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Your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.

December 2009

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

Cover of Going and Doing, Building on Patterns, First Grade, Unit 2, Lessons 7-13

Read on to learn about these new products – now available!

Reader’s Digest Subscribers’ Alert

Since 1928, APH has provided Reader’s Digest® in braille at no charge to subscribers. For your information, the magazine recently decided to combine the December and January issues and to combine the June and July issues.

If you know of anyone, of any age, who is blind or visually impaired and would like a free subscription to Reader’s Digest in braille or on cassette, please ask them to call 800/223-1839 and ask for Magazine Services. Free subscriptions to Newsweek® on cassette are also available.

APH President Receives Award

APH President Tuck Tinsley holding the award

APH congratulates our President Dr. Tuck Tinsley who recently received the VisionServe Alliance 2009 Excellence In Leadership Award. This honor reflects his outstanding guidance and development of the American Printing House for the Blind. "His executive leadership there over more than 20 years has led to major growth and development, benefitting the entire industry," said Les Stocker, President of the Braille Institute.

The VisionServe Alliance is an organization made up of private not-for-profit agency executives. The mission of the alliance is to represent, network and advocate, focusing upon public policy, education, improvement of services and professional growth, for organizations that serve people with blindness or visual impairment and their clients.

Science Poster Feedback

APH is considering adapting commercially available classroom science posters to make them accessible to tactile readers. The posters, in their current presentation, are already ideal for low vision students. Each poster would be adapted with a permanently-affixed clear braille/tactile overlay. Posters under consideration include the human skeleton, eye, heart, ear, digestive system, skin, etc. For a full list of possibilities, visit

We would like to hear from Teachers of the Visually Impaired with regard to the following: 1) the need for tactile classroom science posters and 2) the types of posters most needed. Please email your thoughts/ideas/comments to Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, at email hidden; JavaScript is required by December 15. Thank you!

Field Evaluators Needed!

APH is working collaboratively with Quantum Simulations who has previously worked with us to develop, test, and bring to the classroom tutoring systems that are based on artificial intelligence (AI). APH is assisting Quantum Simulations with a new research endeavor by seeking field evaluators for the world’s first example of accessible AI-based software for mathematics education. We would like to ask for your help by reviewing this accessible prototype and giving them feedback. This involves using the prototype briefly and then completing an online survey. The entire review process takes only 15-20 minutes. This will provide much-needed information from the teachers of students who are blind and/or visually impaired which will inform project decisions. Your participation will help to ensure that the result is of the highest quality before the student evaluation phase of the project.

You can access the prototype at:

After using the software, please give us your feedback and suggestions by completing the survey at:

For more information on the educational technology used in this project, please visit

The current phase of the project specifically concerns screen reader use of the software. The next phase will add braille support (including Nemeth). The software is certified for use with JAWS and Window-Eyes.

If you would like additional information, including "quick start" instructions, and the philosophy behind the screen reader features, please contact Jeff Dittel at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Utah Teachers Function Well!

The National Instructional Partnerships

Forty teachers and other professionals were in attendance at a standing-room only National Instructional Partnerships (NIP) event held in Ogden, Utah, on November 5 and 6. The event, hosted by Ex Officio Trustee Melanie Austin and Carolyn Kwalleck-Johnson at the Utah School for the Blind, featured Dr. LaRhea Sanford providing two days of training on the APH Functional Vision/Learning Media Assessment (FVLMA). Teachers were trained on using the product to provide appropriate assessments, develop goals and strategies, provide cumulative information, and write relevant reports.

Members of the audience were active participants in the workshop, providing excellent feedback, sharing strategies and information with their peers, and asking questions that provoked a lot of thought and sparked great discussions!

NIP events are designed to highlight the use of APH products across the areas of the core curriculum and the expanded core curriculum. If you are interested in hosting such an event in your area, please contact Janie Blome, email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call 800-223-1839, ext. 367.

Surfin’ the Way to Literacy

The surf was up in Costa Mesa, California for the 9th biennial "Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference" on November 12-15, 2009. APH staff members were on hand to exhibit products, make presentations and tweet from general sessions! Products among the crowd favorites included the new Early Braille Trade Books, the first grade edition of Building on Patterns, and of course, the new Perkins APH Brailler. Karen Poppe, Loana Mason, and Jeanette Wicker made presentations on new and upcoming products, and Dr. Abraham Nemeth wowed the audience during his presentation at a luncheon celebrating the 200th birthday of Louis Braille. The Saturday night awards banquet ended on a beautiful note as we all learned to hula and play traditional Hawaiian rhythm instruments!

