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Learning Uncontracted Braille


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Major Goals


There are two major goals for this course: to learn uncontracted Braille; and to, learn how to use technology to further the learning experience.


Learning Uncontracted Braille is the precursor to the learning of Contracted Braille. Uncontracted Braille is the basic Braille code where the alphabet and numbers and basic punctuation are all that is needed. Words are written letter for letter to correspond to the print Roman Alphabet. This form of the code has been used to label things, to take simple notes and to serve as a basis for learning Contracted Braille.


Contracted Braille, the code in which most books are transcribed, is a form of shorthand. There are symbols for letter combinations, whole words and there are also short-form words. For example, there are symbols for th gh ar er and ed; there are symbols for and, for, and the; each letter of the alphabet stands for a word; and short-form words like tn for tonight, tm for tomorrow, brl for Braille, etc. Learning this more advanced code can take up to a year or more.


the first major goal of this curriculum is to learn the Braille code for Uncontracted Braille. This should take two to four months on average.


However, with the advent of paperless Braille, and especially the newest technology as exhibited by the Orbit Braille Reader/writer, it is now possible to read longer documents and to write them as well, using Uncontracted Braille. this is because a document is no longer restricted to what can be transcribed to paper. Therefore, one can display a book or any other document in Uncontracted Braille on the Orbit Reader and one need not learn Contracted Braille. The second major goal of this curriculum is to learn the operation of the Orbit Reader and to use it as a reader/writer.




Materials Used in this course


In order to benefit from this curriculum, a list of materials is used to accomplish both major goals. These materials are as follows:


  • Illinois Braille Series 1992 Volume One, the text book. this volume covers the alphabet, numbers, and basic punctuation.
  • A wooden peg board with pegs, available from the Braille Book Store
  • Orbit Reader 20, Available from APH
  • A 8GB or 16GB SDHC card for the reader.
  • Supplementary documents or books at the discretion of the teacher
  • A Dymo-Tape Labeler
  • A full-page slate and stylus (optional)


First Lesson



the first lesson in this curriculum is the one which sets the pattern for all the rest of the lessons. Therefore, it is rendered here in detail.


Major Concept 1Braille is a code not a language. this concept should be covered as the first part of Lesson 1. Talk about the differences between codes and languages. Student will thoroughly understand this concept before proceeding; measurable through conversation.


Major Concept 2 The second major concept is that Braille is a code with a pattern to it. the first ten letters are the base line, using the top four dots in the cell: 1, 2, 4, and 5. The second ten letters add dot 3 to each letter. The last six letters add dots 3 and 6, except for the letter w. Talk about why this is so; there is no w in French.


Use the peg board to show each of the five letters, a through e. Then, use the text book to illustrate the patterns in the right size, having student read the first page and the second page of the book.


Writing the letters a through e


Show the student the Orbit Reader. Help him to familiarize himself with the various buttons so that he can produce Braille containing the letters a through e. this may take more than one session. However, the simplicity of the Orbit Reader should lend itself to lessons for the beginning Braille Reader. Student will show competency by turning on the machine, finding the first document and correcting any mistakes which have been made in the homework given.



This completes Lesson One and therefore, is the model for subsequent lessons. What writing assignments and what readings are given depends on the teacher and the student. this is only a rough outline of an actual lesson and should be modified to fit the needs of each student..



Labeling and using the slate


The Student should be shown the Braille Labeler at some point during these lessons and be taught to use it. This will help to increase facility with reading and writing.


The use of the full-page Slate is optional. It should be taught if the student is learning well, and he has little or no difficulty with the patterns of Braille. It can be taught if there is no possibility of getting an Orbit Reader. Slates of other sizes may be used, but the Full-Page Slate is the most efficient for Brailling sentences and so on.




Ann K. Parsons, tutor, CEO

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