The Braille Monitor                                                                                       October 2002

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A young girl is pictured reading Braille.
Pictured here, is an efficient Braille reader. No skill is more important to the success of a blind child than learning to read Braille. That's why the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille jointly sponsor the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest each year. This year's forms are now available in quantity from the Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. You can also order copies by e-mail at <[email protected]>. The text of the contest form follows immediately in the Braille and recorded editions. It appears at the end of the print edition.


Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

20th Annual Contest for Blind Youth  *  2002 – 2003

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 Braille Readers Are Leaders contest is to encourage blind children to read more Braille. Good readers 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 too many blind children are graduating from our schools with 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

All blind or visually impaired Braille reading students in grades K-12 are eligible to enter the contest. Students may compete in one of these five categories: Print to Braille, grades K-1, 2-4, 5-8, or 9-12.

The Print to Braille Category is for former or current print readers in grades 2-12 who began learning and using Braille within the past two year.

The other four categories are for students who have been reading Braille all their lives or who have been Braille readers for more than two years.

Prizes for the Contest

First-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-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. First-place winners receive $100, second-place winners $75, third-place winners $50, and students who place fourth and fifth in each category $25. All contestants receive a Braille certificate and a ribbon.

The top ten contestants, regardless of category, who demonstrate the most improvement over their performance in the previous year's contest receive Most Improved Braille Reader awards of $30, a T-shirt, and a special certificate. To be considered for this award, the contestant must enter the contest for two consecutive years and cannot be a winner in the current contest or any previous one.

Schools for the Blind

In addition to the individual prizes, one or more specialized schools for the blind receive a cash prize of up to $250 for outstanding participation in the contest. See insert for more details.

Teacher Recognition

National recognition, a Braille Readers Are Leaders T-shirt, and a certificate is given to a teacher who has demonstrated excellence in the promotion of Braille literacy through support of the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest.

Join the Club

Special Club ribbons are awarded to those contestants who achieve the following levels of pages read:

500 + pages 500 Club yellow ribbon
1,000+ pages 1,000 Club green ribbon
4,000+ pages 4,000 Club orange ribbon
8,000+ pages 8,000 Club red ribbon
12,000+ pages 12,000 Club blue ribbon

The sponsors of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest realize that children may need frequent encouragement and recognition to achieve goals in reading. We hope that teachers and parents will use the Club ribbon recognition system to motivate students to strive for higher levels of reading proficiency each year.


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. Certificates, ribbons, and a winners' list will be mailed to contestants no later than the first week in May 2003.

Rules for the Contest

Winners will be chosen based on the number of Braille pages read. The completed contest entry form should be postmarked no later than February 15, 2003. (Please call or e-mail to request an extension of the deadline. See contact information below.) Contestants must submit with the entry form a print list of the materials and pages read. Entry forms without this list will be returned to the sender. See insert "Common Questions and Answers" for more details.

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, 2002, and February 1, 2003; (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
[email protected]

Contest Entry Form

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

November 1, 2002 to February 1, 2003

Grand total of pages read  _______________

Mail entry form after February 1, 2003 to Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230

Student’s Name_______________________________________________

Birthdate____/____/____ Age___ Grade____
Parent’s Name____________________

City_____________________________     State__________     ZIP_________
Phone H (____)____-______ W (___)____-_____

School Name______________________________
Phone _____________________
City____________________________ State_______________ ZIP_________

Anticipated date of last day of school _____________

Certifying Authority’s  Name _____________________________________________

Position: Parent   [   ]     Teacher   [   ]     Librarian   [   ]

City_________________________  State______________  ZIP___________
Phone H (___)_____-______ W (___)_____-______

Send certificate and ribbon to:
Student [   ]      School [   ]    Certifying Authority [   ]

YES  [   ]   NO   [   ]  Did you enter last year’s contest (2001-2002)?

Category: (Check only one)

[   ]   Beginning Print-to-Braille

This category is for former or current print readers who began to learn and use Braille after first grade and within the past two years. Please give month and year Braille instruction began:

[   ]   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   

Name of Student:_______________________________________________

Book title/Magazine article                              # of Pages


Please duplicate this page as needed                               

Total # of pages ____________________

To the best of my knowledge this student did read these Braille pages between the dates of November 1, 2002, and February 1, 2003.

Signature of Certifying Authority______________________________                        
Date ____________________

Common Questions

1. When do I mail in the contest form? Mail the completed form between February 1 and February 15, 2003.

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, but only if your certifying authority can verify that you read those pages.

4. Can I count Braille textbooks or other materials (encyclopedia articles, transcribed worksheets, etc.) I am required to read for school work? No.

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

6. Can I read the dictionary and count it? No. What about the Bible? Of course, but you must give a reference to the book(s) of the Bible you read (e.g. Proverbs, Matthew), and you must read and count whole pages.

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

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

9.  Can I count books that I read for the Accelerated Reading Program? 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-or-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 literature order form contact National Federation of the Blind, Materials Center, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (410) 659-9314, <[email protected]>.  You may also view the literature list on the NFB Web site at <>.

12.  Can I read the same book more than once?  Yes, but only up to three times and only if you are in the Print-to-Braille or K-1 categories. 

13. 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.

Schools for the Blind

2002 - 2003 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 $250 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.

[   ]  Yes.  Our school for the blind would like to be considered for the $250 cash award for outstanding participation in the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest.  Please send additional information and guidelines to:

Please print

School ___________________________________________________


City_______________________________ State ______ ZIP __________

E-mail _____________________________ Fax ______________________

Attention ________________________________________________

Total number of students enrolled in our school __________________________________

Total number of students learning Braille and/or print literacy skills ___________________

Name and title of person filling out this form ____________________________________

Signature ___________________________________________

Mail or fax to:
Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Fax: (410) 685

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