Volume 10, Issue 1

Winter 2009




WI Vision Professionals Conference  February 19-20, 2009
Osthoff House, Elkhart Lake

WisBrl to present panel on the need for certified transcribers in schools

by Dawn Soto, teacher of visually impaired students


Do school administrators know about braille transcribers?  I believe that if there is a student who is deaf, there is surely a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and a certified (and Wisconsin licensed) hearing interpreter who will work with that student. But what about blind students? 


I have a friend who is a teacher of the blind and visually impaired (TVI) in Vermont where if there is a student who requires braille instruction, he or she automatically receives a certified braille transcriber to serve their daily braille needs.  Isn't that a wonderful situation?  That is not the case in Wisconsin.


I believe strongly that through education and spreading the word about certified braille transcribers we can reach those administrators in Wisconsin who don't know how much students who read braille need transcribers.  As a survey of Wisconsin teachers demonstrated a few years ago, most of the braille that is created for classroom use in our state is not created by certified transcribers.  I know that with my TVI case load I cannot possibly provide adequate braille for an academic student who needs to "see" everything that all other students can see.  My students, who are braille readers, must have braille copies of everything that his or her sighted peers have access to.


This is why Wisconsin Braille Inc. has been invited to present a panel discussion at the Wisconsin Vision Professionals Conference in February 2009.  It is felt that if TVIs have information readily available to hand to administrators and to offer programming and in-services, the need will become known. 


It is very exciting that the conference will coincide with the 200th birthday celebration of Louis Braille.  It is my hope that by sharing more information about Louis Braille, his hopes and aspirations for students in the future and the continuing need for certified braille transcribers in Wisconsin, we can break through the misconceptions that TVIs can and should produce all braille for their braille reading students.  This is not possible, and does not meet the standards for Free and Appropriate Public Education as set forth by the law.    





WisBrl General Membership Meeting


Middleton Public Library

7425 Hubbard Ave.



March 21, 2009


1:00-3:00 PM


Guest Speaker: Kurt Pamperin,

Director of the Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OSCI) Braille Production Center


New officers and members of the board of directors will be elected.


Nominations for 2009-2011


President: Sandy Adams

Secretary: Dawn Soto


Board Members:

  Mary Ann Damm

  Faith Kelley

  Constance Risjord


Continuing (2008-2010):

Vice President: Vonna Johnson-Porter

Treasurer: Pat Foltz


Board Members:

  Kevin Jones

  Marilyn Harmon

  Cheryl Orgas

  Kurt Pamperin

  Judy Turner


There are two openings on the Board of Directors. If you would like to serve, or would like to nominate someone else to serve, please contact: Mary Ann Damm at 608-273-0536 or mdamm1000@aol.com.                                





Life of Louis Braille on display at

Milwaukee Public Library

A display on the life of Louis Braille on the 200th anniversary of his birth, and on the role of braille in the life of blind people, will run from Dec. 15 to Jan. 30 on the second floor of the Milwaukee Public Library Central Library building.

The Central Library will be open Mon.-Tues., 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat., 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; and Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. (Oct. thru April).





Fun with Braille


(This activity is from the APH Publication Fun with Braille, 2006; used with permission of the publisher)


Concert Tours


   “Jeff’s Jungle Crew” and “Kirsten and the Krazies” are popular rock groups. Each is about to go on separate national concert tours to promote their latest music. Jeff’s Jungle Crew will perform concerts in all of the states without contractions in their name, while Kirsten and the Krazies will tour in all of the states whose names have contractions. Make a list of the states that each rock group will tour and then answer the following questions.


  1. Which group will have more performances?

  2. In the list of states that each group will be touring, there are three states that start with the same letter. List all sets for Jeff; for Kirsten. Is there more than one set for Jeff? For Kirsten?

  3. In the list of states that each group will be touring, there are four states that start with the same letter. List all sets for Jeff; for Kirsten. Is there more than one set for Jeff? For Kirsten?

