A braille letter, or "cell" is made up of two columns of three dots each. Dots 1, 2, and 3 on the left; dots 4, 5, and 6 on the right.
Once you learn the first ten letters, a through j, you know all you need to master the entire alphabet and all numbers. The next row of letters – k through t – you add dot 3, which even rhymes! (as shown above in blue.)
The letter k is dots 1 & 3; l is dots 1, 2 & 3; m is dots 1, 3 and 4; n, 1, 3, 5, 6; o, 1, 3, 5, etc.
In 1997, at our older son's two-month exam, my husband and I were told, "Brace yourselves, I don't think Ethan can see." Our unexpected journey to the 'planet of the blind' had begun.
After gathering all of the information that would help us begin to give Ethan the tools that would enable him to make an independent life for himself, we were astounded to learn that as few as 10% of the people who are blind or visually impaired ever learn to read braille. As part of an effort to propel awareness of braille literacy, in 2001 I designed the world's first braille fashion jewelry line, At First Sight, featuring my signature piece – the braille alphabet bracelet – and promoting the importance of braille literacy and the independence reading fosters.
In 2010, I was awarded the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards Peoples' Design Award, and honored at a White House luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama and Tim Gunn! By combining design aesthetics and braille, I started a tsunami of interest in braille through fashionable jewelry by creating award-winning, beautiful, reasonably priced fine and fashion jewelry you're sure to fall in love with. — Leslie
For the third row – letters u, v, x, y and z – you add dots 3 & 6 to the letters a through j, as shown above in purple.
Adding dot 3 & 6 to the letters f, g, h, i, & j make single-letter contractions for the common whole words and, for, of, the & with.
Now, you know how to read the alphabet, the numbers 1 through 0, and the five most commonly used contracted whole words in English braille.
Order your own Braille VO jewelry here. Just click the images below! Each can be ordered as a lapel pin, or a pendant, and all are made of hand-cast pewter.
Above, the letter a is made with dot 1; b is made with dots 1 & 2; c is made with dots 1 & 4; d, dots 1, 4 & 5; e, 1 & 5, etc.