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Louis Braille created the “raised dots” alphabet
for the blind so they can read. Louis went
through a lot of trouble just to get his raised dot
alphabet actually “published” and to prove that
every blind person should use his alphabet.
* He was born January 4, 1809
* He lived in Coupvray, France
* He was three when he lost his eye sight
* His dad was a saddle-maker
* He died in January 6, 1852
Louis Braille was blind himself. He became blind
by wandering into his father’s workshop and
taking an awl ( a really sharp tool) and began to
dig into leather. The leather was slippery. The
awl skidded and flew across the air. And where
did it land? Right in poor Louis’s RIGHT EYE!
Luckily, Louis’s father was able to make a
wooden cane so he can put the cane in front of
him to feel his way around. Also, he would sing
wherever he went because he said when he sings
he can walk around better ( sort of like bats,
who couldn’t see in dark caves so they made a
chirping sort of noise in caves so if the sound
bounced back, it meant it hit the wall)
Even though Louis was blind, he learned how to do
many things. He learned how to polish leather, weave
leather fringes, set the table, do house chores, fill
the bucket with water and many more! Since he
learned so much over the years, he would sometimes
go out and sit by the road and guess who was coming
by. He knew that the bakery was nearby when he
could smell the sweet smells. He knew the “Bong!
Bong!” sound was the sound of a church bell. He
knew he was by a team of horse’s when he could hear
them clip-clip clopping.
Yes, Louis did go to school at the age of six when
a priest named Jacques Palluy moved into town.
The priest heard of the Braille family before and
wanted to visit. When he heard Louis was blind,
he wanted to help. He talked to Louis’s family
and told them that he could teach their son how
to do basic things. He said he’d work with Louis
three or four mornings a week at church. Mr.
Braille, of course, said yes.
Well, what happened was Louis was getting to old for
the priest. Louis was asking harder and harder
questions each day and some were way too hard the
priest couldn’t answer himself. The priest had an
idea. He decided to ask the school teacher ( Mr.
Antoine Becheret) to see if Louis could become a
student at the school house. At first, Mr. Becheret
wasn’t so sure, I mean, she never taught a blind
student before! Right when Becheret was about to
say no, the look on Jacques face made him say “yes”.
“They’ll be room for him somewhere” he said.
Louis loved school. Even though he was blind, he was
one of the best students in class. Louis went to school
until he turned 10. There was a problem. “Louis is 10
now, he can’t go to school forever!” said Jacques. “
This will be his last school year!” he stated. Finally,
he had an idea. Jacques heard of a school for the
blind called The Royal Institute of Blind Youth in
Paris. Before he told the Braille's, he went to Marquis
d’Orvilliers, the most richest and powerful person in
town. Jacques asked Marquis to write a letter to the
blind school asking if they had room for Louis. They
got a reply saying “sure” . Jacques rushed off to the
Braille’s to tell them the good news. At first, Mr.
Braille wasn’t so sure, but over all he knew he had to
say “yes”. Louis was going to Paris!
Louis didn’t at all think this was how his new school
was going to be like. It was dirty, the air was always
cold and wet ( since it was near a river), and they
were only allowed to take one bath a month! So, at
first, all Louis could think about was his home in
Coupvray. But it eventually got better. Louis got used
to the city ways, he learned to get around buildings,
he even began to make a lot of friends. Louis began
to love his new home/school; Grammar, geography,
history, arithmetic, music- Louis loved them all. Since
they weren’t allowed to roam the city by
themselves, everyday the teacher would get a rope
and all the 100 students would hold on to it. They
would go around the city and often laugh about
themselves and call all of them the “ Rope Gang”
Louis created the alphabet when a man named
Captain Charles Barbier came to tell that he
might have discovered another way for blind
people to read. It was called Nightwriting.
Nightwriting uses raised dots. Charles used this
to send secret messages to soldiers. Before long,
the people of the school found many things
wrong with it. You couldn’t do capital letters,
numbers, periods and many more. Louis got an
idea. What if he use raised dots to make a
Louis worked for years and years on the
alphabet. Finally, in 1829, he finished his first
ever Braille book. Copies of his books were sent
out to many schools. Soon, almost every blind
school had their books in braille!
When Louis was in the process of making the
alphabet, he had a disease called tuberculosis- a
lung disease. So what happened is one day Louis
got so sick he had to go home. He came back
feeling a lot better, But then he got sick again.
This cycle went on for awhile, until, one day
Louis was sick again. He thought he’d feel
better, but this time was different. It was
January 6, 1852. It was raining hard. Louis just
looked at the window and smiled then closed his
eyes. Louis Braille was dead.
* Louis Braille- The Boy Who Invented Books For
The Blind by Margaret Davison

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