Congratulations to Mary Ann Siller, winner of the 2009 Holbrook-Humphries Award, and to Gordon Legge, winner of the 2009 Alan Koenig Research Award.

Kentucky’s 44th Annual Exceptional Children’s Conference

APH was pleased to exhibit during this conference held November 22-24 in Louisville, KY. Approximately 1500 attended this year’s conference with many stopping by the APH booth to examine the new products on display. Of particular interest were the All-In-One Board, Early Braille Trade Books, Word Play House, Jump Rope to Fitness Kit and the Azer’s Interactive Periodic Table Study Set. In addition to the APH booth, several APH literacy-related products were highlighted during a session presented by Dr. Betsy Flener, Kentucky School for the Blind Outreach Consultant.

Math Teachers Love the Geometro

Large Geometro Kit

More than 4,000 math teachers from around the region attended the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference and Exposition in Nashville, TN, November 18-20, and they loved the new APH Geometro! Geometro materials first appeared in an APH product in May of 2008 when MathBuilders, Unit 6: Geometry was introduced. In September 2009 Geometro Sets became available for sale in the APH catalog. Geometro materials provide hands-on experiences with manipulatives that aid in teaching 3-D geometry.

APH Field Services Representatives Cathy Johnson and Sandi Baker exhibited the Geometro and other APH products of interest including MathBuilders Units 1, 6 and 8, Stack-Ups, and the Transparent CCTV Rulers.

APH Departments on YouTube!

Check out this footage of the Accessible Tests and Accessible Textbook Departments getting ready for–and being involved in–the APH Annual Meeting. The Information Fair theme was "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee," hence, all the butterfly and bee references.

Here’s the link to a little APH fun:

New on the APH Website

  • Here are additional memories of our very special 2009 APH Annual Meeting, "Keys to Success." (Click on additional memories for an Annual Meeting photo album.)
  • Want to learn more about the Annual Meeting for Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests? Check out this new web page, from the Field Services site, that explains the event’s purpose, history, and offers photo memories from years gone by:
  • Take the new expanded virtual tour of the Hall and Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness field:

Special Visitors Drawn to Louisville

Two very special visitors from Japan were recently with us to learn more about our textbook processes and our NIMAC operation. On November 16, we enjoyed a day of exchange with Mayumi Sawada and Yoshihiro Tanaka, Senior Chief Researchers with the National Institute of Special Needs Education.

Rodger Miller, Yoshihiro Tanaka, Julia Myers, Mayumi Sawada, Nicole Gaines, Jane Thompson
Pictured from left to right: Rodger Miller, Yoshihiro Tanaka, Julia Myers, Mayumi Sawada, Nicole Gaines, Jane Thompson

Opportunity of a Lifetime: Earn Your Doctorate!
With a Specialization in the Education of Students who have a Sensory Impairment (Blind/Visually Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, or Deafblindness)

We are pleased to announce the funding of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The consortium consists of 24 universities with doctoral programs that have an emphasis in one or more of the three sensory impairment areas: blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, and deafblindness. For more information, contact Dr. Kathleen M. Huebner, NLCSD Project Director, Salus University, email hidden; JavaScript is required

Give a Gift of Independence this Holiday Season

photo of a gift-wrapped box

Thinking about giving fruitcakes as gifts again this year? Consider a charitable donation to APH, in lieu of a traditional holiday fruitcake. Your friends and family will thank you. For more information, please contact our Development Department at 888/295-2405.

Congratulations to Our Own Carol Tobe!

Carol Tobe and her book, History in the Making: The Story of the American Printing House for the Blind

Retired APH Museum Director Carol Tobe has taken top honors in the Southeastern Museums Conference Publication Competition for her book, History in the Making: The Story of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). The book was awarded "Gold" in the Corporate Design Category and "Best of Show" for the entire competition!

Welcome to APH!

Kristin Binkowski

We are pleased to announce that Kristin Binkowski has joined us as our new Director of Planned Giving. She was formerly Development Coordinator at the Muhammad Ali Center and is a 1999 graduate of Eastern Michigan University.

Carolyn Zierer

We welcome Carolyn Zierer (rhymes with "cheer") as our new Test Editor in the Accessible Tests Department. Carolyn received her M.A. in Elementary Education from Bellarmine University and is embarking on a new career after 27 years as an elementary teacher, assistant principal, and principal in Louisville (Kentucky).

