Search

Braille Resources

Braille resources including tutorials for teachers; information on braille code and transcription; tactile graphic production and braille products; and information on braille instruction and curriculum including Nemeth code.

Braille Document Production

Students who use braille to access information in their instructional environment rely on school staff to produce their classroom materials, i.e., worksheets, quizzes, tests, and other handouts. It is essential that student materials be correctly formatted and the braille accurate. To accomplish this, school-based braille production personnel need to have basic computer skills, working knowledge of Microsoft Word, document scanning software and applications, and be familiar with braille translation software. They will also need to know how to send translated documents to an embosser.

Students who use raised line graphics to access information in their instructional environment rely on school staff to produce their classroom materials, i.e., worksheets, quizzes, tests, and other handouts. It is essential that student materials be correctly formatted and the braille accurate. To accomplish this, school-based braille production personnel need to have basic computer skills, working knowledge of Microsoft Word drawing tools, document scanning software, and applications, and be familiar with braille translation software. They will also need to know how to send translated documents to a graphic (printer) embosser.

  • UEBOnline: UEB Braille Training – Braille training for sighted learners
  • Transcriber’s UEB Course (CNIB) – Learn what you need to know to transcribe literary materials in Unified English Braille (UEB) if you already hold CBA/CNIB certification in Braille Transcription or Grade Two Braille. This course will primarily be of interest to transcribers, proofreaders and teachers of braille reading to children and adults.
  • The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) sells a wide variety of books and braille transcription manuals for various braille codes, including the official code book, English Braille American Edition, 1994, and Key to grade three Braille, A revision of “Alphabetical Key to Grade Three” (1926 edition) by L.W. Rodenberg. Contact APH at (800) 223-1839 or visit their website.
  • Braille Authority of North America (BANA)
  • Braille Codes and Calculations by Pesavento teaches literary Braille and basic Nemeth Code for mathematics. It is available with or without Dot Writing from Exceptional Teaching Aids by calling (800) 549-6999 or visit their website.
  • Braille Code Explanation
  • The Burns Braille Transcription Dictionary by Mary F. Burns is available from AFB Press or from Amazon.com.
  • Dot Writing is another book about the Braille code available from Exceptional Teaching Aids call (800) 549-6999 to order.
  • Hadley School for the Blind offers Braille placement tests and correspondence courses in Braille and Communication Skills (Braille Literacy I and II, including tactile readiness and the braille alphabet; Relevant Braille; Braille Reading I and II; Braille Writing; Effective Braille Reading; Grade 3 Braille; Essentials of Nemeth; Braille Music Notation I and II). Hadley also offers Personal Touch: Braille for Lifelong Enrichment, a video available for $10 from the Hadley Store. Call (800) 323-4238 or visit their website.
  • Instruction Manual for Braille Transcription (1984) is available from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or call them at 800-424-8567.
  • The Computer Braille Code Made Easy (3rd edition) takes you through the computer code one step at a time and includes tips on how to read email and web addresses. One print or braille booklet costs $7. Available from National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115 (888) 965-8965 or (617) 266-6160.
  • The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Braille Development Section (Library of Congress) administers a program of courses leading to certification in braille transcribing and proofreading in cooperation with a network of volunteer groups throughout the United States. Many of these courses may be taken through local braille instruction offered by volunteer groups in the network. All of the courses in the program are available through correspondence instruction from the Braille Development Section. If you have questions call toll free 800-424-8567, or send an e-mail message to braille@loc.gov.

BRLHELP – AFB also sponsors an electronic mail listserv that discusses braille instruction and resources. To subscribe, send a message to brlhelp-afb-subscribe@igc.topica.com and you will be added to the list.

The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) sells a wide variety of books about braille instruction, including Print and Braille Literacy – Selecting Appropriate Learning Media by Hilda Caton. The Patterns series of braille instruction materials is excellent for instruction by teachers and reinforcement by parents (see teachers guide for parents). Contact APH at (800) 223-1839 or visit their website.

