We offer a range of interesting, useful courses for touch or sighted adult learners, covering uncontracted and contracted braille.

Choosing the right braille course for you

We want you to pick the right courses for you. This section of the website lists all the courses we offer for adults. You can browse through them to pick the right course for you, or we can help you get straight to the right courses for you:

Learn uncontracted (grade 1) braille

Uncontracted braille (also referred to as grade 1) is a letter-for-letter translation from print. It is great for basic labelling of objects like CDs or canned food in the cupboard. Medicines are labelled with uncontracted braille.

We recommend Dot-to-dot – a self-teach uncontracted braille (grade 1) course. There are two versions of the course available: Dot-to-dot for sighted learners and Dot-to-dot for touch learners.

Learn contracted (grade 2) braille

If you enjoy braille and would like to go further, you can learn the complete braille code which is known as contracted braille.

Contracted braille is used by more experienced braille users. It's quicker to read and write than uncontracted braille, and also takes up less space. Contracted braille is a more complex code, which includes a number of extra signs and some shorthand in addition to the characters in uncontracted braille. 

Courses for touch learners

Fingerprint helps you learn how to touch-read and write contracted braille (grade 2) from scratch.

If you are already familiar with Unified English Braille (UEB) but would like to gain a qualification, you can enrol on the newly-launched Certificate in Unified English Braille - exam-only option for visually impaired people.

Courses for sighted learners

The RNIB Certificate in Contracted braille is a distance learning course aimed at any sighted learner who supports individuals using braille, such as parents, teachers, teaching assistants and support workers. It is also open to anyone who has a specific interest in braille. 

If you're already familiar with Unified English Braille (UEB) but would like to gain a qualification, you can enrol on the Certificate in Unified English Braille – exam-only option for sighted people

The RNIB Maths Certificate in Contracted Braille (UEB) is a distance-learning course covering basic maths. It's aimed at sighted learners who've already completed the RNIB Certificate in Contracted Braille (UEB).

You also have the opportunity to re-take the RNIB Maths Certificate in Contracted Braille (UEB) if you'd like to pass or improve your grade. 

We have also introduced a brand new distance-learning Braille Music course to support individuals using braille music. The course is aimed at sighted learners who've already completed the RNIB Certificate in Contracted Braille (UEB). The first course starts in February 2021.

The Braille Primer is a comprehensive guide to contracted (grade 2) braille. The Braille Primer is suitable for those people wanting to learn to write braille or to become transcribers.

Other contracted (grade 2) resources

You might find our range of braille rules and reference books useful.

Support a braille learner

We offer a range of material designed to help you support braille learners.

Braille teaching methods

Sense and sensitivity, written by Nigel Berry

This practitioner's guide focuses on how to teach braille reading and writing to adults and young people who are losing or have lost their sight.

It provides a structure for introducing braille to new touch readers, guidance on establishing good reading and writing techniques and selecting appropriate resources.

The book includes unique insights into the development of shape and pattern perception through touch.

Nigel Berry, a true champion of braille, sets out the benefits of using braille at home, for study and in the workplace as part of a comprehensive communication package that enables blind people to regain maximum independence. 

The book is available from RNIB Bookshare in Word, PDF and braille.

Welsh braille

Learn to read and write Welsh braille, from uncontracted to contracted, on an accredited course from RNIB Cymru. The course is accessible to non-Welsh speakers who want to learn Welsh braille. To find out more about Welsh braille, the books available and training options call RNIB Cymru on 029 2082 8500 or email [email protected]    

Myths about learning braille later in life

There's really just one big myth (perhaps more a fear) about learning braille as an adult: it's too hard. It's true that most people who are blind or partially sighted lose their sight later in life. It's also true that after a lifetime of reading by sight, the prospect of learning to read all over again can seem daunting. But don't let this put you off. Many people who lose sight in their later years go on to be successful braille users.

It's up to you how proficient in braille you wish to be, but it's worth remembering that just a little braille can make a big difference and will give you greater independence. Learning uncontracted (grade 1) braille will open the door to activities like playing cards, doing crosswords or labelling personal items.