Future Reflections Convention Report 1997, Vol. 16 No. 3

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The Bridge to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child

A New NOPBC Publication

Barbara Cheadle, NOPBC President:

The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children is pleased to announce the availability of our first NOPBC publication: The Bridge to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child.

Co-authored by Carol Castellano and Dawn Kosman with illustrations by Lynne Cucco, this spiral-bound, easy-to-read, large-print book fills a much needed gap in literature for parents and classroom teachers of Braille students.

On another level, it is instructive that this book is co-authored by a parent of a blind child and by a Braille teacher of the visually impaired. Although everyone professes to believe in cooperation between parents and professionals, we are often sadly short of sound models to follow. The quality of this book is a testament to the good things that can happen when parents and teachers respect and value each other's unique perspective and talents.

Here now, is a description of the book from the NOPBC news release, and information about how to order it:

The Bridge to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child
by Carol Castellano and Dawn Kosman
Illustrations by Lynne Cucco
copyright 1997 National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
ISBN 1-885218-08-7
Cost: $12

Order from: National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. Make checks and money orders payable to NFB. VISA, DiscoverCard, and MasterCard are accepted. Orders by telephone taken after 12:30 p.m. EST. Call (410) 659-9314.

When her first child was three years old, The Bridge to Braille co-author Carol Castellano wondered how she would teach her daughter the alphabet. If her child had been sighted, she would have begun helping her recognize letters and numbers, but what was a parent to do when the child was blind? Castellano knew the importance of early literacy experiences for children, but could such experiences be translated into a meaningful form for a blind child?

When her daughter was in kindergarten at the local public school, new questions came up. How do you form capital letters in Braille? How do you write 2 + 2? The other children in the class, all of them sighted, had page after page of colorful work sheets which provided practice in reading readiness, counting, adding, and subtracting. Was there a way for a blind child to take part in all this learning?

Castellano began collecting answers for the questions that arose as she problem-solved with her daughter's classroom and Braille teachers. At last, she and Braille teacher Dawn Kosman put all the information together in a book, The Bridge to Braille:

Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child. Chapters like "Setting the Stage for Success," "Adapting Materials," "Doing Math in Braille," "Independence in the Classroom," and "Using Technology" show parents and teachers how to guide blind children from early literacy experiences all the way to full participation in the classroom. The book de-mystifies the education of blind children, the authors say, and enables parents and teachers to give ordinary help with schoolwork to children who happen to be blind.

The Bridge to Braille is published by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC), an organization dedicated to creating a climate of opportunity for blind children at home, in school, and in the community. A division of the National Federation of the Blind, NOPBC provides information, resources, and support to parents and teachers of blind children and fosters contact and partnership with blind adults. For further information contact:

Carol Castellano, 23 Alexander Avenue, Madison, New Jersey 07940, (201) 377-0976 or Barbara Cheadle, President, NOPBC, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. (410) 659-9314. E-mail:

[barcheadle@aol.com]

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