Phonics and spelling

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    Fred Van Ackeren

    Hi Cindi,

    Thank you for your previous help with this phonics book. Here is another page that needs some clarification. A pdf and a brf have been uploaded for you.

    1. At the top of each page you can see a topic for the page; I’ve included this as part of the main heading along with the lesson # at the bottom of the page. The part word sounds are uncontracted but since this is a phonics book should these be uncontracted? the confusing part is that in many places the directions are to underline letters that make up a sound. Formats 5.3.3.shows word endings uncontracted so I used that for a guide.
    2. in the 1st box everything is contracted like you suggested in the previous post.
    3. in the 2nd box under A I listed the words as shown with 2 spaces between each, contracted.
    4. the table has been changed to a list with the sounds uncontracted but the examples contracted.
    5. in B the emphasized (underline) word has been moved following the three choices. I’ve left 1 space between choices with 2 spaces before the answer to show that there is a break between choices and answer. (only 1 exercise shown in braille)

    Thanks for your help.


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    First let me say that some disagree with me regarding using contractions in phonics (sounds). Or when print states that "letters" need to be underlined. I've been told by several readers that contractions ARE letters...and so the contractions are just fine. I think BF is not specific enough about SOUNDS that letters represent.

    A couple things: I would recommend against keeping BOTH the bold and the underlining unless you really think they mean different things. BF and UEB both address the idea that transcriber's need to determine is there is meaning to both types of me it appears (from this one page) that the bold and the underlining represent the same thing and I would leave one of them off - it's pretty bulky with both 🙂

    Under A, you need a blank line preceding the box. The directions in A apply to more than just the box.

    Why did you change the table to a list? The directions specifically address the columns and if you make each column heading take two lines it easily fits across the page as it is in print.  BF states that keeping the print format for columns/tables is preferred....unless they won't fit.

    I argue with myself all the time when I do stuff like this. I almost think that Section 17 (Spelling) of BF should address letters rather than be so specific about spelling! The confusion, for me, is showing the letters (word parts) uncontracted and then showing the word just seems like they should be treated the same way.  As I said, people can (and will) argue for both ways. You just need to choose a way and then be consistent. I agree these are not spelling words...but we still need to be clear and consistent for the reader.

    Under B. the items under 1 are answer choices (leg, hand, chin) and should be listed vertically per BF 10.4.4 I would also leave the underlined word (chin) in the sentence (follow print). A TN could be inserted somewhere that the first one is done for the reader.

    This is hard stuff! Hope I've helped.


    Fred Van Ackeren

    Hi Cindi,

    Yes you've been very helpful.
    The double emphasis is kept because on many other pages only an underline is used so I kept both for distinction.

    About the letter sounds (ch, -tch, etc.) my first thought was which would require less work, uncontracting all instances of use or just contracting the letter sounds at the top and in directions. Then I thought that doing all of one or the other didn't seem correct either. I'm thinking of keeping the letter sounds at the top and in directions perhaps to aid the young reader, sorry! I forgot to tell you about the grade 4-6 levels, that might change things a bit. By keeping the letter sounds uncontracted would reinforce the understanding of the makeup and spelling of contractions used, since the author uses word "spell" quite often. Putting myself in the position of that young of an age I would find it very helpful as I had trouble spelling, consonants and such was confusing enough.

    Other corrections I've applied are: 1) space after A. box; 2) listed answer choices and removed blank lines; 3) added TN about 1st exercise.


    Fred Van Ackeren

    Good morning Cindi,

    In place of the double emphasis (bold and underline) mentioned in previous reply, could I use a TN and grouping signs? The words would then need to be contracted to avoid confusion with gh and ar contractions. I've uploaded a .brf as an example. Grouping signs might also work in those exercises where I've added a TN each time telling the reader which letters are circled. Just a thought.

    Also, I've uploaded another .brf about line numbers in stories. The number represents words read. I was unable to make a pdf of this page. Lines 15-16 are in question, when a line ends, there are 3 blank cells, in this case after "laps" which is followed by a short line of text that ends on the same braille line. I've made a note on the TN page that in such cases the 3 spaces are retained and the total number of words read are combined, in this case laps ends at 76 and the final word "swim" at a total of 79.

    and 1 final question on numbered lines--I've left braille lines 25 and 1 blank (where page numbers are). But if there are no line numbers on either, can text still be put here? I didn't include a sample of this as it seems pretty straightforward.

    I apologize for the many questions but the book is too large to upload.

    Thanks again for you assistance, Fred

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