Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Learn to Read Braille with Dottie and Dots

Title page of How to Read Braille with Dottie and Dots

I created this book to teach braille to children who are sighted using the characters Dots and Dottie.  The book is illustrated by Bill Morgan and the poem is by my mother, Janelle Smith.


Hello! My name is Dottie and this is my friend, Dots.  Dots and I are braille cells.  A braille cell is where letters live for people who are blind. A person who is blind cannot see.

Dottie and Dots

When a person who is blind reads a letter in braille they feel of the letter.  Dots and I help our friends who cannot see to read the braille letters and we would like to teach you, too. However, because you can see, you will learn printed braille.  Are you ready to learn the alphabet in printed braille?  Whee! This is going to be fun. 

Introduction 

Hi Friends! It’s me, Dottie.  Before we begin learning the braille alphabet, I want to show you a braille cell and how we count our dots.  

Braille cell with dot numbers

Dot 1 is at the top left side. 
Dot 2 is in the middle on the left side.
Dot 3 is at the bottom on the left side. 
Dot 4 is on the top of the right side.
Dot 5 is in the middle on the right side.
Dot 6 is on the bottom right side.
 

Braille is fun to learn.  Each letter has their own dots to call their own.  For example, letter "a" has dot 1 and letter "b" has dots 1 and 2 while letter "c" is proud to have dots 1 and 4.  I’m excited… Let’s go learn more braille!

Letter "a"

 
 
Letter "a" is fun… it is dot one.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Letter "b"

 

 

Letter "b" is feeling blue, so give him dots 1 and 2.

 

 

 

 

Letter "c"

 

 

Letter "c" has dots 1 and 4. It has eyes that can explore.

 

 

 

 

Letter "d"

 

 

Dots 1, 4, and 5 help letter "d" to come alive.

 

 

 

 

Letter "e"

 

 

Look at me. I’m letter "e". One and five is my letter key!

 

 

 

 

Letter "f"

 

 

Letter "f" is made with dots 1, 2, and 4.  Come on and let’s learn more. 

 

 

 

Letter "g"

 

Dots 1, 2, 4, and 5 make the letter "g". It’s fun to make- can’t you see?

 

 

 

 

Letter "h"

 

 

Dots 1, 2, and 5 make an "h" for me. H is cool, let’s learn more….weee!

 

 

 

Letter "i"

 

 

Letter "i" is dots 2 and 4. There’s more to learn, get ready to score!  

 

 

 

Letter "j"

 

 

Dots 2, 4 and 5 make a j.  Learn this one and we’ll move on to k.

 

 

 

 

Letter "k"

 

 

 

Dots 1 and 3 make a letter "k". Let’s run on.  We cannot stay.

 

 

 

Letter "l"

 

Letter l is dots 1, 2 and 3 and makes a line. It’s fun to read and it is mine, mine, mine!

 

 

 

 

Letter "m"

 

 

Letter "m" is dots 1, 3 and 4. 

Keep on reading… let’s soar!

 

 

 

Letter "n"

 

Letter "n" is made from dots 1, 3, 4 and 5. He needs the braille cell to stay alive. 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter "o"

 

 

Dots 1, 3 and 5 make the letter "o".

We’re going fast, slow down, whoa!

 

 

 

Letter "p"

 

 

Dots 1, 2,3, and 4 make the letter "p". I think it’s fun and is easy to see.

 

 

 

 

Letter "q"

 

Dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 make a "q".

There’s so much more we can do.

 

 

 

 

Letter "r"

 

Dots 1, 2,3, and 5 make an "r".

Keep learning braille. You’re a star!

 

 

 

 

Letter "s"

 

 

Dots 2,3 and 4 make the letter "s". 

You can learn the count and don’t have to guess.

 

 

 

Letter "t"

 

 

Dots 2,3,4 and 5 make the letter "t".  

It has four slots for you to see.

 

 

 

 

Letter "u"

 

Dots 1,3 and 6 make the letter u.

