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Research report about Louis Braille

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Louis Braille

  • The Accident


  • His New World


  • Early Education


  • New School


  • Learning to Read


  • Braille's Great Idea


  • Later Life


Table of Contents

You're watching your father make things out of leather. “I want to be a saddler just like you daddy.” you say.

“I know wait longer Louis, till you're older.” your father told you.

I wish I could play with the tools. You thought. You meander over to his tools.  Your dad is off with a customer so he dosen't see you.  Mother and father have told you not to touch the tools.  But you can't resist. It was all an accident. You now have a new world.  You wonder, What will my early education be like now?  You'll have new schools and how will you learn to read.  You wonder, I wonder if I will make something for people like me. What will my later life be like now?


You're watching your father make things out of leather. “I want to be a saddler just like you daddy.” you say.

“I know wait longer Louis, till you're older.” your father told you.

I wish I could play with the tools. You thought. Mother and father haf told you not to touch the tools. But then you snap…

The Accident

You walk over to the sharp tool your dad left on the workbench.  The tools looked so inviting, one little hole won't hert, will it?  You grab a scrap piece of leather and try to poke a hole.  Father makes this look so easy.  You lose control of the tool and accidentaly poke your left eye.  Through the talking, your mother and father must have heard you scream because they ran over to help you.

Louis Braille was born January 4, 1809 in Coupvary, France.  He went blind by accident.  Louis Braille walked over to the tool and accidently poked himself in the left eye.  His parents quickly realized that he needed medical atention - and fast.  Unfortunately the closest hospital was miles away.  They took Louis to the woman in the village who treated illnesses but even the best docter couldn't cure it in those days.  So eventually the infection spread to the other eye (his right eye).  His parents and himself just had to hope for the best.  But hope was lost 2 years later (when he was 5). Louis Braille was blind.  I wonder what I would feel like if I were Louis's parents before he went blind.  They were probably very very nervous, I mean how would you feel if your kid just poked himself in the eye with a very sharp tool.

Louis struggled to get used to his new world.  He bumped into tables and chairs.


His old familiar village was now a very scary place with roots and rocks that he could trip on.  So his dad made a cane that he could use to feel things that could trip him.  Eventualy he outgrew his first cane then his second and so on. His father just kept carving longer ones.


I wonder if Louis had any friends.  I don't think he did because he didn't go to school. This is where I make my friends.  Plus before he got a cane he didn't go outside much to meet friends.

"OW!"  you scream you just bumped into a table.

"Hey Louis I got somthing for you!"  father yells from the workshop.  He walks in with something and says "Use this cane to feel things infront of you." 

You grab the cold smooth wood in you hand and feel a table infront of you.  "Wow!  I like this!" you say as you make your way through the maze of tables and chairs.

His New World

Louis started with no school at all.  Then when there was a new priest, the priest realized that Louis was very smart.  He asked to tutor Louis.  So while sighted kids read books in there science class, Louis felt trees and rocks.  After about 1 and 1/2 years of these lessons, the priest realized Louis was very smart but he needed to be taught like a normal student at a normal school with other kids.  So Louis went to a new school with other normal kids. So now instead of going to the church, Louis waited for a classmate to walk him to school.  I wonder if the classmate who walked Louis to school felt wierd.  I think he probably did because they probably didn't know each other.  Louis was a very good student but when it came to reading and writing he just sat frustrated at his desk wondering, Why can't I read or write like everyone else?

"Everyone check in and then read OK?" your teacher said. 

"What should I do," you ask "I can't read?"  Why can't I read? Why can't I write?   You think to yourself.  I need a way to read or wright.

Early Education

As you ride with your father, you ask, "Can you describe the landscape to me father?" As he did your excitement to go to the new school, turned to fear.  What am I thinking.  I'm going to be away from home for 3/4 of the year and won't see my parents the whole time!  You thought to yourself.


As Louis and his father reached the school his father became concerned.  Because Louis was blind, he couldn't see how badly taken care of the school was nor his fathers expression when he saw it.


Louis's new school had strict rules and harsh punishments. Then when he needed it most he finally found a friend.


I wonder how Louis made it through the strict rules before he found Gabriel (his new friend).  I think it was hard for him because he was probably not used to having such harsh punishments and strict rules. I think it is best to have a friend to help you with tough times.

New School

All Louis really wanted to do was to read.  All he asked was, "Can we go to the library?" "Where's the library?"  But finally Gabriel told him the cold hard truth.  There was no library.  There were 14 books in the whole school.  But Louis was determined to read.  An older student showed him how to read the books.  They were embossed letters and were very hard to read.  As Louis ran his fingers over the letters he had to concentrate fully and focus 100%.  But by the time he got to the end of the sentence (which usually covered a page) he forgot the beginning and had to start all over again.  I wonder how Louis felt reading the books. I think he was probably anxiouis because he was not able to read for his whole life and now he can.  He read the books over and over and over again.  But every time he thought to himself.  There has to be a better way.

As you walk to your next class you ask the teachers "Can we go to the library at some time today?" "Where is the library?"  But they didn't respond.  They just kept walking like you weren't there.  Then finaly Gabriel said to you "There is no library. Sorry Louis."

"Thats ok Gabriel."  But really you were thinking Dang it!  Why can't there be a library?

Learning to Read

Is there any other way the blind can read?" you ask the principal.

"Yes people come in with there invention they think could help the blind.  But a lot of the time the students here don't like the inventions."  He replies.


"Actually there is someone coming in today with his invention."

"OK I'm all ears for this."

In 1821 Louis was still going to the blind school.  Louis had asked if there were other ways the blind could read.  They would reply, yes.  Different people brought in their inventions that could help blind people read.  But a lot of the time the students didn't like it.  But then, in 1821 a former captain, Charles Barbier, came in with a system called night writing.  It was a code of 12 raised dots. Louis learned the system and thought it was great.


But then he realized it had it's flaws.  First off, it was sounds, not letters so the blind couldn't learn to spell.  Also one word could take up to 100 dots.


He took it home over break and tweaked it.  He took away 6 dots but added dashes.  Then he thought the dashes were to hard so he decided on just 6 dots.  The students loved the system. At age 15 (1829) Louis published his first book in Braille.  I wonder how Louis felt when he published his first book.  He probably felt really proud of himself because well imagine you just wrote your first book at age 15 and a lot of people liked it.

Braille's Great Idea

DONE!!!  That's number 10. My tenth book. I wonder if the French government will finally accept my Braille system. You think to yourself.  You get up to tell Gabriel "Gabriel I'm done with my tenth book."

"Cool Louis."

Later in Louis's life, he continued to tweak his braille alphabet.  He also got a job at the school he went to.  But he got sick at the school, so he went home.  He felt better at home so he went back.  This happened a few more times.  But when he came back one time he discovered that the principal burned every book in Braille he made.  Then Louis got very sick and then he went home but it didn't help.  I wonder how Louis's parents felt, I mean how would you feel is you child got sick then again and again.  They probably felt terrible.


Louis Braille died January 16, 1852 in Paris, France.  He died from tuberculosis.  Braille finally was used for the blind after Louis died.

Later Life

I think Louis Braille had a world shattering affect on the blind.



"Braille is knowledge, and knowledge is power."

-Louis Braille