Small yellow bumble bee flies between two pink flowers

The Braille Pals Buzz

Volume 4, Issue 3

What’s Buzzing with the NFB Braille Pals Team?

Jesse Hartle of Maryland, a blind father, reading a Braille book to his daughter.

Although March 2 was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the NFB, along with the rest of the country, celebrated Read Across America on March 1 to honor his contribution to children’s literature and to celebrate the importance of literacy for all. We received a number of great video submissions from Braille readers around the country.  Links to all of the videos can be found at We also received some fabulous pictures showcasing Braille readers reading in fun locations. Pictures submitted for Read Across America were posted on NFB Whozit’s Facebook page. The picture shown here is of Jesse Hartle of Maryland, a blind father, reading a Braille book to his almost-two-year-old daughter.

Do you have good pictures of you and your child reading Braille books? We are always looking for pictures of children and adults reading Braille and would welcome submissions from participants in the NFB Braille Reading Pals Club. You can send your pictures to Natalie Shaheen at [email protected], or submit them through the NFB Read Across America form, which will remain up throughout the year.

If you have any questions about Braille Reading Pals Club, please don’t hesitate to contact Tim Jones at [email protected], or (410) 659-9314, extension 2312.

Literacy Hints from the Hive

This month’s literacy hint from the hive focuses on numeracy—the understanding of numerical concepts.

Like traditional literacy, numeracy activities should be incorporated into a young child’s daily life. This is not hard to do since math is everywhere. There are numerous creative parents and teachers who have already come up with fun ways to teach children about numbers and other math concepts.With a few minor modifications the ideas developed for print readers will work fabulously for your budding Braille reader!

In case you are not familiar with how to write numbers in Braille, the picture below depicts how each numeral, zero to nine, is written in Braille and then how numbers with multiple digits are written. To create a number, the number sign (dots 3-4-5-6) is placed in front of the first ten letters of the alphabet. So, a number sign followed by a dot 1 (an “a”) represents the number 1. A number sign followed by a dot 1-2 (a “b”) represents the number 2. And the pattern continues.

Depiction of literary Braille numbers 0-9, 10, and 253

This is how we represent numbers in the literary Braille code. When your child begins learning numeracy concepts like subtraction, addition, fractions, and so on, the Nemeth Braille code, which is specifically for math, should be used.

The ideas about teaching numeracy to young children that are explained in the links below can be adapted by adding Braille numbers to the given material.

Talking Easter egg

Have you read an article or blog post about early literacy or Braille that you’ve found particularly useful? Share it with us so we can share it with others who read this newsletter.

Sweet Sweet Braille

To help ensure that there is an abundance of Braille in your house for your child to read and explore, we will be providing the text of a popular children’s book in Braille with each quarterly activity sheet. Some parents noted in our recent survey that they do not always have a Braille copy of the book that their child wants to read. Our hope is that by providing the Braille text of popular children’s books, which you likely have in your house or could obtain at the local public library, you and your child can read the books in which you are interested and your child can have access to the story in Braille. The spring quarterly activity sheet will include the Braille text for the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Do you and your child have a favorite book for which you have always wished you had the Braille text? We welcome book recommendations. But please know that we cannot guarantee each recommended book will be chosen as we can only produce one book each quarter. We hope you and your child will find this additional resource useful. If you have ideas about other ways the NFB could assist you in gaining access to Braille, please share them with us.

Braille Book Review

Green Eggs and Ham
By Dr. Seuss
Available from Seedlings

Everyone loves Dr. Seuss books—they are timeless classics. Green Eggs and Ham is full of fun rhymes and also contains a great message about trying new and different things. After reading this story with your child, have him or her write their own story about a food they don’t like but may someday change their mind about liking. You could also try the games mentioned in Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss Games. To adapt the green egg word chunk spinners, put a sheet of contact paper or sticker paper into a slate or Braille writer and write the appropriate letters or contractions in Braille. Then peel and stick the labels to the egg (on top of the print if you opted for the clear contact paper or next to the print if you opted for the sticker paper). You might also want to read the Green Eggs and Ham inspired, Seuss-style rhyme, Dale, Gale, and Their Braille Tale, which was written by participants in the NFB BELL seminar in late February.

Dale, Gale, and Their Braille Tale

I am Dale and I read Braille.
I am Gale. What is Braille?

Braille is dots, lots and lots.
Each dot has its special spot.

Why read Braille? inquires Gale.
I’d rather climb a mountain trail.

Dale, these dots are hard to see.
Large print is fine, so let me be.

I do not have vision, Gale.
That is why I must read Braille.

Would you read Braille here or there?
I could read Braille anywhere.

Oh dear Gale, I love my Braille.

Would you read it in a house?
Would you read it to a mouse?

I do read it in my house.
I do read it to my mouse.

Read the rest of the rhyme and download a Braille copy for your child on the NFB Read Across America Web page.

Buzzes and Tweets


The NFB has launched the Text2Give program, a fundraising effort focused on improving education and technology for blind Americans. The effort also supports other NFB initiatives. The Text2Give program enables anyone with a cellular telephone to give a $10 contribution by text message. The contributions will go to the NFB Imagination Fund, which supports the education, technology, and research projects of the NFB Jernigan Institute, as well as programs conducted by the fifty-two affiliates and over seven hundred local chapters of the Federation. The Imagination Fund supports a number of innovative programs. For example, some programs encourage blind youth to participate in scientific careers, while others help senior citizens adjust to vision loss. By encouraging friends, family, and others to text the word NFB to 85944, you can help raise critical funds for NFB programs at the local, state, and national level.

Follow @NFB_Voice on Twitter to get news and information from the National Federation of the Blind.

Follow @BrailleLiteracy on Twitter to get timely Braille news, information, and tips.

Become a friend of NFB Whozit on Facebook to stay current with all the new things happening at the NFB Jernigan Institute.

Books for Busy Bees

Sighted children have access to print books all around them. It is important to offer our blind children the same exposure. Here are several sources for obtaining Braille books:

The Braille Storybook Resources page has a comprehensive list of sources for Braille books.

NFB ShareBraille is a free service that facilitates the exchange of Braille books through a community-run library. Go online to trade your Braille books or to request books from other NFB ShareBraille users.

The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF) Each year the AAF breaks new ground by offering fresh and interesting titles and series that are sometimes overlooked in the Braille community. This year we are continuing the Step Into Reading: Step 3 series with books about history, friendship, giants, and transportation. Learn about everything from Francis Scott Key to trains to how to help the Earth in this easy-to-read series.

For our older readers we have a series of award-winning books entitled Club CSI. These titles are very popular with teachers, librarians, and students of all ages. Each book is a new mystery waiting to be solved. Can you solve the crime before the members of Club CSI? For more information about this program please contact:

American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF)
Free Braille Books Program
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2287
Fax (410) 659-5129
E-mail: [email protected]

The National Federation of the Blind Independence Market offers blindness-related literature, resources, and products as a service to individuals who are blind or experiencing vision loss, to their friends and families, and to the general public. For more information please contact:

NFB Independence Market
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2216
Fax: (410) 685-2340
E-mail: [email protected]

The Braille Reading Pals Club is sponsored in part by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF). For more information please contact:

NFB Braille Reading Pals Club
Jernigan Institute, National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2312
Fax: (410) 659-5129
E-mail: [email protected]
Visit us at

Please send an email to [email protected] to update contact information for the 2013 program.