Communication Skills for Visually Impaired Learners: Braille, Print, and Listening Skills for Students Who Are Visually Impaired by Randall K. Harley, Mila B. Truan, Larhea D. Sanford is available from Amazon.com

Bibliography of Learning and Teaching Braille: http://scholar.google.com (search for Braille)

Braille Beginnings is a new program available from the Utah School for the Blind, 742 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, UT 84404-5298. The program includes three levels, teaching sixty phonics concepts and two hundred contractions with punctuation. Level One goes over the ABCs (forty concepts including and, for, of, the, with; a few other words for simple stories), and consonant sounds should be taught along with it. The other two levels cover the other contractions, etc. A complete set is $596.00. You can order a level at a time. It is available from the author, Karen Condie, 7859 South 280 East, Sandy, Utah 84070 or call (801) 569-9061.

Braille Codes and Calculations by Pesavento teaches literary braille and basic Nemeth Code for mathematics. It is available with or without Dot Writing from Exceptional Teaching Aids by calling (800) 549-6999 or visit their website.

The Braille FUNdamentals program from TSBVI comes with ready-made hard-copy braille instructional student materials. You can also get it at any or all of the four different levels – Primary, Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School. Volume 1 contains the Overview and Use, and Volume 2 teaches the alphabet and whole word signs. The other 2 volumes contain the rest of the braille code. See: www.tsbvi.edu. Also, some 53 clusters of Braille FUNdamentals are built into Duxbury’s DBT WIN, to apply this curriculum to your own materials.

Guidelines and Games for Teaching Efficient Braille Reading by Myrna R. Olson and Sally Mangold is available from Amazon.com.

Instant Access to Braille Project: Refreshable Braille in the Inclusive Classroom is a Western and Central New York State project of the Center for Assistive Technology at the University of Buffalo, providing students with a refreshable braille note-taking device and training in its use in order to facilitate inclusion. See the web site http://cat.buffalo.edu/refreshablebraille or call Katy Beaver for details (716) 829-3141 ext. 103.

Instructional Strategies for Braille Literacy by Diane P. Wormsley (Editor), Frances Mary D’Andrea (Editor), Fran D’Andrea is available from Amazon.com.

The Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter RecognitionThe Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Nemeth Numeral Recognition and The Combined Reading and Math Program, all by Dr. Sally Mangold, are available from Exceptional Teaching Aids by calling (800) 549-6999 or visit their web site at: www.exceptionalteaching.com.

Reading by Touch by Susanna Millar discusses the technical aspects of braille reading and provides an extensive compilation of research on tactile reading in general. It is available from Amazon.com.

Specification for Selecting a Vocabulary and Teaching Method for Beginning Braille Readers by Hilda Caton is available from Amazon.com.

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has an excellent resource for parents to promote early braille literacy, entitled, Connecting the Dots. It is a folder containing fact sheets about braille and resource lists including information for parents about braille, sources of braille children’s books and magazines, organizations that promote braille literacy and sources of adapted materials to promote literacy development. The following titles are also available from AFB Press: Children with Visual Impairments: A Parents’ GuideUnderstanding Braille Literacy (a video), Instructional Strategies for Braille LiteracyBeginning with Braille: A Balanced Approach to Literacy by Anna Swenson by calling (800) 232-3044 or visiting their website.

Braille Carnival is a great way to promote literacy with braille and to celebrate Braille Literacy month each January!

Braille for the Sighted by S. Harold Collins (ISBN: 0931993954) is a 32-page book done in a puzzle and game format and is an introduction to braille for those who are sighted. Simulated braille is used to teach the alphabet and numbers in order to complete a variety of games and activities – great for elementary-age students who have family members or classmates who are blind. It is published by Garlic Press, 605 Powers Street, Eugene, OR 97402 or on the Remedia Publication website. It is also available on Amazon, or you can call your local bookstore.

Braille Literacy – Resources for Instruction, Writing Equipment and Supplies can be found on the National Library Service website.

