[nobe-l] FW: Feedback From A Blind Person.

Judy Jones sonshines59 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 2 14:56:47 UTC 2017

Below is the conversation I had with a Read Read representative, and I felt the exchange to be very positive.  The original link inthis e-mail series was to a link, and not that of the Read Read.  See below.





From: Judy Jones [mailto:sonshines59 at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 8:55 AM
To: 'Alex Tavares'
Subject: RE: Feedback From A Blind Person.


Thank you very much for your response.  I do hope you will quash that media outlet, or at least correct the thinking before it gets too far.  We, as blind people, are constantly taking responsibility in positively educating the public on a daily basis, and as a developer of a blindness product, this responsibility falls to you as well.


Your e-mail is very encouraging, and I am familiar with the sites you listed.


Thanks very much, again, for your quick and warm response.  I look forward to viewing the Read Read device at some point, and wish you the best success.


Judy Jones



From: Alex Tavares [mailto:thereadread at gmail.com] 
Sent: Friday, June 2, 2017 8:35 AM
To: Judy Jones
Subject: Re: Feedback From A Blind Person.


Hi Judy, 

Please feel free to share my response to your concerns. We want more blind educators to know that this device can help their students excel, but that we in no way wish to supplant braille teachers - we and all of our associated organizations are pushing to increase the number of braille teachers, and the achievement of all students.

The link you posted comes from a reporter who appears to have pieced together a report with his own ideas in mind - that media agency never contacted anyone on our team. As with any big announcement, there is bound to be low-quality media coverage on the internet, and this appears to be an example of that.

The only information that we have posted about the Read Read, aside from the information provided by the Kickstarter page and video, can be found at our website: https://www.thereadread.com/blog

We have also recorded a podcast interview with Blind Bargains, that should be released later today (Friday), as well as an interview with Cool Blind Tech that should be released in the coming weeks. We will be recording another interview with Blind Abilities that should be released in the near future.

The support of the community is important to us - we know that progress does not occur without community support.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Warm regards,



On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 11:27 PM, Judy Jones <sonshines59 at gmail.com> wrote:

Hello, Alex,


Thank you so much for such a prompt response to my e-mail.


I am glad to hear about the Read Read’s use for both sighted and blind students.  Even  though I have not laid hands on one, I can guess at its value as a teaching tool.  Quick feedback to training has always been known to be a good teaching method for students of all ages.


I first came across information on the Read Read on the Blind Educators list, and some on that list, like myself, had serious reservations after visiting this site




With your permission, I would like to forward your response to the Blind Educators list, and also to NFB President Marc Riccobono.


I would say, though, that you should have some control over what the media will do with this device, as a point of responsibility for proper product dissemination.


Thanks again for your e-mail, and I look forward to viewing the product myself.



Judy Jones


From: Alex Tavares [mailto:thereadread at gmail.com] 
Sent: Thursday, June 1, 2017 8:48 PM
To: Judy Jones
Subject: Re: Feedback From A Blind Person.


Hi Judy,

Thank you for your comments. I want you to know that we agree with you completely. The Read Read is a tool for helping all students practice the foundational skills of reading and phonics. We do not view the Read Read as a tool that will supplant teachers - in fact, all of the people in our Kickstarter video are either braille users or braille teachers themselves! 

Unfortunately, we cannot control what conclusions the press draws with limited background knowledge, and some headlines have come up that sensationalize and misrepresent our claims that the Read Read will allow students to practice braille independently. Their claims make it sound like the Read Read is meant to replace instructors. We want just the opposite - we want more braille teachers; not fewer! We have reached out to several such media outlets, and they have agreed to tone down their headlines.

We see the Read Read as a tool that will increase the accessibility of braille, and bring braille literacy to more children, as the rate-limiting step for braille literacy is the acquisition of the braille code, and its relation to phonetic spelling. In this way, braille teachers may help their students progress more quickly past the fundamentals, and get to the point where students are reading material that will enrich their studies and their lives. We want students to succeed, just like you.

Since the Read Read is designed to be used by all students, sighted students and students with low vision are able to use the Read Read in the same way as children who are blind. This collaboration has been incredible to witness - the Read Read is really breaking down barriers. The way that the Read Read allows students to independently practice using the same techniques that teachers use will improve learning for all kids; not just for kids who are blind.


The idea that "the Read Read can change the course of history for blind children" is a direct quote from Kate Crohan, a woman featured in the video who is an avid braille user and braille teacher at Perkins, who has been blind since birth. The Read Read was piloted in her classroom for twelve weeks, for six hours each week, with students who are blind as well as students who are blind and on the autism spectrum. She witnessed firsthand her students' self-guided engagement with the device's fun interface, and marveled that her student who had been unable to learn braille to that point learned the braille letters a-j in only 2 days, using the Read Read less than twenty minutes per day.

Cory Kadlik, a gentleman featured in the Kickstarter video, is the assistive technology specialist at the Perkins School for the Blind, and has also been blind since birth. In one conversation, Cory confided that he encounters all sorts of people who think they have come up with a new way to 'save' a group of people who don't need saving. Cory shared that he has been presented with myriad device ideas, many of which already exist, and many of which are useless. He remarked that in his time at Perkins, he hasn't come across a device that meets a need more perfectly than the Read Read.

We have poured our entire beings into making this device available to all kids. We appreciate your support in spreading the word among your friends and colleagues. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Warm regards,



On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 9:06 PM, Judy Jones <sonshines59 at gmail.com> wrote:



My name is Judy Jones.  I am a former school teacher in the public school system, and former rehab teacher.  I, myself, am blind, and have been a braille user all my life, due to retinopathy of prematurity.


I think this device can be a great tool to reinforce learning braille, but should never be a substitute for a human teacher.


My big question:  For any of you who have sighted children in the school system, would you feel your children are receiving quality reading training solely through the use of a device, because school districts have teacher shortages and don’t have the time, resources, or manpower to teach your children?  Would you call this quality education?  Would you put up with this for your sighted children?


I shudder to think how this device is to be marketed.  Again, I think the Read Read could be a valuable tool in braille literacy, but should not be touted as the be-all and end-all tool that will solve literacy issues for the blind.


First of all, young children will not have the discipline to automatically start out with this device and one day start reading fluently.  A teacher not only teaches braille, but instills discipline, monitors progress, answers questions, encourages and jokes with students when they don’t feel like learning that day.  A relationship develops that encourages students to work.


Over the years, I have seen products and ideas marketed that were claimed to be the total and wonderful final answer that would solve a certain problem for the blind.  Please do not fall into that myth with this tool, as great as it may be.  No product or idea, in and of itself is going the perfect answer, but one of many choices and combinations blind people should experience.


When the Optacon first arrived on the scene, it was believed then to be the device that would bring down the print barrier for the blind.  It is a great device, but has its drawbacks.  I am an optacon user, but can tell you that reading with one is slow, about 60 words per minute.  However, one can read things with it that today’s OCR technology can’t touch.


When the Kurzweil and similar programs came on the scene, the Optacon was summarily kicked to the curb for the much faster scanning software programs.  However, these, too, have their drawbacks.  The OCR is only as good as its program.  The program is giving its “best guess” as to what it sees, and many times, misses the mark completely.


Electronic GPS devices and apps, while they are great and fill a niche, cannot and do not replace a cane or dog guide and training.


I would love to try a Read Read device, since I am teaching braille, but use of the device should be kept in its place as one of many tools to be used by a teacher.


Thank you for considering my comments, as you move forward in marketing the Read Read.


Judy Jones



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