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The Braille Monitor – October 2000 Edition


Braille Readers Are Leaders 2001 Contest


From the Editor: The time is here again to think about the NFB Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest for the coming year. The reading period is November 1 to February 1. The contest form can be found as a pull-out at the center of the print edition. For the information of readers of other editions, the text of the form immediately follows this article. Forms are also available from the NFB's Materials Center. You can get a form by faxing (410) 685-5653, calling the Materials Center at (410) 659-9314, or writing to the NFB at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

Many of us know firsthand how important encouragement to read Braille can be to young readers. The Missouri School for the Blind and contest coordinator and Braille teacher Patti Schonlau described how the school used the contest as the vehicle for even more benefits to the students than providing practice reading Braille. Last winter she wrote on the school's form that in 2000 the contest theme at the Missouri School was "Building Good Citizenship." She scanned and embossed eight books to serve as the framework for learning about good citizenship. Each student was given copies of the eight books: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr., The Story of Clara Barton, The Story of Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of Jackie Robinson, The Story of Marie Curie, The Story of Thomas Edison, The Story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and The Story of Sitting Bull.

In the group's bi-weekly parties the students studied these books as a stem to initiate discussion about what good citizenship really means. The group also enjoyed competent Braille users, blind guest speakers who demonstrate tremendous talent and good citizenship qualities in the community. Through this program the students strive to use Braille in their daily lives to become more independent, increase their general awareness, and satisfy their personal reading interests.

In short, the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest can serve participating students in many different ways. Take a minute to think about what you might do to encourage blind students in your area to take advantage of this exciting opportunity.


Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
18th Annual Contest for Blind Youth, 2000-2001

Sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille

Purpose of Contest

The purpose of the annual Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest is to encourage blind children to read more Braille. It is just as important for blind children to be literate as it is for other children. Good readers can have confidence in themselves and in their abilities to learn and to adapt to new situations throughout their lifetimes. Braille is a viable alternative to print, yet many blind children are graduating from our schools with poor Braille skills and low expectations for themselves as readers. They do not know that Braille readers can be competitive with print readers. This contest helps blind children realize that reading Braille is fun and rewarding.

Who Can Enter the Contest?

Blind school-age children from kindergarten through the twelfth grade are eligible to enter. The student competes in one of five categories.

The first category is the print-to-Braille beginning reader. This category is for former or current print readers who began to learn and use Braille within the past two years. This includes:

(1) formerly sighted children who became blind after they mastered print.

(2) partially sighted print readers who are learning Braille. (Kindergartners and first-graders are not eligible for the print-to- Braille category.)

The other categories are grades K-1, 2-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Students in ungraded programs should select the category which most closely matches the grade level of their peers.

Prizes for the Contest

First-, second-, and third-place winners are selected from each of the five categories. All winners receive a cash prize, a special certificate, and a distinctive NFB Braille Readers Are Leaders T-shirt. In each category first-place winners receive $75, second-place winners $50, and third- place winners $25. Students who place fourth and fifth in each category will receive Honorable Mention recognition and a special T-shirt. All contestants receive a Braille certificate and a ribbon for participating in the contest.

Awards are also given to the ten contestants, regardless of category, who demonstrate the most improvement over their performance in the previous year's contest.

To be considered for the Most Improved Braille Reader award, the contestant must enter the Contest for two consecutive years and cannot be a winner in the current Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest or any previous one. Winners of the Most Improved Braille Reader award receive $15 and a T-shirt.

Schools are encouraged to schedule public presentations of the certificates. Alternatively, presentations may be made in the classroom, at the local National Federation of the Blind chapter meeting, or in some other appropriate setting. Members of the National Federation of the Blind will award the certificates and other prizes whenever possible.

Schools for the Blind

In addition to the individual prizes, one or more specialized schools for the blind will receive a cash prize of up to $200 for outstanding participation in the contest. All of the schools for the blind with students participating in the contest will receive recognition in Future Reflections, the National Federation of the Blind magazine for parents and educators of blind children.

Teacher Recognition

Special recognition and a certificate will also be given to a teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the promotion of Braille literacy through support of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.

Rules for the Contest

Winners will be chosen based on the number of Braille pages read. The one who reads the largest number of Braille pages will be the first-place winner; the second largest will be the second-place winner; and so forth. The completed contest entry form should be received by the judges no later than February 15, 2001. Contestants must submit with the entry forms a print list of the materials read (see back of entry form). Entry forms without this list will be returned to the sender.