  4. Based upon the states that each group will be performing in, which one would you rather tour with and why?



The Life of Brian


Hello, my name is Faith Kelley.  My son is Brian Kelley, a typical 14 year old boy. J So sweet when he’s sleeping. Brian is our last born of three sons.  He was born with Sporadic Aniridea, glaucoma, and cataracts.  He was diagnosed the second day of his life.  After six months of shock and worrying about the unknown I decided I  had better get busy and find out what and how we were going to raise this child to the best of our ability.


We started to work with the birth-3 program in our city of Madison.  After some eye testing was done, we were told Brian would see only shadows, but we knew better.  When we would stick our tongues out at him he didn’t care for that at all!!  This was the beginning of our own little tests.  We would set little items on his highchair or walker chair and he would push it away unless it was a tasty thing.


Brian began wearing dark glasses and little caps, in and out of the house, when he was 3 days old, as the light would really hurt his eyes and could cause further blindness.  People always said “what a cool dude.”  I will never forget his first pair of real prescription tinted glasses with clear frames.  Putting those on him really made us aware of his eye condition.  I lost it right there; after trying to be so strong through all of this and putting up a good front for other people to keep their spirits lifted.  Wow, this tiny little perfect head with these glasses; he was about seven months old.


Later Brian was diagnosed with speech and fine and gross motor delays and sensory issues.


We knew we had to keep on pushing. Since he was the youngest, we tried to raise him as the others, but with all the hospital visits and putting him under to control his glaucoma, it was pretty tough. 


Then it was time for kindergarten. HELP, what will happen?  He did better than we had expected, but he had shown perseverance throughout his life.  In first grade he started to really get into learning braille and had an awesome VI (vision) teacher named Alison.  The strides he made once he got going!  He was a smart boy and loved math and soccer.  In 3rd grade he wanted to try reading print all the time.  After realizing the difficulty of keeping up in class he opted to go back to braille! YES!


Brian is now in 9th grade and I was so worried about this big transition to high school and a new vision teacher, but he overcame again.  He is finding his way in life, feeling confident, getting good grades and still playing soccer on the freshman team. Considering that he can only “see shadows” and is legally blind, he is still amazing everyone in the family. He is a wonderful gift to us.


So here I sit typing my letter for this issue, and I am so honored to be on the Board of WisBrl and learning more about advocating for my child and yours. What a trip it has been.  I have been so blessed to have learned so many new and exciting things that are happening for our children and met so many wonderful people in Brian’s life. I am so excited for the rest of his journey.                                       



News from OSCI


Book Project!!!


[Wisconsin Braille's special book project provides storybooks in braille to parents and teachers of visually impaired students, free of cost. The books are transcribed, assembled and shipped by members of the OSCI Braille Program.]


This is our favorite time of the year.  Book Project!  We get our heads out of the textbooks and are able to enjoy this great literature for kids.  Some may wonder why we enjoy doing this so much.


What is involved?  First, the books are copied and scanned.  Second, they are gone over by a student to make sure all the text has been included in each book file.  Then they go on to a transcriber.  After the book has been transcribed, other transcribers will proofread the braille.  Last it goes to our production and assembly crew.  The books are embossed, burst, bound, labeled and boxed for shipping.


On average we transcribe ten new books a year as well as offering the previous years' titles. To date we have 195 titles available and we send out an average of 500 books a year.


Generous donations fund the program. OSCI contributes the time, the transcribers, the production, and helps share the production cost as a community service project. We know the books are free and can go to any school, organization or family with a visually impaired child.  Not only is this a great service project for us here, but we also are able to see the great relationship between OCSI Braille, Wisconsin Braille  and its members. 


The letters, cards and messages we have received from recipients of this program make us appreciate the work we are doing even more.  Thank you for those kind words and encouragement.  Not only has the program helped the visually impaired families across the state, it has also helped bridge the gap for men in here who have children of their own. With the permission of WisBrl, we donate the print books that have been transcribed to the Breaking Barriers With Books program here at the institution.


