailler as follows:


dot 1 = f          dot 4 = j

dot 2 = d        dot 5 = k

dot 3 = s        dot 6 = l

keyboard image with six keys highlighted


You may continue to work on the content covered in session one by reading lesson two in the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing and working with the practice drills in the text. Additional lesson material will be provided within Blackboard once the course begins.

Complete Session One in Blackboard

During this head-start period you should familiarize yourself with the brailler and the braille alphabet. Take time to become comfortable putting paper into the brailler. When the course opens in Blackboard, you will have access to the complete session and you will have one week to complete all content, assignments, and/or assessments.


Session One in Blackboard contains three assignments:

  1. One (1) exercise in the NERCVE Online Brailler
  2. One (1) homework transcription on paper with the Perkins brailler
  3. One (1) interlining from the embossed braille workbook.

Details for submitting these assignments will be found within the course in Blackboard.