New Books Announced for Book Club

The three groups of our Book Club are delighted to announce their next reads, beginning in September:

  • Beginners: Paddington Turns Detective and Other Funny Stories, by Michael Bond
    Available in grades 1 and 2 and in double line spacing from the RNIB Library
    Found in the “Children Stories 1” and “Children G1” folders of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card
  • Intermediate: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
    Available in grade 2, single line spacing from the RNIB Library
    Found in the “Classic” folder of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card (grade 2 only, note the title is written in words (beginning with “n”) and not in figures)
  • Advanced: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, by Phaedra Patrick
    Available in grade 2, single line spacing from the RNIB Library
    Found in the “Humorous Fiction” folder of the RNIB Orbit Reader SD card (grade 2 only)

Are you interested in reading any of these books? If so, come along to the Book Club from September (more details in the next newsletter) and, in the meantime, if you need a hard copy, call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999 to order one from the Library!

Media Page and Newsletter Archive Updated

Just in time for the holidays, we’re delighted to announce that all of our Masterclasses in the “Braille for Academic and Career Development” series have now been transcribed. We also have handouts for some of our more recent Masterclasses. All of these have been added to our Media page and we will continue to add resources as they are made available to us.

We have also brought our Newsletter Archive up-to-date.

An Introduction to Grade 3, Tuesday at 7:30 PM

Most of us know about grade 2, of course, with its 180 contractions designed to make braille quicker to read and write and occupy less space.

Grade 3 extends this concept still further with over 300 additional contractions, rules to allow vowells to be omitted, and provisions for reducing spaces and new lines. Whilst it’s not an officially recognised code, it has a loyal following amongst long-time braillists, who have used it very successfully to take shorthand notes or transcribe passages of text for reading aloud. It’s especially useful in conjunction with a hand frame or slate and stylus.

James Bowden will be leading the session, taking place on Tuesday 20 July at 7:30 PM. Whilst he won’t be able to cover all of the 300+ contractions in an hour, he’ll explain the concepts used to form them, introduce some of the most useful ones and the rules which govern their use, and signpost to resources with more information.

A handout will be made available after the session, but if you’d like to follow along live, you are encouraged to have a means of writing braille to hand, such as a slate and stylus or Perkins brailler. If you’d like a free slate and stylus and you live in the UK or Ireland, please email your address to [email protected] and we’ll gladly send one out to you.

Grade 3 is not easily back-translatable, so if you wish to follow along on a braille notetaker, please ensure that braille translation is disabled or set to computer braille (preferably US). If your notetaker has a B RF editor, you are strongly encouraged to use this. You could also use Perky Duck or BrailleZephyr on your computer.

The pace of the session is likely to be quite brisk, but it will be recorded and made available via our Media page or our Braillecast podcast within a week of the live session taking place so you can review it in your own time.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday at 7:30 PM. If you haven’t already registered for our Masterclasses, please use this link:

Reminder: Summer Break

We’d like to gently remind you that there are now only three more weeks of events until our summer break. We will finish with the Book Club on Thursday 29 July and restart with the Book Club on Thursday 2 September. We will not be checking emails or running events during this period, but you are welcome to continue to use the Forum and listen to Braillecast.

JAWS and Braille: a Closer Look

In our session on “Using Braille on Windows” back in January, we introduced you to the basics of making a braille display work with various screen readers. On Tuesday, we’ll be taking this to the next level in the first of an occasional series of Masterclasses looking at the braille settings of a particular screen reader.

This time it’s JAWS. There are lots of settings and we won’t be able to cover all of them in an hour, so instead we’ll be reviewing some of the most common questions we’re asked, finding the settings that relate to them, and explaining what they do.

We’ll be covering:

  • Adding and selecting your braille display
  • Choosing your braille code and grade
  • Status cells and their use in structured mode
  • Reversing panning buttons and panning by paragraph
  • Using JAWS Braille In ™

If you’ve registered for our second series of Masterclasses (from April onwards), you don’t need to register again. You will receive a separate email with joining information before the session starts. Otherwise, to register for our session on braille and JAWS, please use this link:

We’re Taking a Summer Break

Hosting our online events continues to be an enormous pleasure, and we’re overwhelmed by the response to them from the community. We’re particularly excited by the possibilities which have opened up thanks to our latest grant from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

We’ll start working on this in earnest from September. To allow us to recharge our batteries before then, we will be taking a break during the entire month of August. Our last event before this will be the Book Club on Thursday 29 July.

During the break, our Forum will continue to operate, alongside the closed Google Group that we run for regular attendees of the Book Club. We will also continue to publish new episodes of our Braillecast podcast, using material that we recorded earlier in the year but have not yet had the opportunity to publish. However, our Help mailbox will not be monitored and no events will take place.

We will re-open where we left off, with the Book Club on Thursday 2 September.

The last newsletter prior to the break will be published on Friday 23 July, after which you will not receive further newsletters until Friday 3 September. Regular attendees of the Book Club will receive a reminder about the session on 2 September via the Google Group in the usual way.

We hope you have a relaxing summer.