Braille Monitor                                                                                                           October 2004

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Braille Readers Are Leaders
Contest and Literacy Program
For Blind Youth and Prereaders

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest and Literacy Program is to help blind and visually impaired children become good Braille readers. Good readers have confidence in themselves and in their abilities to learn and to adapt to new situations throughout their lives. Furthermore, Braille literacy is one of the highest predictors of success in later life for blind students. It’s estimated that about eighty-five percent of blind and visually impaired people who are employed are Braille readers.

However, many parents and children do not know that Braille is a viable alternative to print or that Braille readers can be competitive with print readers. Too many blind children graduate from school with low expectations for themselves as readers. The Braille Readers Are Leaders program generates enthusiasm, raises expectations, and instills pride as children come to realize that reading Braille is fun and rewarding.

SPONSORS

The program is cosponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB).  Both organizations are affiliated divisions of the National Federation of the Blind.

SUPPORTERS

Corporate supporters of the program include the United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation, Nestlé USA, and Ty Inc. (makers of Beanie Babies).

 THE PROGRAM

The Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest and Literacy Program for Braille Readers and Prereaders has three components: a national contest for students K-twelve, a literacy program for prereaders, and a recognition program for schools for the blind. 

THE CONTEST

The Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest is a national contest for Braille students, kindergarten through twelfth grades. From November 1 to February 1, parents, teachers, or librarians help students keep track of the number of Braille pages they read of extracurricular material. All students receive recognition for their participation, and cash prizes and other awards are given to the top students in each category. Students who read five hundred or more Braille pages during the contest also get special Honor Roll ribbons.

SCHOOLS FOR THE BLIND

Residential or day schools for the blind that enroll a minimum number of students in the contest and in other ways promote Braille literacy and the Braille Readers Are Leaders program during the contest period receive special recognition. Each contestant from the participating school also receives a special prize.

PREREADERS PROGRAM

BRL Reading Pals is a non-competitive Braille literacy program for blind infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and older students with reading delays. The program has two goals: to expose families of blind and visually impaired children to Braille and to encourage parents (or other responsible adults) to read aloud to or with their children a minimum of fifteen minutes a day during the two-month program period from November 1, 2004, to January 1, 2005. 

Upon registering for BRL Reading Pals, parents receive a reading journal, a print-Braille children’s book, a BRL Reading Pal (a Beanie Baby stuffed animal), instructions about how to complete the program, resource information about sources of children’s print-Braille books, a Braille alphabet card, and other materials about Braille and reading to young children. At the conclusion of the program the parent and child receive a certificate of completion and a tactile coloring book or other prize they can share together. (Teachers or other adults, such as grandparents, may also register a child for this program. However, the adult must have regular and frequent opportunities to read aloud with the child.)

We know that it may not be possible to read together every day, but we set the goal high to demonstrate the importance of literacy and to encourage parents to reach for the stars.  Every family that registers and participates in the program to whatever extent possible will be recognized.  More important, they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have made a significant contribution to their children’s readiness to learn to read.

2004-2005 Braille Readers Are Leaders Program

[  ]  I request contest entry forms. I understand this is a contest for Braille reading students, kindergarten through twelfth grades (including students in un-graded programs). Please send me ______ entry form(s).  Dates: November 1, 2004 – February 1, 2005.

[  ] I wish to request BRL Reading Pals registration forms.  I understand this is a pre-Braille literacy program for blind and visually impaired pre-readers (babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and older children who are not yet independent readers). Please send me ________ registration forms. Dates: November 1, 2004–January 1, 2005.

Name _____________________________________________________________________

[ ] Parent    [ ] Teacher   [ ] Librarian    Other ___________

Address for receiving forms________________________________________________

City, State, Zip _________________________________________________________

The best way to contact me is by: ____________________________________________

email: ________________________________________________________________

Telephone: home______________  school/office_____________  cell ______________

(PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY)

For more information about these and other programs sponsored by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) or the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB), contact Barbara Cheadle, president, NOPBC, (410) 659-9314, ext. 2360; email: <Bcheadle@nfb.org>; or Nadine Jacobson, president, NAPUB, (952) 927-7694.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

NFB PLEDGE

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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