Karen Marshall

We also welcome Karen Marshall as Purchasing Agent in the Purchasing Department. Karen, who earned her degree from New Hampshire’s Keene College, joins us after spending eleven years in corporate purchasing with Humana. Karen is primarily working with the staff of Materials Management and Production to make sure production plans are met at the lowest costs and quickest possible delivery.

Help Wanted!

Want to live in beautiful Louisville, Kentucky and work with the best people in the world? Check out the following links to a couple of exciting APH job opportunities.

Research Department
Model & Pattern Maker II

Communications Department
Website Associate

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


December 3, 2009
North Carolina Assistive Technology Expo;
North Raleigh, NC

December 4-5, 2009
NIP Event–Administering/Scoring the WJ III for Braille Readers;
Phoenix, AZ


January 27-30, 2010
ATIA 2010;
Orlando, FL


February 24-26, 2010
Celebrating Connections;
Charleston, WV

February 24-27, 2010
89th Annual EDA Convention (Eastern District Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance or AAHPERD);
Rye, NY

Fall Harvest Sale

APH Fall Harvest Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Fall Harvest Sale 2009, October 1 – December 31. As always, first come, first served.

EXTRA DISCOUNT! Handi-Cassette II Stereo Tape Recorder/Player

1-07085-00 — ON SALE: $135.00

Photo of the APH Handi-Cassette II

We are discontinuing the now-classic Handi-Cassette II — and we’re having a super sale as we say farewell to this widely used Talking-Book type recorder/player.

For a limited time, the U.S. Handi model will be available at 27% ($50) off of its original price. It was $185, now available for $135. This special sale runs from December 1, 2009 to February 28, 2010, or while supplies last.

The Handi-Cassette II is a very versatile machine: listen to Talking Books or commercial cassettes, as well as record tapes with this portable, walkabout unit.


  • Digital Pitch Control (DPC): Increase or decrease rate of listening without unpleasant change in voice pitch
  • Play and record on 2 or 4 tracks. Play and record at 1 7/8 inches per second or 15/16 ips (Talking Book speed)
  • Built in mono speaker and microphone, stereo playback through included headphones
  • Tactile symbols on controls and touch checking of tape movement
  • Power: wall outlet or included rechargeable batteries or regular AA batteries

Note: APH will continue to service the Handi-Cassette II for several years after it has been discontinued.

APH Holiday Gift Guide 2009

NOTE: To receive items prior to December 25, please place your order no later than Friday, December 11.

APH Weeks Before Christmas

by Michael McCarty (Fred’s Head)

‘Twas weeks before Christmas, Santa’s short on time,
"I need accessible gifts for those who are blind!"

He’s been watching the weather for snow and for ice.
He checks the time with his
talking ZeitGeist

"What can I do?" he pleads to his spouse.
"Dear, shop online at
American Printing House

"You know I forgot about the
shop APH site
It’ll sure come in handy on a night like tonight."

"I’ll grab my list and fire up the Mac,
Accessible gifts I’ll have in my sack."

Look at the books, what a selection!
I’ll pick this one from
Chrissy’s Collection

"I know one book I’ll sure be taking,
It’s a good one to read,
APH History in the Making

"For Bobby, Tommy, Missy and Sue,
I’ll make reading easier with the handy

"Sam wants
, that’s really nice,
I’ll add to his list APH’s
Talking GlowDice

"For those who aren’t technologically set,
I’ll have for them APH’s

"A netbook is cool for Betty and Christa.
I’m sure they could learn from
Verbal View of Vista

"John and Sally really like to stay fit!
To them I’ll give this cool
Fitness Kit

"Everyone knows the importance of braille.
Practice makes perfect with the
Compact Swing Cell

"Keep track of appointments and dates,
You can’t go wrong with
QuickBraille stylus and slate

"In the stockings this year, I’ll know what to hide,
APH’s redesigned
Signature Guide

"It looks like I’m done, man I’m so tired.
It’s back to my chair to relax by the fire."

Santa closes his eyes and starts to snore.
He’s glad he remembered

NEW! Early Braille Trade Books, Sunshine Kit 1

Contracted Braille Kit: 3-00201-00 — $275.00
Uncontracted Braille Kit: 3-00202-00 — $272.00
Contracted Braille Label Packs (labels only): 3-00201-CL — $96.00
Uncontracted Braille Label Packs (labels only): 3-00202-UL — $96.00

Finding the right book for young students is now easier!