Don’t stop reading.  There’s more to do.

 

 

 

 

Letter "v"

 

 

1,2,3, and 6 make a letter "v".  We’re almost there-- follow me.

 

 

 

 

Letter "w"

 

 

The letter "w" is made from dots 2, 4, 5 and 6.

You’re learning it now, add it to the mix.

 

 

 

Letter "x"

Letter "x" is dots 1,3,4 and 6 and looks like a box.

It stays inside and does not need socks.

 

 

 

 

 

Letter "y"

 

Dots 1,3,4,5, and 6 make a letter "y".

You can learn many things if you try.

 

 

 

 

Letter "z"

 

 

 

Dots 1,3,5, and 6 make a letter "z".

You know all the letters-- just look and see!

 

 

Lessons from Dots and Dottie

Travel through the dots
And you can learn so much.
You will get to SEE
Everything we TOUCH!!
 
You can scan along the pages
As you read every book,
But we must feel each dot
To get a better look.
 
Learn to read and you will see
The fun will never fail –
Whether you see it in print letters
Or you feel the words in braille.
 
It’s all the same and you will see,
As we do the leading,
That whether it’s in print or braille
It’s fun to be reading!!!
 
Jamille Smith
June, 2010
 
 

Extension Activities

  • Make your own Dottie and Dots Character Puppets. Children will have fun decorating their own Dottie and Dots characters.  Cut out the patterns below and glue or tape each Dottie and Dots to a popsicle stick. Children may role-play with their characters while learning the braille alphabet.
  • Rap the poem by Jamille Smith, “Lessons from Dots and Dottie”.  What is the author teaching through her words?
  • Write your own name in printed braille using Dottie and Dots.  Isn’t braille fun?
  • Visit Braille Bug.  You will discover many fun activities that will teach you braille and more about people who have a visual impairment.
  • Story Starter:  Create your own story using the characters Dottie and Dots.  Write at least three words from your story in braille. 
  • Try the following recipe… Dots Candy from Cooks.com (It’s Dots' and Dottie’s favorite candy.)
  • Simply melt 4 milk chocolate bars in the microwave.  (Melt the chocolate until it becomes soupy.)
  • Mix in nuts and crushed peppermint.
  • Stir.
  • Take one tablespoon of the mixture and drop on wax paper.  (Repeat until the mixture is gone.)
  • Allow 20 minutes to cool.
  • Make an acronym for Dottie.  “D” may stand for “daring”, “O” may stand for “outstanding” and continue until you have completed her name.
  • Write a paragraph from the following story starter:  Dottie and Dots go to the School for the Blind, but the children are not there.  Where are the children?  What happens in the beginning, middle and at the end of the story?  Illustrate your paragraph with tactual fun objects.
  • Using Wikki Stix, create a simple map of a school building, so that someone who cannot see can find their way around your building.
  • Alliteration is when words from a story, sentence, paragraph, phrase, etc. begin with the same letter.  For example:  Dottie and Dots don’t dance, do they?  Dots eats delicious donuts and Dottie eats deviled eggs.
  • Write a children’s book and invent your own braille cell characters. Do not forget to give them human characteristics like:  funny, lazy, silly, grumpy, happy
  • Purchase a copy of Dottie and Dots See Animal Spots by Kristie Smith from Barnes and Noble or Amazon.
  • Research famous people who had a visual impairment. 
  • Monet (a famous artist) became blind in his later years.  He loved to paint sunflowers.  Close your eyes and paint different types of flowers using various colors.
  • Place coins into a plastic bag.  Close your eyes and feel the outer texture of the money.  Can you tell the difference between a dime and a penny?
  • Watch the Miracle Worker and write about Helen Keller’s teacher.  Was she a good or bad teacher?  Explain.
  • Watch for more Dots and Dottie adventures to come!

Collage of Dots and Dottie

Posted on January 2, 2020
Updated on: January 2, 2020