Volume 9, Issue 3

Fall 2008


Wisconsin Braille Celebrates

Tenth Anniversary

by Sandra Adams


It was ten years ago this summer that a group of visionary women, Connie Risjord, Mary Ann Damm, Susan Christensen, and Beverly Pfister met to discuss their concerns about the quality of braille production in Wisconsin.  With the passage of legislation guaranteeing the right of school children to receive instruction in the reading and writing of braille, they foresaw the need for more well-trained transcribers in our state and to coordinate communication with governmental agencies and among braille-producing organizations.   Preliminary work included sending out a survey to Wisconsin’s teachers of the visually impaired, researching how to establish a non-profit organization, and developing a press release stating the purposes of the new organization.


So it was that Wisconsin Braille was born.  On October 12, 1998, Mary Ann chaired a meeting during which the attendees adopted a resolution forming Wisconsin Braille “for the purpose of coordinating the efforts of all persons who are concerned about the quality and quantity of braille in the state of Wisconsin.”  Charter members included transcribers, teachers of the visually impaired, administrators, parents of blind children and braille users.   As first President, Connie convened the initial Board meeting on November 7, 1998; the first General Membership meeting was held the following February. The Board meets three times yearly; a General Membership meeting is held in March, but members are welcome to attend any meeting.


Through the dedication and hard work of the Board and other members, Wisconsin Braille has made progress on the goals it set for itself.  To coordinate communication among agencies and the public regarding Braille, Wisconsin Braille maintains a web site (www.wisbrl.org.) and publishes a newsletter three times a year.  For several years now, Mary Ann Damm has been a member of the Special Advisory Council representing transcribers; currently she serves with Dawn Soto, another Board member and a teacher of the visually impaired.  Wisconsin Braille was instrumental in working toward the passage of legislation ensuring better remuneration for braille transcribers who prepare school materials.  Most recently, the Board contributed input on new legislation requiring accessible materials for students with disabilities attending colleges and/or technical schools in Wisconsin.


To promote education and training around braille codes, members of Wisconsin Braille have offered workshops to educators and transcribers.  The latest was held in June of this year.  Connie Risjord and Mary Ann Damm, on behalf of Wisconsin Braille, have trained over thirty braillists at the Oshkosh State Correctional Institution in the literary code; some of these have taken advanced instruction and are now certified in math (Nemeth), formatting, and music.  Their services now extend beyond Wisconsin as they also prepare brailled materials for students in other states.


Since its inception, Wisconsin Braille has offered free trade books in braille to the children of the state through the generosity of grant money.  Each fall, a new selection of books is published in the newsletter and posted on the web site; a composite list of all the books offered can be found there as well.  The braillists in Oshkosh produce these books as a community service.   To date since the start of the project, they have produced approximately 2,500 books.  Within the last few years, Wisconsin Braille has also offered braille/tactile board books for preschoolers; information about these is also on the web site.


There is much to celebrate; not the least of which is the financial support that Wisconsin Braille has received these past years.  At its last meeting, the Board began generating some exciting ideas to commemorate the tenth anniversary.  These will be discussed further at the next meeting in October.  Be sure to look for more details in the next newsletter!    






Many of you have been wondering if your dues to WisBrl are tax deductible. The simple answer is no. However, any contributions to WisBrl above and beyond your dues are tax deductible because we are a 501c3 charitable organization. So, here is the breakdown.

·        If you send a $10 regular, $30 sustaining or $200 life membership, those memberships are NOT tax deductible.

·        If you send any membership amount plus something extra, the extra IS tax deductible. You MUST either write two checks or break out your membership and your donation on the memo line of your check. (Memo: $10 membership, $40 donation). Your  cancelled  check is your

             receipt for the donation portion.

Another reminder: Please remember to send your membership to the address listed at the bottom of the membership renewal page of this paper. If you send it to the P.O. Box, it may sit there for a while until I get to the post office to check. I live twenty miles from the post office and try to go weekly, but that does not always happen.