The Early Braille Trade Books Project combines commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. This kit includes books, braille labels, and access to an interactive website, please visit:


  • Contracted or uncontracted braille labels
  • Match books to a student based on braille knowledge
  • The interactive website allows you to:
    • Search for books by genre, core curriculum, or expanded core curriculum
    • Access a book summary and activities designed for braille readers
    • Maintain a listing and percentage of contractions learned by each student — great for documentation at IEP meetings
    • Share or transfer student records to other teachers

Sunshine 1 Kit Includes

14 books, label packs, and a Quick Start Guide:

  • Along Comes Jake
  • Bread
  • The Cooking Pot
  • Mr. Grump
  • The Monkey Bridge
  • Noise
  • Nowhere and Nothing
  • Old Grizzly
  • Ratty-Tatty
  • The Seed
  • Spider, Spider
  • The Tiny Woman’s Closet
  • What Would You Like?
  • Where Are You Going, Aja Rose?

Notes: Customer applies the included braille labels. A user ID and password are required to access interactive website.

NEW! Flip-Over Concept Book: LINE PATHS

1-08831-00 — $50.00

Flip-Over Concept Book: LINE PATHS, closed
Flip-Over Concept Book: LINE PATHS, open

The first in a planned series of print/tactile books, uniquely designed by APH, that provides interactive and independent learning for young children as they build basic concepts and develop early tactile skills.

The format of Flip-Over Concept Books includes print and tactile panels that can be turned freely until the child finds adjacent panels that match each other, continue a line or pattern, complete a sequence, build an image, and so on.

With LINE PATHS, Introduce and practice:

  • Directional, spatial, and descriptive vocabulary such as curved, straight, zigzag, down, up, stair-step, wavy, diagonal, wide, narrow, etc.
  • Familiarization with many types of tactile lines that will later be encountered in tactile displays (graphs, maps, etc.)
  • Tactile discrimination and line-tracking
  • Visual discrimination and line-tracking

Continuous Line Path Worksheets are included to allow the child to practice tracking each line type, from start to finish, in a continuous motion before tracking across three separate panels.


  • Flip-Over Concept Book: LINE PATHS
  • Reader’s Guide (separate print and braille versions)
  • Two Line Path Worksheets

Note: The book utilizes a special binding that opens and closes, allowing teachers and parents to do the following:

  • Randomize/shuffle the panels within each stack to prevent the child from memorizing the exact location of the panel
  • Minimize the number of line paths presented in the book, if needed, for a younger child

Recommended ages: preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary grades.

Note: Flip-Over Concept Books ARE available with Quota funds.

NOW AVAILABLE SEPARATELY: Cordless PenTracker™ and Joystick Controller for MaximEyes Video Magnifier

Replacement Items:
Joystick Controller: 1-03914-01 — $299.00
PenTracker, Cordless: 1-03916-00 — $ 55.00

MaximEyes Video Magnifier Unit:
1-03915-01 — $3,495.00

ADDITIONAL FREIGHT AND INSURANCE CHARGE FOR MAXIMEYES UNIT: A $74.00 UPS shipping fee will be added to all orders shipping within the contiguous United States. All other shipments will include actual shipping rates based on the point of destination.

The recently upgraded MaximEyes Video Magnifier from EITAC Solutions Group is offered exclusively by APH. It offers access to printed materials, multimedia, as well as improved productivity. With up to 60X magnification, you are able to display an enlarged view of materials placed on the work surface. A new, larger 22-inch widescreen display provides a clear image for reading and writing.

The improved MaximEyes has a unique interface that uses a new joystick controller that replaces the mouse from the previous model. You can manipulate the optional camera in any direction, zoom in or out, or control any of the wide variety of features.

The included Cordless PenTracker and Joystick Controller are now available as separate replacement items.

Note: Video Magnifier, Warranty, PenTracker, Joystick Controller, and Freight & Insurance ARE all available with Quota funds.

MaximEyes™ and PenTracker™ are trademarked products of EITAC Solutions Group, LLC in West Lafayette, Indiana.

NEW RELEASE! First Grade Level, Unit 2
Building on Patterns (BOP): Primary Braille Literacy Program

BOP First Grade Level, Unit 2:
Print Kit (Teacher’s Materials in print): 8-78460-U2 — $135.00
Braille Kit (Teacher’s Materials in braille): 6-78460-U2 — $135.00

Replacement Items

  • Unit 2 Teacher’s Edition:
    • Print: 8-78461-U2 — $65.00
    • Braille: 6-78461-U2 — $65.00
  • Unit 2 Student Textbook: 6-78463-U2 — $17.00
  • Unit 2 Assessment Check-up Forms (print & braille): 8-78466-U2 — $16.00
  • Unit 2 Lesson Monitoring Sheets: 8-78463-U2 — $19.50
  • Unit 2 Worksheet Pack: 6-78464-U2 — $17.00

Related Product

BOP First Grade Level, Unit 1:
Print Kit (Teacher’s Materials in print): 8-78460-U1 — $135.00
Braille Kit (Teacher’s Materials in braille): 6-78460-U1 — $135.00

Cover of Going and Doing, Building on Patterns, First Grade, Unit 2, Lessons 7-13

Building on Patterns (BOP) is a complete primary literacy program designed to teach beginning braille users all language arts–reading, writing, and spelling.