A Field Guide for the Sight Impaired Reader by Andrew Leibs is tremendously empowering, showing students how to become independent readers on a level with the fully sighted by connecting with the many special resources that exist for them. I include a link to the book’s Amazon. It’s a must-have book for any blind reader, and it’s available on tape from RFB&D and the National Library Service. The reviews are phenomenal.

Foundations of Braille Literacy by Evelyn J. Rex, Alan J. Koenig, Diane P. Wormsley, Robert L. Baker is available from Amazon.

Instructional Strategies for Braille Literacy by Diane P. Wormsley (Editor), Frances Mary D’Andrea (Editor), Fran D’Andrea is available from Amazon or through the APH Book Store.

Kester Braille is an introductory Braille instruction manual written by Louise Johnson when she retired after teaching for 20 years. Kester Braille provides a user-friendly script of the way she taught braille. Level One consists of teaching alphabet and beginning sounds in Braille, and Level 2 teaches three-letter words with short vowel sounds, writing sentences, and numbers zero to 20. It is written to teach Braille reading and writing for children ages four to eight, and can be adapted for older children who have difficulty learning. The cost of Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbooks for Level One is $30.00 and $35.00 for Level Two, or $65.00 for both. You can order them from Louise Johnson, 197 West 1100 South, Orem, Utah 84058. To contact the author of Kester Braille, e-mail her at sierra@fiber.net.

DOTS for Braille Literacy, a free newsletter that includes information about new braille-related products, strategies for teaching, and resources for teachers, family members and others interested in braille literacy.

The APH Daily Activity Pack, Discover Video, Braille Calendar, Dolch Word Cards, Swing Cell and On the Way to Literacy books are also excellent. Contact APH at (800) 223-1839 or visit their website.

Braille Beginnings is a new program available from the Utah School for the Blind, 742 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, UT 84404-5298. The program includes three levels, teaching sixty phonics concepts and two hundred contractions with punctuation. Level One goes over the ABCs (forty concepts including and, for, of, the, with; a few other words for simple stories), and consonant sounds should be taught along with it. The other two levels cover the other contractions, etc. A complete set is $596.00. You can order a level at a time. It is available from the author, Karen Condie, 7859 South 280 East, Sandy, Utah 84070, or call (801) 569-9061.

The Braille FUNdamentals program from TSBVI comes with ready-made hard-copy braille instructional student materials. You can also get it at any or all of the four different levels – Primary, Upper Elementary, Middle School, and High School. Volume 1 contains the Overview and Use, and Volume 2 teaches the alphabet and whole word signs. The other two volumes contain the rest of the braille code. (see www.tsbvi.edu). Also, some 53 clusters of Braille FUNdamentals are built into Duxbury’s DBT WIN, to apply this curriculum to your own materials.

“Braille Master Talking Braille Tutor” is a small black plastic box with six raised buttons representing a braille cell and a 7 button that serves as a function key or space bar. As the buttons representing the characters are pushed, a clear male voice identifies the character. Nineteen lessons introduce students to groups of braille characters or words with similar characteristics. Lessons are presented in learn, practice, and quiz modes, and are arranged to provide a logical progression covering the alphabet, numbers, punctuation, single cell letter combination contractions, single cell whole word contractions, dot-preceded contractions, punctuation as contractions, and 73 standard abbreviated words. BrailleMaster (Item #428938) can be purchased for $295 from the Independent Living Aids, Inc. (800) 537-2118 or Fax (516) 937-3906 or from the website.

“The Braille Trail Activity Book” was designed by Anna Swenson for sighted elementary school children (grades 2-5) and contains activity pages, information, and resources for kids. Introduced by Karl Belanger, a 12-year-old avid braille reader, it invites kids to learn more about this “secret code.” An accompanying Braille Trail Parent/Teacher Guide that gives extra information about braille, and enrichment activities. These materials can be purchased from AFB Press website or by calling 800-232-3044.

Guidelines and Games for Teaching Efficient Braille Reading by Myrna R. Olson and Sally Mangold is available from Amazon and the AFB Press website.

