Wine Cork Swing Cells

My father made my daughter a set of six wooden braille cells for use with used wine corks. Some are hinged swing cells, others just fixed braille cells. Having at least one swing cell is a great help for her learning to type braille on her Perkin’s brailler. They are about the right size to line up pretty well with the keys: 

Having a bunch of braille cells like this, swing or fixed, has been great for learning to read braille. When my daughter is having trouble reading something, she can replicate with corks what she is feeling in the dots. Then we can talk about what she’s getting wrong with the dots, and once its straightened out, what the characters stand for. They are great for doing things like talking about the frustratingly subtle difference between “A” and “still” which she finds hard to distinguish. We also use them to drill contractions. (I place corks in the cell and ask her what it stands for, etc.)

They should not be too hard to make yourself. Basically get a block of wood about the right size, and drill 6 holes in it in a grid to fit wine corks. My father did a really nice job of getting the scale right so that, for instance, the space between dots within a cell is smaller than between dots in adjacent cells. This accuracy makes discussing the difference between “A” and “still” much easier. For instance we can talk about why this says “A still cat” rather than “still A cat”: