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BRAILLE INSTRUCTION FOR SIGHTED PEOPLE/

BRAILLE LITERACY

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind has created a "Grade One Braille Home Study Course" for sighted people; it covers using a brailler and slate and stylus, as well as the grade one letters, numbers and punctuation signs.

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired has made two tutorials available for downloading. They are both designed for sighted people:
Computerized Nemeth Code Tutor
Computerized Braille Tutor for literary braille

"Computer-Assisted Instruction for Learning the Code of Braille Mathematics" is a new Nemeth tutorial designed for sighted people. The software is available free from:
Research and Development Institute, Inc.
Gaylen Kapperman, Director
1732 Raintree
Sycamore, IL 60178
Phone: 815-895-3078
Fax: 815-895-2448
E-mail: gkapper@niu.edu

The National Library Service of the Library of Congress also offers a series of courses in braille transcription, leading to certification in braille transcribing and proofreading; they can be taken either in cooperation with a local transcribing agency (in Wisconsin, Volunteer Services for the Visually Handicapped or Volunteer Braillists and Tapists) or by correspondence.

The American Foundation for the Blind has created the Braille Bug, an interactive channel "created to teach sighted children [grades 3-6] about braille, and to encourage literacy among all children--sighted and visually impaired."

The Braille Trail: The American Foundation for the Blind has also created The Braille Trail, an information packet designed for sighted elementary schoolchildren who want to learn about braille reading, writing and mathematics. For more information, contact:
National Braille Literacy Center
American Foundation for the Blind
100 Peachtree Street, Suite 620
Atlanta, GA 30303
e-mail: literacy@afb.net

Braille Workbox: the Louis Braille Center has created the Braille Workbox, a four-part unit designed for sighted students in grades four to eight as an introduction to braille. It includes a biography of Louis Braille, an explanation of braille reading, braille writing materials and a complete short book in braille. The price is $25.00 plus $4.00 postage and handling. The Braille Box can be borrowed by registered users of the Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. The Louis Braille Center also sells "Signs and Rules of English Braille," a brief handbook to Grade 1 and 2 braille ($12.00).
The Louis Braille Center
320 Dayton St., Suite 125
Edmonds, WA 98020-3590
Phone: 425-776-4042
Fax: 425-778-2384.

Teachers may want to combine the Braille Box with "Bits of Braille," a Braille study lesson plan for fourth through sixth grades that also deals with Helen Keller and American Sign Language.

BRL: Braille Through Remote Learning (Shodor Foundation): "A no-cost, on-line educational offering designed to provide braille training to educators, braillists, parents, and others who wish to become braille literate. Offering the RIGHT INSTRUCTION (all aspects of braille) at the RIGHT TIME (self-paced, ready when you are), at the RIGHT PLACE (work or home)." The courses are still available online, but instructor feedback is no longer provided [October 2002].

The American Foundation for the Blind has a broad array of resources for parent and teachers to promote braille literacy, including online issues of "Dots for Braille Literacy."

"Strategies and Resources for Teaching Braille to Adults," by Frances Mary D'Andrea is an excellent, compact collection of ideas for motivating students and helping them learn; it includes a carefully selected and annotated set of resources and textbooks. "Strategies" is available from the Information Center of the American Foundation for the Blind.
Email: afbinfo@afb.org

"Beginning with Braille: Firsthand Experiences with a Balanced Approach to Literacy," by Anna M. Swenson is full of ideas and techniques for creating braille readers. New York: American Foundation for the Blind, 1998. 200 pp. ISBN: 0-89128-323-4 (Paperback). $27.95. The Foundation has a good list of braille literacy resources for parents.

"The Braille Connection: A Braille Reading and Writing Program for Former Print Users," produced by the American Printing House, is "designed to teach former adult and teenage print readers how to read braille, and how to adapt it to their lives."

"The Fast Track" is a combination braille, tape and print manual for learning braille ($39.95). Order from:
Lois Wencil
19 Parkview Dr.
Milburn, NJ 07041.

Freedom Scientific offers a free downloadable tutorial in Nemeth Code, used for braille mathematics. The 18 self-study lessons are to be used with the Braille Lite.

The National Federation of the Blind also has a braille mentoring program to promote braille literacy.

National Braille Press publishes "A Braille Spelling Dictionary for Beginning Writers," which contains about 1,400 words, each one written in Grade 1 braille, Grade 2 braille and large print. It also contains a mini-thesaurus ($7.00).

The International Braille Research Center (IBRC) Resource Library is a collection of scholarly papers related to braille, many drawn from the "Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness." The papers will be more useful to teachers of braille than to learners.

The National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB) has a new mailing list. To subscribe, send a message to listserv@nfb.org; leave the subject blank and in the body of the message put: subscribe napub-l. "The purpose of the list is twofold. First it is a means of communication between the members and supporters of NAPUB, to promote and discuss the activities of the Division. . . . Secondly, the list is intended to generally promote Braille, Braille literacy and the use of Braille generally."

Braille Authority of North America.

The Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR) (University of Birmingham) has an extensive set of resources, with an emphasis on the United Kingdom, in "Research Related to Teaching and Learning of Braille."

"Braille Embossers(May 2000)," a Reference Circular produced by the National Library Service of the Library of Congress, lists braille embossers available in the United States, along with other resources and a list of manufacturers and dealers.

Brailler repairs: The Wisconsin Council of the Blind (Madison, WI) will arrange for local Telephone Pioneers to repair braillers for Wisconsin residents at no charge.

Brailler repairs: Volunteer Services for the Visually Handicapped (Milwaukee, WI) provides a similar service for local residents.
803 West Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233-1436
Phone: 414-286-3039.


Blind people in Wisconsin who want to learn braille have a number of options:

The Hadley school offers correspondence courses at various levels up to Grade Three Braille.

The American Foundation for the Blind provides "general information about 19 programs currently available to teach the braille code to adults who are blind." A number of the programs come with instructional tapes and are usable by adult independent learners; prices are generally modest.

For people in the Milwaukee area, the Badger Association of the Blind offers courses in braille.

Counselors of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation can sometimes arrange for braille instruction.

As part of its licensure program for training new teachers of the blind and visually impaired, Silver Lake College (Manitowoc, WI) regularly offers a course in Braille that is open to any interested persons; they do not have to be enrolled in the licensure program.

Finally, local volunteers who know braille are sometimes willing to help tutor a learner. One way to find a teacher is through one of the self-help groups in the state. The Wisconsin Council of the Blind maintains a list of self-help groups active in cities and towns in Wisconsin.

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