Welcome to the Newsletter!
There’s an end of term feeling this week as we wind down for the summer. We’ve got one more Braille Bar on Tuesday, and regular members of our Book Club will be enjoying a social hour on Thursday.
We’ll be back on Thursday 2 September, also with the Book Club. We will not be checking emails or running events during August, but you are welcome to continue to use the Forum and listen to Braillecast.
On behalf of everyone at the Braillists, thank you so much for your support over the past year. We hope you have a fantastic summer and look forward to being of service once again in the autumn.
Braille Bar on Tuesday
Our popular Braille Bar returns on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. No registration required – just turn up and ask your braille questions.
Join the Braille Bar here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88035088878?pwd=NHdkR2s1aDZsV1RCUmpQNWh3YWNaQT09
New Books Announced for Book Club
The three groups of our Book Club are delighted to announce their next reads, beginning in September:
- Beginners: Paddington Turns Detective and Other Funny Stories, by Michael Bond
Available in grades 1 and 2 and in double line spacing from the RNIB Library
Found in the “Children Stories 1” and “Children G1” folders of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card
- Intermediate: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
Available in grade 2, single line spacing from the RNIB Library
Found in the “Classic” folder of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card (grade 2 only, note the title is written in words (beginning with “n”) and not in figures)
- Advanced: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick
Available in grade 2, single line spacing from the RNIB Library
Found in the “Humorous Fiction” folder of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card (grade 2 only)
Are you interested in reading any of these books? If so, come along to the Book Club from September (more details in the next newsletter) and, in the meantime, if you need a hard copy, call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999 to order one from the Library!
Media Page and Newsletter Archive Updated
Just in time for the holidays, we’re delighted to announce that all of our Masterclasses in the “Braille for Academic and Career Development” series have now been transcribed. We also have handouts for some of our more recent Masterclasses. All of these have been added to our Media page and we will continue to add resources as they are made available to us.
We have also brought our Newsletter Archive up-to-date.
Does Your Braille Music Need a New Home?
A message from Roger Firman of Golden Chord
If at any time you have hardcopy braille music you no longer need, please could you contact Elaine Vonberg, email: firstname.lastname@example.org who will find a new home, possibly in countries where braille music is hard to come by.
Elaine is UK-based but we wouldn’t wish to deny people from other countries making a contribution.
Published on 19th July
“Most of us who know braille were taught it.” It sounds like such an obvious statement – so obvious, in fact, that it seems appropriate to conclude that the world has an abundance of braille teachers, and the methods and techniques that they use are mature, uniform and understood by everyone working in the field. Presumably, approaches that work well have been iterated over time, those that haven’t worked so well have been abandoned, and the entire process has been well-documented so that future teachers can learn from the mistakes of the past.
The reality is less clearly defined, although certain concepts which have withstood the test of time especially well have become accepted as common knowledge. Pre-braille skills, for instance, feature regularly in discussions about teaching braille, as do the differences between learning braille by touch and by sight and teaching braille to children and adults.
On Tuesday 29 June 2021, we explored this topic in more detail in a live panel discussion with three braille teachers:
- Kirsten Roberts is a life-long braille user, a Qualified Teacher of the Visually Impaired (QTVI), and Deputy Braille Tutor for the Mandatory Qualification for Teachers of Children and Young People with Vision Impairments offered at the University of Birmingham. In addition to her university work, she regularly teaches braille to both primary and secondary-aged children.
- Christine Williams recently retired from Exhall Grange Specialist School and Science College in Coventry, where she held the post of Lead Teacher of the Visually Impaired. In that capacity, she taught braille not only to the pupils at Exhall Grange, but also peripatetically to pupils of all ages in mainstream schools throughout Warwickshire (via the Vision Support Service). Prior to this, she taught French at Exhall Grange for a number of years, where braille also played a significant role. In her retirement, she teaches braille voluntarily at Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, predominantly to adults who are losing or in danger of losing their sight.