This program targets the enhancements of parenting between father and child utilizing good children's literature as the catalyst.  The focus for the program is on the needs of children whose fathers are not able to be with them.  Fathers can share good children's literature during a special family visit.  This fosters positive and long lasting memories between fathers and children.  Reading to one's child is equated with family love.  We can't think of a better way to use the books from the project.


This also shows the quality of the literature that is chosen by the Wisconsin Braille Book Project Committee.  The relationship between Wisconsin Braille and this institution has brought about many positive things that were never planned.


We expect to start shipping the books out on April 15th.  Yes, Tax Day!


We just want to say thank you for this opportunity to give back to the community.


Joshua  J.



Passage of Higher Education Opportunity Act


Legislation Will Take Steps to Provide Accessible Textbooks to Blind Students


Last August President Bush signed into law the Higher Education Opportunity Act.  The legislation establishes a commission to study ways that higher education textbooks in accessible formats such as braille, audio, or electronic text, depending on the preference of the student, can be provided at the same time that sighted students receive their course materials.


Representative George Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, thanked the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for their help in crafting this critical bill, which will help strengthen college opportunities for blind students across America.


Senator Edward M. Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said: "I'm proud that this bill does so much to help students with disabilities enter and succeed in college.  Thousands of blind students and other students with print disabilities will benefit from the steps we take to ensure that they receive accessible college course materials, and I'm grateful for the Federation's work in supporting this important provision."


Dr. Marc Maurer, president of NFB, said: "The lack of accessible course materials must be addressed in order for the blind to compete on a level playing field with their sighted peers.  The Higher Education Opportunity Act is an important first step toward achieving that goal.  The National Federation of the Blind looks forward to taking its place on the study commission created by this landmark legislation to aid the commission in crafting solutions that will ensure that every blind student begins class with course materials in hand, just like every other student.  We will strive to ensure that the work of the commission results in recommendations for a comprehensive system to deliver textbooks in an accessible format of the student's choice that can be implemented on a nationwide basis."                           




 Far and away the best prize   
  that life has to offer is the  
  chance to work hard at work 
  worth doing.


                     Theodore Roosevelt




The Braille Corner

Dear Ms. Perkins,

There seems to be so many ways to lay out a title page. Can you go over the basics of what is required on a title page and what is different about title pages between a literary book and a textbook?


Starting Out


Dear Starting Out,

You are certainly correct about how many ways there are to lay out a title page. So let me discuss some of the basic steps of preparing a title page to relieve some of the confusion.

I am going to discuss the difference between a literary book title page and a textbook title page later in the article. Information that is common to both is shown below. Each title page should contain the following information listed in the following order:


ü      the book title (fully capitalized)

ü      subtitle and/or series name (if any)

ü      author(s) (fully capitalized); only use the word by if given in print; if there is more than one author place each on consecutive lines

ü      publisher with first or principal address, city and state only (if given); preceded by the words Published by

ü      copyright and reproduction notices; only latest copyright date is listed. If the copyright symbol is shown on the print title page, use the braille symbol ^c, placed and spaced as in print. Follow print if word and symbol are shown.

ü      ISBN; preceded by the words Transcription of; include both 10- and 13-digit ISBNs if they are shown in print

ü       year of braille transcription

ü      name of transcriber, organization affiliation and address (city and state only)

ü      total number of braille volumes (in arabic numbers)

ü      number of the particular volume (in arabic numbers)

ü      inclusive braille pages (both preliminary and text)


One difference between the two title pages is page numbering. When using literary-style pagination print page numbers are ignored. When transcribing a textbook, all print page numbers must be accounted for. So on a textbook title page, the print page numbers for that volume must be placed on line 25 below the braille page numbers. When a braille volume either begins and/or ends with a lettered continuation page, the lettered page number(s) must be indicated on the title page. Example: Print pages a69-125 or Print pages 125-b182.