Kester Braille is an introductory Braille instruction manual written by Louise Johnson when she retired after teaching for 20 years. Kester Braille provides a user-friendly script of the way she taught braille. Level One consists of teaching alphabet and beginning sounds in Braille, and Level Two teaches three-letter words with short vowel sounds, writing sentences, and numbers zero to 20. It is written to teach Braille reading and writing for children ages four to eight, and can be adapted for older children who have difficulty learning. The Level One and Level Two Teacher’s Guide and Student Workbooks are $25 each. You can order them from Louise Johnson, 197 West 1100 South, Orem, Utah 84058. To contact the author of Kester Braille, e-mail her at sierra@fiber.net.

The Louis Braille Center offers books for learning braille, including Braille By Touch, a course in grade one braille for adults.

The Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Braille Letter RecognitionThe Mangold Developmental Program of Tactile Perception and Nemeth Numeral Recognition and The Combined Reading and Math Program, all by Dr. Sally Mangold, are available from Exceptional Teaching Aids by calling (800) 549-6999 or visit their website at: www.exceptionalteaching.com.

The Nemeth Code Tutorial (for blind students, for use on the Braille Lite): http://www.freedomscientific.com

Speech Assisted Learning (SAL) is a combination of synthesized speech and standard paper braille that can be used in braille instruction. Information about SAL can be found at http://www.exceptionalteaching.com/index_files/page0002.htm.

Tack-Tiles® – Braille Systems are a braille instruction tool for all ages based on LEGO®-type blocks in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian literary braille code as well as Nemeth Braille Code for mathematics, Braille code for music notation, and computer braille code. Visit the site at: http://www.tack-tiles.com or call 800-TACK-TILE (822-5845).

The Braille Game Board – is a new learning tool giving braille readers an opportunity to invent and play new games while sharpening their braille skills! The Braille Game Board® consists of a pegboard grid with which to create words. For more information, contact Michael Bienvenue at Albro, Inc., P.O. Box 65067, Station Place Longueuil, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada J4K5J4, phone (514) 996-4430, visit the website www.braillegame.com.

Braille coloring books, books, documents, business and greeting cards and chocolate from The National Braille Factory www.nationalbraillefactory.com phone (877) 8-BRAILL.

The Secret Code (Rookie Readers) by Dana Meachen Rau, Bari Weissman (Illustrator) is available from Amazon.com.  From School Library Journal – Kindergarten- Second Grade. Oscar, a blind boy, explains to his classmates that his books are not written in secret code, but in Braille. The Braille alphabet is illustrated so that sighted children can learn to recognize the letters and decipher a note that Oscar sends to a friend.

Braille for the Sighted by S. Harold Collins (ISBN: 0931993954) is a 32-page book done in a puzzle and game format and is an introduction to braille for those who are sighted. Simulated braille is used to teach the alphabet and numbers in order to complete a variety of games and activities – great for elementary-age students who have family members or classmates who are blind. It is published by Garlic Press, 605 Powers Street, Eugene, OR 97402 or on the Web at Remedia Publications It is also available on Amazon or you can call your local bookstore.

The Computerized Braille Tutor (for sighted individuals): https://www.tsbvi.edu or Dr. Gaylen Kapperman, Director of the Research and Development Institute, developed this DOS-based braille instruction program. The 566K file is self-extracting and complete with documentation. It is also available from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) by calling (703) 671-6391 or visiting the website.

Handbook for Learning to Read Braille by Sight (ISBN: 9991087354) by Schubert is available for about $23 from Amazon or from your local bookstore.

Hotbraille is a resource through which sighted students can send a blind student a braille letter free of charge.

The Louis Braille Center offers books for learning Braille, including a Braille Workbox for sighted children.

The Computerized Nemeth Code Tutor (for sighted individuals): From our site: www.tsbvi.edu

Instructor’s Manual for the New Programmed Instruction in Braille by Larhea D. Sanford is available from Amazon.

Handbook for Learning to Read Braille by Sight (ISBN: 9991087354) by Schubert is available for about $23 from Amazon or from your local bookstore.

