Skip to content
Tips and guides

Tips for Teaching Slate and Stylus

An overview of the slate and stylus as a tool to write braille, including some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Slate and stylus

The above photo is from American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

Materials to have on hand:

  • Braille Slate (Many students prefer one where they can check their work without removing the paper.)
  • Stylus (Students need to try a variety of stylus types so they will know which works best for them.)
  • Notebook paper or typing paper

General Info:

  • Students need to know the dots used to make a braille character.
  • They need to understand the reason behind the right to left progression.
  • Supposedly, the best grip involves placing the stylus under the upper part of the index finger, the thumb laps around the base, and the third finger is placed on the neck of the stylus near the tip.
  • Beginning slate and stylus users should start out using bifold notebook or typing paper. Regular braille paper is too difficult to use for a beginner. Try it yourself, you’ll see the difference. When proficient with bifold, go to trifold, etc. until you near the thickness of braille paper.
  • My students really enjoy “racing” me on the slate and stylus, either writing the alphabet or a sentence. When you write on the slate and stylus without looking, you have to face the same problems your students encounter when using this device.
  • Time the students when they are writing the alphabet so that you have some manner of measuring and documenting progress.
  • This is a great way to document mastery of the braille code. If they can write it one dot at a time, one character at a time, then they know it.

Advantages to Using a Slate and Stylus:

  • very portable, lightweight
  • no batteries required
  • no charging time
  • not hampered by weather conditions
  • inexpensive
  • can be used anywhere, anytime
  • fun to use


This article was originally published by Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is reprinted here with permission.

Collage of tips for teaching slate and stylus
Page of experience book about popcorn
Tips and guides

Experience Stories for Functionally Blind Pre-Readers

A child using a cookie cutter
Tips and guides

Motor Activities To Encourage Pre-Braille Skills

A pile of red, white, and pink heart shaped sprinkles

Valentine’s Day Ideas 2024