Note: Building on Patterns: First Grade replaces Patterns Reading: Preprimer, Primer, and First Reader Levels. The remaining lesson units of Patterns First Grade (Units 3-7) and Unit 8 (Introductory and Supplemental Information) will be released during the 2010 school year.

The Building on Patterns series addresses phonemic awareness (ability to hear and interpret sounds in speech), phonics (the association of written symbols with the sounds they represent), comprehension, fluency, and oral vocabulary, all of which have been identified as important for reading instruction.

This program also addresses specific skill areas needed by the child who is blind, such as language development, sound discrimination, tactual discrimination, and concept development. Braille contractions are introduced from the beginning along with sound and letter associations.

Recommended ages: 6 to 7 years and up.

Prerequisite: Building on Patterns: Unit 1 or equivalent skills.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille (Quota funds can be used). Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow approximately 8 weeks for delivery.

Things Hoped For
by Andrew Clements: T-N1713-60 — $40.50
Seventeen-year-old violin prodigy Gwen lives with her ailing grandfather in Manhattan while attending a music academy on a scholarship. As Gwen prepares to audition for a prestigious college, her grandfather disappears. Fellow musician Robert–Bobby, from Things Not Seen–provides help and friendship. Fiction, Grades 6-9. *(AR Quiz #109163, BL 4.7, Pts. 6.0)

by Sonya Hartnett: T-N1694-40 — $51.50
As twenty-year-old Gabriel lies in bed dying, he recalls events shared with his two companions, his dog Surrender and the volatile Finnigan. Gabriel reflects on the death of his mentally challenged brother Vernon and the arson attacks in his hometown. Some violence. Fiction, Upper Grades. *(AR Quiz #106100, BL 4.9, Pts. 8.0)

The Hopes of Snakes: And Other Tales from the Urban Landscape
by Lisa Couturier: T-N1691-70 — $55.50
Celebrates the adaptation of heron, egret, Canada goose, coyote, peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, vulture, and crow to the urban landscapes of Washington, D.C., and New York City. In the title piece, the author reflects upon the non-venomous black rat snake before rescuing a six-foot-long one from a human crowd. Nonfiction, Upper Grades. *(AR #102564, BL 8.0, Pts. 10.0)

American Medical Association Guide to Living with Diabetes: Preventing and Treating Type 2 Diabetes
by American Medical Association: T-N1692-20 — $114.00
Lifestyle guidelines for people with Type 2 diabetes including diet, exercise, and personal care. Covers diagnosis, treatment, medication, alternative therapies, children, pregnancy, and complications.

Play Dirty
by Sandra Brown: T-N1734-00 — $140.50
FBI agent Aloysius Pendergast, from Dance of Death, languishes in prison for murders committed by his psychotic brother, Diogenes. Meanwhile, New York’s natural history museum unseals an Egyptian tomb, precipitating more killings. Aloysius escapes to confront his brother in a deadly showdown. Strong language and some violence. Adult Readers.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

APH News Credits

Dr. Tuck Tinsley

Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator

Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Sandi Baker, Field Services Representative, Field Services
  • Ralph Bartley, Director, Research
  • Kristin Binkowski, Planned Giving Director, Development
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Kerry Isham, Test Editor, Accessible Tests
  • Cathy Johnson, Field Services Representative, Field Services
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Michael McCarty, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Julia Myers, Director, Resource Services and NIMAC
  • Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, Research
  • Gwynn Stewart, Administrative Assistant, Communications
  • Monica Turner, Field Services Representative
  • Paul Zurkuhlen, Vice President, Development

Bob Brasher, Vice President, Advisory Services and Research

For additional recent APH News, click the following:

November Issue –
October Issue –
September Issue –

Archive of all previous issues –

The APH News is a monthly publication from the American Printing House for the Blind:
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206

Please share this web link or any items that appear in this publication with anyone who might benefit.

Thank you.

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