ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has created this image of a book cover for my Polychrome Heroics series.

This is a book that Drew Finn is reading. At first glance, the cover seems blank. On closer inspection, it is luxurious paper with a pattern of tiny bumps.

Drew belongs to a family involved in the Soup to Nuts group. They're blue plate specials -- not crimefighting superheroes, but people who use superpowers in their ordinary jobs, in this case, various types of crisis response or support work. You'll be seeing more of them later. Anyway, Drew is one of the few sighted people who is learning how to read Braille by touch.

Found in Drew Finn's backpack -- he's working independently to touch-read Braille -- the cover reads:

First Letters in Braille
For the Adult Learner
by Charles Montgomery Hudson

The leading dot at the bottom right before some letters, rather like a reverse period, means “capital letter follows,” so some words have them and some do not.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-30 10:26 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Neat! But this is Grade-1, elementary Braille, which I wouldn't expect to find on a book. Maybe because it's an elementary book...?

(Disclaimer: I'm not very knowledgeable about Braille.)

Book description

Date: 2014-07-01 12:39 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
It's based on the books I bought when learning Braille in the late 80's and early 90's. (I have them packed away, but would have to have another thousand square feet of house to have the bookshelf space I'd need to get them into "circulation.")

Having tried to learn from a single sheet of Braille, versus the series of patterning and letter recognition in the proper book, the book is FAR superior.

To compare in reading regular English-- did you go to school when phonics were taught systematically, or during "sight reading" eras? If phonics were taught systematically, some of the earliest exercises are first recognizing the letter in isolation ("This is a B") then in letter combinations-- "ba, bi, by, ab, ib," et cetera.

By the /end/ of the book, it's got short articles, paragraphs of things like "What did Mark buy at the store? He bought carrots, potatoes, lemons, rosemary and a small beef roast. What do you think he will make for dinner?"

Not Earth-shattering stuff, but it has the special punctuation like the leading 6-dot for capital letters, other marks for punctuation, including apostrophes and quotations. It doesn't take long to get through the first book, but it is also spaced widely, so the learner doesn't accidentally drop down an extra line and start reading the wrong bit. (Which happened to me a /lot/. I really needed the whole book's worth of practice to get that straight.)

Sadly, only about ten percent of visually impaired adults read Braille today. That's 90% of the population who rely on either human readers, or computer adaptations... or do without.


Oddly, the first /major/ decline in Braille teaching happened in the generation before mine-- when cassettes first began to appear and become part of classroom technology. "Books on tape" seemed to be /the/ answer-- overlooking all the things which /aren't/ mass-produced or appropriate to be recorded by strangers.

I'm legally entitled to a copy of my own medical records. Complete records. If I am legally blind, what form will those records take? How will I know if they are complete or accurate?

Edited (typo) Date: 2014-07-01 12:40 am (UTC)

Re: Book description

Date: 2014-07-01 12:57 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I don't remember learning to read English, either. I was filching my mom's books and reading them by age three.

But it illustrates the methodolgy that actually /stayed/ part of teaching Braille, while the rest of the country went bananas over "sight reading" or "see ad say" or whatever they called it. The cycle runs between every five and ten years, cycling between "explicit phonics instructions" and "establishing comfort with the print environment"- read the latter as "sight reading"- and that means that pretty much NONE of the teachers since the 1930's have been /prepared/ to teach reading the way the schools want them to, and each generation has lost more and more of the basic information.

I could dig up my Braille instruction books tonight and match them to the current ones, quite easily. it's actually refreshing!

Re: Book description

Date: 2014-07-01 01:28 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
How would Braille solve that? Either it's also mass-produced or somebody has to translate it.

Google braille translator:

  • Welcome to the online Braille Translator.
    BrailleTranslator.org is a simple way to convert text to braille notation. We support nearly all grade two braille contractions.
 As input files we support pdf, doc, docx, txt, rtf, html and odf. Please consider that a 100% correct braille translation can only be done by a human, as this requires a understanding of the text content.
  • Braille Converter | Resources | European Blind Union
    (Looks like just Grade-1.)
  • Braille Translation Software from Duxbury Systems
    Duxbury DBT 11.2sr2 is Now Available (May 12, 2014)
    Now Importing Word 2007/2010/2013, Excel, & Open Office Documents
    DBT: Now Supporting over 130 Languages
    DBT: Now Translating from Braille Math to Inkprint Math

  • Introducing Braille Pad Pro for the iPad
    Braille Pad Pro (iTunes Link) is a word processor for the iPad that handles Grade 1 (uncontracted) and Grade 2 (contracted) Braille. If you are looking for Braille Software that handles UEBC, try Braille Pad Student. Braille Pad Pro comes complete with translation capability and was designed to be helpful for both visually impaired and sighted people in learning and working with Braille. The beauty of this iPad app is that the Braille needs no special software to appear in emails such as: ⠺⠑⠇⠉⠕⠍⠑ ⠞⠕ ⠠⠃⠗⠇ ⠠⠏⠁⠙
    For those looking for a Grade 2 Brailler Word Processor for Apple’s Mac Platform, we just released Braille Writer Pro for the Mac.

... And many more.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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