Future Reflections Winter/Spring 1998, Vol. 17 No. 1
Editor's Note: The first two letters are not, strictly speaking, Letters to the Editor. These letters, addressed to officers of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (I am President and Carol Castellano is Second Vice President), are typical of the enthusiastic response to the NOPBC publication, The Bridge to Braille.
February 26, 1998
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
Thank you so very much for your gift to the NATHHAN Learning Center. We, as a family, have particularly enjoyed The Bridge To Braille.
Sheela, our ten-year-old daughter who is blind, is presently learning Braille, although it has been a slow process due to general learning delays. She is so very excited to be finally reading letters herself. Several concepts still elude her when writing, but we feel these will dawn on her as she is continually typing and writing, using her Perkins Brailler.
We thank you for your support of NATHHAN. We continue to send folks with blind and visually impaired children your way, as we know we can count on you for positive support in their homeschooling efforts.
Tom and Sherry Bushnell
NATional cHallenged Homeschoolers Associated Network (NATHHAN)
5383 Alpine Road, S.E.
Olalla, WA 98359
March 3, 1998
c/o National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
Dear Mrs. Castellano,
I owe you a big apology! You sent me a copy of your lovely book The Bridge To Braille last summer, and I have never written to thank you. I want you to know how much I enjoy the book, and I did mention it in the latest issue of our newsletter DOTS for Braille Literacy, which I've enclosed.
There are so many positive things about this book! The format is easy to read, and the illustrations are very well done and helpful. You even included some of the more "obscure" things that parents don't always learn about, such as textbook format. I was also glad to see the excellent section of Braille math with well-chosen examples, and the positive discussion of the slate and stylus. I can see this book being useful not only to parents, but also to preschool and elementary school teachers who have blind children in their classes.
...I do a number of presentations for teachers and parents about Braille, and I have been sharing information about this book to these audiences and will continue to do so.
I wish you continued success with The Bridge To Braille, and thank you for sending it to me.
Frances Mary D'Andrea
Manager, National Literacy Program
American Foundation for the Blind
Editor's Note: The Bridge to Braille: Reading and School Success for the Young Blind Child may be purchased from the National Federation of the Blind for $12 (make checks payable to NFB). Send check and request to: National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
This next letter is from a teacher describing her experience with the recent Braille Readers are Leaders Contest co-sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille. It is heart-warming and encouraging to hear from a teacher who is successfully teaching Braille to a low-vision child who is switching from print to Braille. A formal report on the results of the 1997-1998 contest will be in the fall, 1998, issue. Contest forms for the upcoming contest (1998-1999) will be available from the National Federation of the Blind office by the first of July, 1998.
February 15, 1998
Barbara Cheadle, Editor
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all of the others who make the contest "Braille Readers Are Leaders" possible. This is a wonderful service to Braille students. I would like to describe my experience with the contest.
I enrolled a third grade student in the 1997 contest. It was the first time I had enrolled a student and the first time he had entered this contest. At the beginning of the contest he was still only so-so about reading Braille versus reading print. If I asked him, he probably would have asked for print just so he could look at the pictures.
At the beginning of the contest he was not reading Braille books at home at all. We started with a very small book that was only nine pages long. He reluctantly agreed. Gradually we added a book that he took home each day until he was taking about three books home each school day. Over the weekend he would take nine books home.
It took a little while but the improvement began to show. During the three months that he read for this contest I feel that he advanced through a half of a year of Braille instruction to perhaps close to a full year. By the end of the contest, he requested to read books. He asks to have a "reading day" where he will not be asked to write Braille but just to read stories. He even sneaks ahead of my lesson and reads the next story in the Patterns book.
Please continue to offer this contest to other young Braille readers. It has made a world of difference for this young reader and his family.