Certifying Authority

The certifying authority is responsible for (1) verifying that the student read the Braille material listed and that the material was read between November 1, 2000, and February 1, 2001; (2) filling out and sending in the contest entry form in an accurate, complete, and timely fashion; and (3) assisting the student in finding Braille materials to read for the contest.

Teachers, librarians, and parents may serve as certifying authorities. The certifying authority must be prepared to cooperate if the contest judges have questions or need additional information about an entry. All decisions of the judges are final.

For more information contact:

Mrs. Barbara Cheadle
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
(410) 659-9314, Ext. 360

Contest Entry Form

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest November 1, 2000 to February 1, 2001

Mail entry form after February 1, 2001 to:

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Grand total of pages read ______________

Student's Name _______________________________________________

Birth Date_____________ Age_________ Grade_______________


City__________________________ State____________________ ZIP____________


Parent's Name________________________ Phone: H____________ W__________

School Name_______________________________ Phone____________________

Address_________________________City________________ State_________ ZIP______

Certifying Authority Name Position:

Parent [ ] Teacher [ ] Librarian [ ]



City______________________________ State___________________ ZIP___________

Phone H________________ W___________________

Please send certificate and ribbon to:


Did you enter last year's contest (1999-2000)? YES [ ] NO [ ]

Please give month and year Braille instruction began:

Category: (Check only one)

[ ] Beginning Print-to-Braille This category is for print readers who began to learn and use Braille within the past two years. Kindergarten and First Grade children are not eligible for this category.

[ ] Kindergarten and First Grade

[ ] Second through Fourth Grades

[ ] Fifth through Eighth Grades [ ] Ninth through Twelfth Grades

If you should be a winner, what size T-shirt would you require?

(circle one)

Children's: S (6-8) M (10-12) L (14-16)

Adult: S (34-36) M (38-40) L (42-44) XL (46-48)

Name of Student:________________________________________

Book title/Magazine article # of Pages Total # of pages


To the best of my knowledge this student did read these Braille pages between the dates of November 1, 2000, and February 1, 2001.

Signature of Certifying Authority_________________________ Date______________

Common Questions

1. When do I mail in the contest form? Mail the completed form in between February 1 and February 15, 2001.

2. What if I didn't know about the contest until after it began? Can I still enter? Yes.

3. If I enter late, can I still count the Braille pages I have read since November 1? Yes, if your certifying authority will verify that you read those pages.

4. Can I count my Braille textbooks? No.

5. Can I count textbooks if they are not the textbooks I am now using for my regular class work? Yes.

6. What if I don't finish reading a book? Can I count the pages that I did read? Yes.

7. Can supplemental reading books to beginning reading series be counted for the contest? Yes.

8. What constitutes a Braille page? Each side of an embossed piece of paper is considered one page. If you read both sides, then you have read two pages. This is true even if there are only two Braille lines on one side.

9. Can I count title pages, tables of contents, Brailled descriptions of illustrations, etc? Yes.

10. I have to transcribe books for my beginning reader. Most of these books have only a few words on a page. If the print book has more pages than my Braille transcription, how do I count pages for the contest? For the purposes of this contest, the number of Braille pages counted per book should never be less than the number of print pages in that book. This is so even if the teacher has transcribed the entire book onto one Braille page. To avoid confusion, we suggest that the books be transcribed page-for- page, one Braille page for each print page, whenever possible.

11. I have trouble finding enough Braille material for my older students. Do you have any suggestions? Yes. The National Federation of the Blind has free Braille materials suitable for blind youth. To request the NFB Selected Literature for Blind Youth order form, call or write National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

12. Can I read the same book more than once? Yes, but up to three times only.

Schools for the Blind

2000 - 2001 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

Residential or specialized schools for the blind which promote the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest among their students are eligible to compete for a cash prize of up to $200 and national recognition for outstanding participation in the contest. No one criterion is used to determine which school or schools receive the cash award(s) and/or recognition. Factors that the judges consider in making this decision include:

* The percentage of the student body (total and academic) participating in the contest.

* Quality of material read by participating students.

* Total number of pages read by participating students.

* Improvement in quality and quantity of participation over a previous year's performance.

* Number of national winners.

* Creative ways in which the contest is used to promote Braille literacy and a love of reading among the participating students.

You can help your school get full consideration for the cash award and/or recognition by returning this form to Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.

Name of School___________________________________


City, State, ZIP_____________________________________

Total number of students enrolled:__________________________

Number of students enrolled in an academic program:_______________________

(Students who are learning to read and write in any medium.)

Number of students participating in this year's contest:________________________

School telephone number and other information you wish to provide: ________________

Signature and title ____________________________________________


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