- Melanie Pritchard has an extensive background in teaching braille to adults, either with visual impairments themselves or who are sighted friends or relatives of people with a visual impairment. Most recently, she taught the Braille For Beginners course remotely for the Braillists Foundation.
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- I-M-ABLE: Individualized Meaning-Centered Approach to Braille Literacy Education, by Diane P. Wormsley, Ph.D published by the American Printing House for the Blind
- The Abi Books: Adventures of a Young Blind Girl, available from the Royal National Institue of Blind People (ABI-BOOKS): full set (formerly TC21432, £115.00), books 1-20 (formerly TC21429, £40.00), books 21-30 (formerly TC21430, £40.00) and books 31-40 (formerly TC21431, £50.00) + Teacher’s Handbook (ABI-TEACHER) available for £15.00 in print (formerly TC21433) and braille (formerly TC21434).
- Fingerprint: distance learning course for touch readers, available from RNIB: course books (TC21439, £39.00) + instructions (TC21439-INST) available for £15.00 on audio CD (formerly TC21439CD), multi-media CD (formerly TC21439M) and in print (formerly TC21439P) and grade 2 braille (formerly TC21439B) + Reference Book (volume 10), available in braille (TC21440, £5.00).
- BrailleNote Touch Plus (18-cell and 32-cell), available from HumanWare
- The Duxbury Braille Translator from Duxbury Systems
- The Braille Primer: a comprehensive guide to contracted braille for people wishing to learn to write braille or who want to become transcribers, available from RNIB for £9.90 (TC21423) in print (formerly TC21423P), large print 18pt (formerly TC21423LP) and grade 2 braille (formerly TC21423B).
- A Braille Reader in the Family (booklet and sheet formats) and Crack the Code (booklet and sheet formats) from the ClearVision Project
- UEB Online from the Renwick Centre of The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
- The Orbit Reader family from Orbit Research
- The professional association for the vision impairment education workforce (VIEW)
- Catch These Words, website of Holly Scott-Gardner
- Using a Range of Braille Technologies to Access Adult Life, a paper presented at the seventh General Assembly of the International Council on English Braille by Kirsten Roberts: Video presentation on Youtube, Word version or BRF version
Find out more at braillecast.com
Free Slates, Styluses and Forming Blocks Still Available!
We still have some A4 braille frames, styluses and 8-cell braille word forming blocks to give away to anyone living in the UK or Ireland. All we ask is that, if we send you some equipment and you decide you no longer want it, you agree to give it away rather than selling it.
For introductions to using this kit, please see recordings of our previous Masterclasses, available at braillists.org/media or via the Braillecast podcast.
To request your free equipment, please email Stephanie on email@example.com or call her on 020 3893 3392. Please be sure to include your postal address when you write to her, otherwise she won’t know where to send it!
Paper for the A4 hand frame can be obtained from a number of suppliers – please see the page at braillists.org/braille/consumables for more information.
N.B. logistics are being handled by our partner, Vision Through Sound CIC. Your data will therefore be held by them in addition to the Braillists Foundation. However, please be assured that they will only use your data in order to dispatch Braillists Foundation products and will not use it for their own marketting purposes.
If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can ask on the Braillists’ email forum for advice on similar resources in your country.
Links and Meeting IDs for our Regular Events
Masterclasses, First and Third Tuesday of the Month at 7:30 PM
Registration Link: https://is.gd/RUH5vc
Meeting ID: 824 7645 2710
Braille Bar, Second and Fourth Tuesday of the Month at 7:30 PM
Join Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88035088878?pwd=NHdkR2s1aDZsV1RCUmpQNWh3YWNaQT09
Meeting ID: 880 3508 8878
Book Club, every Thursday at 6:00 PM
Join Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89353220947
Meeting ID: 893 5322 0947
For more information, visit braillists.org/events. To join by phone, refer to the instructions at braillists.org/events/instructions. Our events are carefully moderated in line with our policy at braillists.org/events/moderation. Note that all events take place in the UK and are listed in UK time.
Join the Braillists on Social Media
Clubhouse: Braillists Foundation
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