Another difference between the two is that textbooks sometimes show grade levels. When a grade level is shown on the print title page, the cover, or the spine of a book it must be brailled as printed and placed following the book title. It may be placed on the same line as the title, if space permits, preceded by a colon.

A change in rule 19.2b(12) of the Instruction Manual for Braille Transcribing states that if a book consists of only one volume, instead of using the words "Volume One" the words "In 1 Volume" should be used.

I hope this alleviates some of the confusion associated with title pages.



             Ms. Perkins



Ask Mr. #s


Dear Mr. #'s,

      I notice that graphics, figures and diagrams in math books do not use the English Letter Indicator (ELI) for capital letters. Is this correct? And, are there any differences when one is transcribing figures and diagrams in math or science texts as opposed to other textbooks?


            Figuring it out


Dear Figuring,

      First, for those not familiar with Nemeth rules, the ELI is what the Nemeth Code calls the Braille Formats Letter Indicator (dots 56).

      Next, when a single capital letter in regular type is used as a label in a diagram, an ELI is not requires. If the single letter is in lowercase, then an ELI is used (§29 of the Nemeth Code.)


         A                                          D



        B                                           C


,a 6333333333333334 ,d

   l      ;a      _

   l ;d        ;b _

   l      ;c      _

,b h33333333333333j ,c


      Other things to know about labels for figures and diagrams in Nemeth.


1 - The numeric indicator (dots 3456) must be used with numerals (§16 of the Nemeth Code.)

2- If the transcriber is creating a key (when, for example, there is not enough space for the figure labels) there are two options, as in textbook. One, a numeric key should consist of consecutive numbers shown in the upper part of the cell and not punctuated. Two, an alphabetic key should consist of two English letters that are suggestive of the item they represent, if possible. Note: An alphabetic key may not be used if the print material already uses an alphabetic key made up of two lower-case letters (§187 of the Nemeth Code.) Examples are shown below.


Creating the Key

      The student manual for the Nemeth Code could cause confusion here. Dorothy Worthington, Chair of the Mathematics and Science Braille committee for the NBA addressed this in the NBA Bulletin in the fall of 2006. So rather than telling you the way it is in the student manual, I'm just going to give you her explanation.

      The key must be enclosed in transcriber's grouping symbols and must precede the material to which it applies. The key listing, arranged vertically or in columns, must be preceded and followed by a blank line. If possible, the key should be placed on the same page as the material to which it applies.

      So how does it look? Braille Formats Rule 1§7b requires that a transcriber's note begin in cell 7 with runovers in cell 5; so the word "Key," as the first word would be preceded by the opening TN symbol in cell 7 and any runovers would follow in cell 5. Then a blank line is inserted prior to the listed items, then the list. The last item in the list must be followed by the closing TN symbol and then a blank line.


Numeric Key:


            Key to points in the graphic below:


1 9b+4.5c = 36

2 15b+10c = 70


      ,',key 6po9ts 9 !

    graphic 2l3


#a #9b+4.5c .k #36

#b #15b+10c .k #70,'


Alphabetic Key:


            Key to points in the graphic below:


sl Stop light

ss Sitting at school

sz School zone


      ,',key 6po9ts 9 !

    graphic 2l3


sl ,/op li<t

ss ,sitt+ at s*ool

sz ,s*ool z"o,'


            For more information, Guidelines for Mathematical Diagrams published by BANA is available through the National Braille Association, www.nationalbraille.org.


            Mr. #'s








Times are tough — but you can help.


By using the form on the back of this newsletter and sending in your 2009 dues now you can save wisconsin braille a significant amount of money. Each letter that the membership chair has to send out reminding members to send in their dues costs the organization close to a dollar (stamp, paper, envelope, etc.) — money that could be better spent on our programs.



                                      Thank You






            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.