Summer vacation for high school and college students is winding down and back to school sales are advertised in emails and on TV. I cannot think of a better tool for blind students who read Braille than the book I ordered from National Braille Press recently, called “A Writer’s Companion: A Pocket Book of Homophones”.
We often sit struggling to find just the right word to describe feelings or situations in a piece of writing. In some cases, we are at a disadvantage when words that sound the same are spelled differently in certain contexts. Sighted students can readily look at a print dictionary or spell check in Microsoft Word with their dictionary or thesaurus, but these same tools have not always been available to blind students and writers. As a result, our writing may suffer from repetitive use of the same word or misuse of words in general.
When I received an email about this new book that covers homophones, I thought, “I am a competent speller and do not need this book.” But upon further consideration, I decided that no writer is ever perfect and one should always try to improve, even in areas we excel. In mid July, I ordered this book and it has opened a new world of word usage for me.
The afternoon I received it, I scanned its contents and dove in and found that this was more than a book about the correct spelling of words that sound alike. There are not only suggestions of transition phrases to use for starting sentences or changing thoughts, but a vast choice of words to describe big and small, feelings of anger or sadness, colors like brown and grey, and looks such as handsome or young.
As such, I keep this small paperback Braille book near my computer at all times and I often look at it when writing articles for this magazine. I like looking through it and seeing how many adjectives there are to describe different situations or sensations. When I am writing, I no longer have to sit and struggle as hard to find the right word.
A blind high school or college student will find this book invaluable and I really wish it was available when I was going through school. It will give them more confidence when writing term papers or essays in any subject. Improved writing will make a student’s papers stand out, giving them an added sense of self worth, not to mention better grades. It is enormously useful for budding blind writers, helping to enhance and improve the quality of their writing.
I do not know if this book is available in other accessible formats, but I am happy it is in Braille. I wish to thank everyone who thought of sponsoring and publishing this book
If you want more information about how to obtain this book or other books and publications from National Braille Press, go to www.nbp.org. You can also phone them at either 1-617-226-6160, or 1-800-548-7323 extension 520.
Have other Ziegler writers bought the book and found it useful?