The Computerized Braille Tutor (for sighted individuals): Dr. Gaylen Kapperman, Director of the Research and Development Institute, developed this DOS-based braille instruction program. The 566K file is self-extracting and complete with documentation. It is also available from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) by calling (703) 671-6391 or visiting the website.

Literary Braille Refresher Course for Teachers and Transcribers by Risjord, C. (1995) is available from the National Braille Association, Inc.: http://members.aol.com/nbaoffice or call (716) 427-8260.

Ashcroft’s Programmed Instruction in Braille, Fourth Edition. Updated and Revised by Holbrook , D’Andrea and Sanford, R. D. (2011) is available from SCALARS Publishers, Nashville, TN. http://www.scalarspublishing.com/. ISBN 0-9712139-4-1

BrailleMaster Talking Braille Tutor is a small black plastic box with six raised buttons representing a braille cell and a seventh button that serves as a function key or space bar. As the buttons representing the characters are pushed, a clear male voice identifies the character. Nineteen lessons introduce students to groups of braille characters or words with similar characteristics. Lessons are presented in learn, practice, and quiz modes, and are arranged to provide a logical progression covering the alphabet, numbers, punctuation, single cell letter combination contractions, single cell whole word contractions, dot-preceded contractions, punctuation as contractions, and 73 standard abbreviated words. BrailleMaster (Item #428938) can be purchased for $295 from Independent Living Aids, Inc. (800) 537-2118 or Fax (516) 937-3906 or from the website at www.independentliving.com.

The Computerized Braille Tutor (for sighted individuals): https://www.tsbvi.edu (for sighted individuals):  or Dr. Gaylen Kapperman, Director of the Research and Development Institute, developed this DOS-based braille instruction program. The 566K file is self-extracting and complete with documentation. It is also available from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired (AER) by calling (703) 671-6391 or visiting the website.

The Computerized Nemeth Code Tutor (for sighted individuals): From our site: www.tsbvi.edu

Ashcroft’s Programmed Instruction in Braille, Fourth Edition. Updated and Revised by Holbrook, D’Andrea, and Sanford, R. D. (2011) is available from SCALARS Publishers, Nashville, TN. http://www.scalarspublishing.com/. ISBN 0-9712139-4-1

The Braille Institute also has many useful resources.

Braille: Into the Next Millennium, a 600-page anthology of articles by international braille experts, is published jointly by the Library of Congress’s National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS/BPH) and the Friends of Libraries for Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals in North America. Call NLS toll free at 800-424-8567 or visit www.loc.gov/nls.

The Bridge to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child by Carol Castellano, Dawn Kosman is available from Amazon.

Communication Skills for Visually Impaired Learners : Braille, Print, and Listening Skills for Students Who Are Visually Impaired by Randall K. Harley, Mila B. Truan, Larhea D. Sanford is available from Amazon.

DotlessBraille is a site whose main goal is to increase braille literacy for all by making braille more accessible for sighted persons. The site is designed to be an introduction to braille for everyone, including print-disabled adults who are looking for a way to start learning about braille. Most of the material has been written by a sighted person; it is hoped that this perspective of a dot-challenged person will give braille-literate blind persons some useful insights into the difficulties that sighted persons encounter in learning braille.

Dot Writing is another book about the Braille code available from Exceptional Teaching Aids at http://www.exceptionalteaching.com/index_files/page0015.htm or call (800) 549-6999.

A Field Guide for the Sight Impaired Reader by Andrew Leibs is tremendously empowering, showing students how to become independent readers on a level with the fully sighted by connecting with the many special resources that exist for them. I include a link to the book’s Amazon page. It’s a must-have book for any blind reader, and it’s available on tape from RFB&D and the National Library Service. The reviews are phenomenal. Please pass the word.

Handbook for Learning to Read Braille by Sight (ISBN: 9991087354) by Schubert is available for about $23 from www.amazon.com or from your local bookstore.

Instant Access to Braille Project: Refreshable Braille in the Inclusive Classroom is a Western and Central New York State project of the Center for Assistive Technology at the University of Buffalo, providing students with a refreshable braille note-taking device and training in its use in order to facilitate inclusion. See the website http://cat.buffalo.edu/refreshablebraille or call Katy Beaver for details (716) 829-3141 ext. 103.

