Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Braille Word Board

braille words on metal

During one of my last courses in college, we had to create tools to use with students. This was made with assistance from my father. It is a braille word board.  APH didn't have anything like this and I wanted a way for students to quickly create sentences without the hassle of a braillewriter. I'm not sure if APH has anything like it now, come to think of it!

This idea was originally inspired by the "sentence builder" activity in Teaching Aids for Blind and Visually Limited Children by Barbara Dorward and Natalie Barraga.


braille word board






  1. Similar to magnetic words many use on refrigerators for children with sight. I brailled Dolch words, punctuation symbols, and unique braille symbols (capital dots) on aluminum sheeting from APH. Then I cut them out. I ran a line across the top to help orient each word.writing on back of word cards
  2. The aluminum wasn't strong enough to maintain shape, so I cut a thin cookie sheet with tin snips, sanded all edges so they were round, and then superglued the aluminum to these cookie sheet pieces.
  3. On the back of each I wrote the print word to assist others with the braille, and then attached the 'male' side of velcro.
  4. The wooden board was sanded, polyurethaned, and then I superglued the 'female' side of velcro in strips to mimic sentence lines. This was a labor of love but it has stood the test of time (20+ years!).


braille word board

  • Have students create a sentence using the words.  They can create the sentence for another student or for the teacher.
  • Have the student read a sentence that the teacher has created.
  • Have the student copy a sentence from the board onto a piece of paper using a braillewriter or slate and stylus.
Common Core and Braille Standards

Foundational Skills: 

RF.K.3c Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do,does).
RF.1.3  Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
RF.1.3b Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words.
RF.1.3g Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

Kindergarten - Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development : 

K.1.4 Recognize that sentences in braille are made up of separate words.
K.1.15 Read simple one-syllable and high-frequency words (i.e., sight words).
K.1.15a Read simple high-frequency words in uncontracted braille.
K.1.15b Read simple high-frequency words in contracted braille.


Soda Cans work too!

Posted by Laurie Hudson

Posted on April 28, 2013
Updated on: May 6, 2020

Previous comments for Braille Word Board

Laurie Hudson commented on April 30, 2013

What a nice collection you made, and how impressive that it has lasted for 20 years!  I do something similar with soda cans .... I cut up empty cans with scissors, and add braille with either a braillewriter or a slate &stylus onto the side that had been the inside.  The biggest challenge is that the edges can be sharp.  I either place the brailled metal pieces over cardboard and fold over the edges and tape, or I mount them in cheap picture frames.