Braille Readiness Grid

Checklist of braille readiness skills, including tactile, fine motor, language, concept development, and book skills

The Braille Readiness Grid was developed by Anne McComiskey, Director of the BEGIN early childhood program of the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, Georgia.  It is reprinted here with permission of CVIGA.

Please note that this document is shared here to open a discussion with the team about some of the skills necessary for learning braille, but this document is not comprehensive and is not a substitute for a full assessment.

DIRECTIONS: Reading and writing braille is achieved by systematic building of skills in many areas of development. This literacy readiness grid enables parents and teachers to identify accomplished skills and target other skills for educational programming. 

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Using observation and informal assessment identify which skills in each area a child has accomplished. Highlight the accomplished skill box entirely. Emerging skills are partially filled with highlighter. Non-highlighted skill boxes are skills targeted for the child’s educational program. This is a flexible tool. Add or delete boxes for individual children.

Braille readiness grid


 Tolerates being touched
 Enjoys being touched
 Locates objects by touch
 Examines objects by touch
 Matches and sorts objects
 Touches braille in exploration
 Grades textures of sandpaper
 Locates tactile “mark” on pages
 Uses pad of index finger to touch
Traces 3 dimensional outline of shape
Traces 2 dimensional outline of shape
Traces left to right continuous line with sticks, glue, etc.
Traces left to right using braille cell with no space
Traces left to right using braille cell with space
Traces left to right using dot 2, 3, 5, 6 with no space
Traces left to right using dot 2, 3, 5, 6 with space
Traces left to right using dot 3, 6 with no space
Traces left to right using dot 3, 6 with space
Traces left to right using dot 1 with no space
Traces left to right using dot 1 with space
Uses two hands cooperatively in tracing (place marker and reader hand)
Locates braille marked items in home
Participates in formal tactual sheets and units

Fine Motor

 Holds object in each hand
 Uses pincer grasp
 Opens and closes books
 Turns cardboard pages
 Uses two hands cooperatively 
 Uses appropriate grasp with stylus
 Makes stylus art with construction paper
 Turns pages one at a time
 Copies patterns with pegs, muffin tins, geo boards, etc.
 Shows hand strength and flexibility
 Shows finger strength and dexterity
 Places individual finger on braille keys
 Manages paper into slate
 “Scribbles” with slate and stylus
 Manages paper in/out of brailler with help
 Positions fingers on braille keys appropriately
 Manages paper in/out of brailler independently 
 Operates all keys of brailler appropriately
 Plays at brailling

Listening, Attention, and Expression

 Alerts to sound
 Listens to interaction songs
 Sits socially with adults 5-10 minutes
 Listens to and enjoys rhymes
 Participates in finger plays and songs
 Follows two step directions
 Uses jargon and imitation on phone
 Matches sound cans
 Shows interest in short stories about self
 Shows interest in short stories about others, with participation
 Shows interest in stories about others without participation
 Tells simple event (idea)
 Makes up simple stories (3 ideas)
 Listens to simple story tape
 Relates two events from short story
 Understands slow automated voice
 Attends to task completion (5-20 minutes)

Concept Building

 Identifies body parts
 Names body parts
 Identifies objects and actions
 names objects and actions
 Shows object permanence concept
 Searches for dropped objects
 Shows same and different concept awareness
 Demonstrates number awareness of quantities to 3
 Shows more/less, big/small, long/short, wide/narrow concepts with objects
 Play symbolically
 Shows concepts of: above/below, left/right, back/front, up/down, top/bottom, middle/sides (with objects)
 Understands positional concepts with marks on page
 Shows rote knowledge of alphabet
 Shows letter/cell awareness using balls, marbles, and braille
 Participates in rich life experiences
 Says letters of name (rote)
 Says names of brailler keys
 Shows awareness of touch patterns representing word; i.e., name

Book and Story Skills

 Uses books as toys (squeak, pull, etc.)
 Identifies parts of a book (cover, pages, margin, etc.)
 Holds book and turns pages
 Explores tactile books using pad of fingers
 Traces marks purposefully in tactile book from start to end
 Participates in object “book” story
 Has lap time with appropriate book daily (i.e. Twin Vision)
 Dictates and reads “sentence” book
 Selects favorite book and stories
 Completes formal braille primer series (APH)
 Reads “On the Way to Literacy” series (APH)
Braille Readiness collage