Braille's parents were determined that Louis should be educated to become independent — a remarkable expectation at a time when many blind people in rural France lived by begging or peddling. Both Simon-René and Monique Braille could read and write and they recognized the importance of education for the intelligent child. Louis was taught to read and write by feeling nails hammered into boards in the shapes of letters. His father also carved a wooden cane for Louis so that he could learn to navigate his home and village without assistance.
Louis began his formal education in 1815 when he received private lessons from the new village priest, Abbé Palluy. The priest soon recognized that the young boy was fully capable of a normal education regardless of his lack of vision. The following year, Louis was admitted to the town school, where he received instruction side by side with his sighted peers. He quickly showed himself to be one of the brightest pupils in the school.