Why am I so surprised that one of my children would enjoy writing as much as I do? I do think she will probably eclipse me in talent, but I am wonderfully okay with that. Her book report for English…she chose Louis Braille because she had read a story about him last year and wanted to know how a blind person could lead other blind people to read and learn. Tonight she said that his blindness was a gift…”if he had been able to see, he wouldn’t really have been able to ‘see’ that blind people needed to be able to read.”
(Have I mentioned already that my daughter amazes me?)
Louis Braille was born on January 4, 1809 in Coupvray, France. Louis was born very red and wrinkly. His brothers and sisters loved him very much. One day Louis was helping his father with a saddle. His father knew what he was thinking. “Louis,” his father said, “don’t even think about it!” “I won’t,” Louis said. “Then, promise,” said his father. “I promise,” Louis said. “Good,” his father said. Louis’ eyes were fixed on his father’s awl. He knew that he should not touch it, so he tried to help his mom, but he was sent away. He went back to the workshop and decided to use his father’s awl. It was fun until the awl slipped, sprang into the air and flew into Louis’ eye. “Ouch!” he screamed. Soon after, Louis became blind.
Luckily, a preacher named Father Pauly came to Louis’ town. He offered to give Louis lessons in school. However, he had very little time to teach Louis. He decided to send Louis to a blind institute. The institute was very hard. It was difficult to get around. At first, Louis was very shy, but soon he got the hang of it. Louis graduated and was invited to be a teacher at the institute. He took the job and learned to teach geography, science, music, and spelling.
As a teacher, Louis noticed that the reading books they had were very short and there weren’t very many of them. It was hard to put lots of words on each page because the words were made of stones in the shape of the alphabet. Louis met with other people who had thought of different ways to write the alphabet for the blind. One of them had the idea of putting sharp pins in the shapes of letters. Louis thought it was a good idea, but was concerned that it would hurt everybody. Next, someone else had an idea that certain raised dots on a page would stand for a sound. Louis thought that was also a good idea, but it would be hard to remember all the words made by dots. Finally, a third person had an idea of also putting raised dots on pages, but the dots were much bigger than the printed alphabet.
Louis had his own idea! He would make his own alphabet. Every night, he punched out little tiny dots that were just the right size. Soon Louis had made his first book! It was quite a success. He taught others how to read the dots.
One day, Louis felt terribly sick. The doctor said that there was no cure for the disease that Louis had. On January 6, 1852 Louis’ eyes closed for the last time. Louis Braille wasn’t a well-known person because his death wasn’t mentioned in the newspaper. What we can learn from him is that we should always try again and again. We should be careful what we do, and always obey our parents. The number of books that Louis Braille made in his life time was 100 books. One dot at a time, they all came together and that’s how the Braille system was created. It is still used today and is named in honor of all that Louis Braille did.