Just Enough to Know Better by Eileen Curran is part of the Hadley School for the Blind correspondence course, “Braille Reading for Family Members.” One print or braille booklet costs $7. Available from National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen St., Boston, MA 02115 (888) 965-8965 or (617) 266-6160.

The Secret Code (Rookie Readers) by Dana Meachen Rau, Bari Weissman (Illustrator) is available from Amazon.

Victar Braille Resources http://www.education.bham.ac.uk/research/victar/resources/braille/biblio.htm

Working With Braille by Barry Hampshire is available from Amazon.com.

Alternative Assessment Techniques for Reading and Writing by Wilma H. Miller is available from Amazon.com

Free Stuff from AFB! – Order on the web at http://www.afb.org/store/free_stuff.asp?mscssid=GMRSSBA2HF888N0SJXMTUK9HD8RPDR5B or call (800) AFB-LINE (800-232-5463)

  • Get Caught Reading posters: One featuring Erik Weihenmayer reading braille and another featuring Patty Duke and a young girl reading braille
  • Guide to Toys for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
  • 9 Ways to Step Back poster
  • Connecting the Dots: A Parent’s Resource for Promoting Early Braille Literacy (pamphlet)
  • Dots for Reading poster

The Computerized Nemeth Code Tutor (for sighted individuals): From our site: www.tsbvi.edu

The Nemeth Code Tutorial from Freedom Scientific is for blind students for use on Braille Lite.

The “original” cheat sheet was created by Victor S. Hemphill, Sr.  Mr. Hemphill passed it on to Telesensory who passed it on to Duxbury. Duxbury now uses it as a handout at exhibits. It is 11 x 17 inches (printed portrait), so is often posted on the wall. TeleSensory’s phone number on the sheet was (800) 227-8418. The Duxbury cheat sheet (11″ x 17″) may be available from Duxbury Systems. Their phone number is (978) 692-3000.

National Braille Press (NBP) has a downloadable, and printable PDF cheat sheet done with only letters on their website http://www.nbp.org/alph.html. When you purchase their book, Just Enough to Know Better, you may also receive a large one-page cheat sheet. The sheet measures 17″x11″ and at the top says “ENGLISH BRAILLE SYMBOLS”. It has the alphabet, number (literary) punctuation, and short-form words, many contractions, and dot 5 words, all listed in alphabetical order.

Susan Jolly has developed a literary braille cheat sheet for sighted persons that has the cells arranged by dot pattern. For example, all the cells in a given row of the chart have the same dot pattern in their left-hand column. This arrangement by dot pattern makes it easy to locate a particular cell and find its meaning. If you have any questions, you can write to Susan easjolly@ix.netcom.com

Journal References

Title: Ensuring High-Quality Instruction for Students in Braille Literacy Programs.
Source: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, Nov2000, Vol. 94 Issue 11, p677, 18p
Author(s): Koenig, Alan J.; Holbrook, M. Cay
Abstract: This study used the Delphi research method to gain a consensus among 40 professionals on the appropriate levels of instructional service to address the needs of students with visual impairments in 12 areas of braille literacy skills. These resulting recommendations are general guidelines for educational teams to follow in designing braille literacy programs, but must be tailored to address the individual needs of each student.
AN: 3857465

Title: The impact of braille reading skills on employment, income, education, and reading habits.
Source: Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, May/Jun96, Vol. 90 Issue 3, p219, 8p, 1 chart, 4 graphs
Author(s): Ryles, R.
Abstract: Compares the outcomes for congenitally legally blind adults in the United States who, learned to read braille or print as their original reading medium. Reading skills; Employment; Income; Education; Reading habits.
AN: 9606204214

Developed by:
Judi Piscitello, TVI, COMS
Assistant, Training of Special Educators
NYS School for the Blind Resource Center
2A Richmond Avenue
Batavia, NY 14020
(585) 343-5384 ext. 1427
FAX (585) 344-7026
http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed/nyssb/resource.htm