If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at 608-455-1522 or email me at foltzpa@gmail.com.



Ask Mr. #s


Dear Mr. #'s,

        So much material in math books today relates to either calculators or computers. Can you go over how the calculator and computer keys are presented in braille.


        Computing in the 21st Century


Dear Computing,

        In the Nemeth code (Update 2007) §111d this is addressed by the use of a shape with interior modification. When a calculator key or computer key is shown in print (i.e. = or «) you will use the following steps:


  1. Start the shape by using the "ed" contraction followed by a "k" for keystroke. ($k)
  2. Then place whatever information is shown on the key itself.
  3. End the symbol by adding the termination symbol "er." (])



            = $k.k]

            « $k,enter]


            Remember, if the shape of the key being shown is significant, this information is given in a transcriber's note and the method shown above is used to construct the key in braille.

        What are the rules?

  • Never divide a single keystroke between lines.
  • Rules for dividing mathematical expressions do not apply when showing expressions with keystrokes. This means do not divide expressions between lines because there is a symbol of comparison.
  • Print should be duplicated as closely as possible when there is a logical sequence.
  • Do not use contractions in contact with this symbol.
  • No spacing is left between keystrokes.
  • No numeric indicator is needed within a keystroke.


        There are a lot of keys that can be fairly complex depending on the calculator. But the basic structure explained above remains the same. Everything in between the opening of the symbol and the closing of the symbol is transcribed according to the rules for Nemeth, to include modified expressions. For a full explanation and further examples of the computer keystroke see the BANA BRAILLE CODES UPDATE 2007 / THE NEMETH CODE FOR MATHEMATICS and SCIENCE NOTATION 1972 REVISION, 2007 Update.



        Mr. #'s



P.S. There  were  revisions and additions made to  the   literary,
   formats,  and Nemeth codes last year. If you do not have the BANA  
   code updates, they can be downloaded from:



The Braille Corner


Dear Ms. Perkins,

      I see more and more references to computer web addresses and e-mail addresses in books, pamphlets, and other materials today. Can you go over the basics of how Computer addresses are used in braille?


      Surfin' the Web


Dear Surfin' the Web,

      I can surely delve into the Computer Braille Code (CBC) for you a little bit.


Ø      File names or other computer languages found in literary texts should use the Computer Braille Code (CBC) whether these materials are embedded within the text or displayed.

Ø      When using the CBC, do not use contractions. The contractions for "to," "into" or "by" should not be used before a CBC indicator.

Ø      Numbers within an electronic address or file name should be brailled in the lower part of the cell, as in Nemeth, and a number indicator should not be used.

Ø      Special fonts such as italics, boldface type, etc. are ignored.


     When transcribing CBC some special symbols must be used. For example:

·        .+ Begin Computer Braille Code

·        .: End Computer Braille Code

·        @ (dot 4) at sign @

·        . (dots 46) dot


            E-mail me at  mother@new.net  or at  44444.5555@computserve.com  soon.

            ;,e-mail me at _+mother@new.net_:

or at _+44444.5555@computserve.com_: soon4

·        : Colon :

·        / Slash /

·        \ Backslash \

·        __ Underscore _





     When capital letters are used in an electronic address or file name, there are some special symbols that must be used.

·        _ Shift indicator (Dots 456, placed before a single capital letter.)

·        _> Caps Lock indicator (Placed before two or more consecutive capital letters. Takes the place of a Begin CBC indicator.)

·        _< Caps Release indicator


Example :




       Braille an entire address or file name on one braille line, even if that means leaving a great deal of blank space on the previous line. If an address is too long for one line a continuation indicator (_&) must be used.

  When an electronic address is set apart from surrounding text by blank lines, change of margin, etc. it is said to be displayed.

Ø      Leave a blank line before and after displayed material.

Ø      Do not use Begin and End Computer Braille Code indicators.

