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‘The Poppy Story’ in Braille!

13th December 2019

When the Poppyscotland Learning Team were asked in October 2019 by Karen Osterloh, a librarian at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, to help her make a braille copy of ‘The Poppy Story’ – our new illustrated picture book for readers 6 years and above – we were equally delighted to help and quite intrigued as to how Karen would make a braille copy of our new book. Of course we told her that we would be very happy to help and just to ask from us what she needed.

Karen said all she would require was a text-only version of ‘The Poppy Story’ book sent to her on a Microsoft Word document. So we quickly pieced together what she needed and sent it over.

How To Make a Braille Copy of A Book

We’ll let Karen pick up the story from here and tell you how she went about creating the braille version of ‘The Poppy Story’ book.

‘Our Transcription team often make braille versions of books for our pupils and they are fairly straight forward [to create] if the plain text version is available and the book is not too long!

The process for making a braille version of a book is:

  1. Scan the book and save as a Word document.
  2. Edit the text.
  3. Use Duxbury Braille Translator software to convert the text into electronic braille copy.
  4. Edit.
  5. Send to an embosser (special printer that prints the braille code onto braille paper) to produce brailled sheets.
  6. Bind into a book.
  7. Laminate cover and attach braille label. Made by ‘typing’ title onto adhesive transparent film using manual Perkins brailler.’

The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh have approximately 26 pupils and see a community in which blind and partially sighted people, including those who also have other disabilities, are fully included and lead fulfilling lives. Karen and her teaching colleagues empower those with a vision impairment to achieve their potential and a brighter future.

The Finished Version

Here is a photo Karen sent us of the finished braille version of ‘The Poppy Story’ book:

We think it looks super. Karen says that her school often creates braille versions of books upon request from teachers or pupils and that ‘The Poppy Story’ was no exception: it had been requested that week by the school’s History Teacher, to give to pupils to read in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

What Did The Pupils Think?

Karen was happy to report that one of the pupils, Bo (aged 8) had told her that he had really enjoyed reading ‘The Poppy Story’ and that it was good he hadn’t been held back from reading it.  He said he was also very moved and saddened by the story and hoped that there would never be a third world war.

Bo (aged 8) reading the braille version of ‘The Poppy Story’ book.

The Poppy Scotland Learning Team were also lucky enough to be sent some pictures of Bo and his fellow pupil Rebeka (age 12) visiting Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh during November, helping to make some poppies, and selling poppies in the Royal Blind School.

How To Make Your Website More Accessible

Learning more about Karen’s role at the Royal Blind School has helped us in the Poppyscotland Learning Team think more about how our learning resources could be made more accessible to those with a vision impairment.

I mentioned to Karen that we would be redesigning our Poppyscotland Learning website in the new year and with this in mind would she have any tips advice about how to make our website more accessible?

Karen, as always, was happy to help. Here are her five tips about how we – and everyone – could make their websites more accessible for those with a vision impairment:

‘1. Call Scotland’s website has lots of information on accessibility – [here is a link to their website] https://www.callscotland.org.uk/information/visual-impairment/

2. Have text equivalents for images.

3. Users with a vision impairment will probably use the keyboard to navigate so arranging the website with that in mind rather than for using a mouse is preferable.

4. Clear, high contrast text.

5. Descriptive titles for each page.’

To find out more about The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh please visit their website: Royal Blind