The slate and stylus are the basic portable tools of literacy for blind people. Produced in various sizes, slates have front and back plates joined by hinges and are made of plastic, aluminum, or metal. The slate holds the paper as the stylus is used to create braille characters. Stylus handles can differ in shape and size to allow for personal preference and comfort. The back plate has shallow holes arranged to represent the six dots of a braille cell. The front plate has rectangular openings to guide the stylus into the paper.