     The rules for transcribing electronic addresses should be explained on a Transcriber's Notes page, and the symbols listed on a Special Symbols page. Complete instructions on how to braille electronic addresses can be found in English Braille American Edition, Appendix C.



            Ms. Perkins






Annual offering of free books from WisBrl



     Once again, Wisconsin Braille, Inc. is pleased to offer a selection of braille books for your school library because of grant money awarded us. As in the past, the committee has chosen books that are not already brailled.  We searched the on-line catalog in our local library, as well as other sources, to locate recognized books of excellence. The committee hopes that the selection meets your readers’ needs and welcomes your suggestions of titles not already brailled for next year’s selection.

      You may continue to order early readers in either contracted or uncontracted braille.  Indicate your preference on the order form. Our current selections are:


The Big, Big Wall, by Reginald Howard

Humpty Dumpty doesn’t want to have a big fall.  See how his friends come to his assistance in order to help him down.  Print/Braille copy available.  Grades K – 2.


Bindi Babes, by Narinder Dhami

Amber, Jazz and Geena Dhillon are three fabulous sisters with a reputation for being the coolest, best-dressed girls at their school.  But their classmates don’t know that they work extra hard to look perfect and together to all of their friends—while privately trying not to think about how much they miss their mother, who died a year ago.  Find out what happens when an interfering auntie from India comes to live with them.  Grades 4-6.


The Case of the Desperate Duck, by Cynthia Rylant

Mabel’s Tea Room is missing a box of fancy sugar cubes!  But who would steal sugar?  And why? Thank goodness the High-Rise Private Eyes, Jack Jones and Bunny Brown are on the case!  Beginning Readers.


Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance, by Eleanora E. Tate

When Celeste Massey is forced to live with her actress aunt, she is not thrilled to trade her friends and surroundings for a scary big-city life.  Things are not all what they seem.   She must eventually face a choice between ambition and loyalty, roots and new horizons.  The decision will change her forever.  Grades 5-9 and up.


Finding Nemo: Just Keep Swimming, by Melissa Lagonegro

Nemo has a dream.  He wants to join the school swim team.  He’s worried that he will never win but learns to accept the help and advice of his friends. Print/Braille copy available.  Grades K – 2.


Here’s a Little Poem, A Very First Book of Poetry, collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters

This superb selection contains more than sixty poems by a wide range of talented writers from Margaret Wise Brown to Langston Hughes to Hilaire Belloc. Grade 2 and up.


Missy Violet & Me, by Barbara Hathaway

The summer that Viney is eleven puts her under the wing of Missy Violet, a well-loved midwife who teaches Viney about the business of catchin’ babies.  Viney learns about roots and herbs and their medicinal purposes, and the contents of Missy Violet’s “birthin’ bag.”  Scary, funny, and exhilarating, the rhythm of Viney’s life in the South quickens as she embraces her apprenticeship and finds her own special place as Missy Violet’s “best helper girl.”  Grades 4–8.


Moon Runner, by Carolyn Marsden

When Mina, a self-professed “girlie-girl” and non-athlete, turns out to excel in track, her friends are as surprised as she is, especially the competitive Ruth.  When Coach chooses her to run against Ruth, Mina faces an unhappy predicament.  Should she hold back on purpose and let Ruth win?  Or let herself soar?  Grades 3-5.


One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II, by Lita Judge

When Lita Judge discovered tracings of feet in her grandparents’ attic, she was intrigued.  This is the story behind those tracings, the story of one American family’s triumphant effort to relieve the suffering of Europeans in the aftermath of World War II.  Grades 4-8.


Rex Zero and the End of the World, by Tim Wynne-Jones

In the summer of 1962 with everyone nervous about a possible nuclear war, ten-nearly-eleven-year-old Rex, having just moved to Ottawa from Vancouver with his parents and five siblings, faces his own personal challenges as he discovers new friends and a new understanding of the world around him. Grades 7-12.


Snowed in with Grandmother Silk, by Carol Fenner

Ruddy’s grandmother isn’t much fun.  During a long stay with her, a snowstorm comes howling through and they are left without light, heat, and water – and no one to talk to but each other.  Partly a survival story, this is a tale of two people who think they aren’t alike at all until they look for the things they have in common.  Grades 3-6.


Please remember to submit your order by November 30, 2008, using the order form enclosed; send it only to the OSCI address on the form, NOT to Wisconsin Braille’s P.O. Box.  Teachers, please feel free to distribute this information to the parents of your students so they can order as well.   You are also able to locate our book offerings, both past and current, on our web site: www.wisbrl.org.  You may order up to five books from the composite list on our site in addition to ones from this year’s collection.  You should receive your books in the spring of 2009 before school dismisses for summer vacation.  Thanks!


Sandy Adams, Alison McKee,  Marilyn Harmon

Special Book Project Committee






Tell your friends



wisconsin braille inc.


This is your organization — spread the word


only $10 per year

Wisconsin Braille, Inc.

Special Book Project Order Form

Fall 2008


Check here if you have ordered from us in the past. _____ Cust. ID (if known) _______

Name:  _______________________________ Phone: _____________

Address:  ____________________________________________________________


New Address:  ________________________________________________________



_____ The Big, Big Wall by Reginald Howard (print/braille)


            _____ Uncontracted

_____ Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami

_____ The Case of the Desperate Duck by Cynthia Rylant

_____ Celeste’s Harlem Renaissance by Eleanora E. Tate

_____ Finding Nemo: Just Keep Swimming by Melissa Lagonegro (print/braille)


            _____ Uncontracted

_____ Here’s a Little Poem, A Very First Book of Poetry collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters

_____ Missy Violet & Me by Barbara Hathaway

_____ Moon Runner by Carolyn Marsden

_____ One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II by Lita Judge

_____ Rex Zero and the End of the World by Tim Wynne-Jones

­­­­­­_____ Snowed in with Grandmother Silk by Carol Fenner


Additional books from previous years: (see compiled list on web site: www.wisbrl.org)

You may order up to five.




Suggestions for next year:

(Please request specific books that are not already done in braille.  Thanks!)




By November 30, 2008, send order to this address:

            Kurt Pamperin, Coordinator

            OSCI Braille Program

            1730 Snell Road

            Oshkosh, WI 54903-3530



The purpose of Wisconsin Braille Inc. is to advance communication and coordinate the efforts of all persons concerned with the availability, quality, and distribution of brailled materials in the state of Wisconsin thereby encouraging braille literacy.




The Wisconsin Braille newsletter is published three times a year. Deadlines are: Spring/Summer – May 1, Fall – September 1, Winter – December 15



The purpose of this newsletter is to disperse information. Wisconsin Braille Inc. does not endorse or vouch for the reliability of any of the persons, organizations, or products appearing in this publication.



Wisconsin Braille Inc. welcomes letters from readers on all subjects concerning braille and blindness. Publication of letters will be at the editor’s discretion. Letters must be signed, but names will be withheld upon request.




            Use the following form to join or renew your membership to Wisconsin Braille Inc. Please make checks and money orders payable to: WISCONSIN BRAILLE INC.


Regular membership, annual dues: $10

Sustaining membership, annual dues: $30

Lifetime membership: $200


Please include: the date, your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address. Also advise if you wish printed material to be sent to you in regular type, e-mail or braille.


Please answer the following: What is your affiliation with the braille-reading community? (List all that apply.) Teacher, educational assistant, transcriber, proofreader, administrator, producer, parent, user, other (specify).


Return application and payment to: Wisconsin Braille Inc., Membership Chair,

5263 Anna Lane, Middleton, WI 53562



This version of the Wisconsin Braille newsletter was prepared by the members of the OSCI Braille Program. It has not been proofread. Readers are encouraged to report noted errors to: Wisconsin Braille Newsletter, Editor,  P.O. Box 45076, Madison, WI 53744-5076.