Braille Readers Are Leaders 2012-2013
4th Annual Contest for Blind Adults

General Contest Information
Important Dates
Breaking Down the Contest
Prizes
Rules For the Contest
Recording Your Reading
Common Questions
Contact Us

General Contest Information

SPONSORS: National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB)
National Federation of the Blind (NFB) Jernigan Institute

PURPOSE: To promote the joy of reading for pleasure, to promote a pride in Braille as a viable literacy medium equal to print, and to demonstrate the importance of independent reading in the development of Braille literacy skills.

ELIGIBILITY: Blind and low vision Braille-reading individuals 18 years of age or older who are no longer enrolled in compulsory educational programming in the United States and Canada are eligible to compete in the contest.

REGISTRATION: Registration is open from October 1, 2012, through the end of the contest (January 4, 2013). Registration is available online, or may be mailed and/or faxed to:


National Federation of the Blind
Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Fax: (410) 659-5129
E-mail: BrailleReadersAreLeaders@nfb.org

Important Dates

  • October 1, 2012: Registration for the contest opens and continues until the end of the contest.
  • November 1, 2012: Contest begins and participants start tracking their reading.
  • January 4, 2013: Louis Braille’s birthday marks the end of the contest and the last day participants can count their pages.
  • January 18, 2013: All final entry documentation for the regular contest and the Team of the Year Awards must be submitted to the NFB Jernigan Institute by midnight. This includes reading logs, letters of nomination, and final entry forms.
  • March 2013: Prizes are mailed out. NOTE: Prizes will be mailed “free matter for the blind,” and thus delivery of packages may be delayed and arrival times may vary greatly depending on the package’s destination.

Breaking Down the Contest

  1. Regular Contest: Everyone participates in the main contest where contestants compete against peers in their same category to read the most Braille pages during the two-month reading period. There are five categories in the regular competition: beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert, and sighted. Participants in the beginner category read uncontracted Braille only, or read contracted Braille at a rate of 80 or fewer words per minute (wpm). Participants in the intermediate category read contracted Braille at a rate of 80-160 wpm. Those in the advanced category read contracted Braille at a rate of 160-220 wpm. Individuals who qualify for the expert category read over 221 wpm. Sighted participants qualify for the sighted category.

    NOTE: To determine your reading speed, pick a Braille passage and read over it once casually. Set a timer for one minute. Start the timer and begin to read. When the timer sounds mark your spot. Go back and count how many words you read. Any word in the English language counts as a “word” in this test. So, the word “a” counts as one and the word “knowledge” counts as one even though it is only one character in contracted Braille. So, if you read the sentence, “Sally and Bob are coming home from a long trip,” you read ten words. Repeat this one-minute test three times with the same passage. Add your scores up and divide by three to get your average.  Use this number to determine which category is appropriate for you.
  2. Leader Board: Throughout the two-month reading period participants have the opportunity to update their “pages read” at www.nfb.org/BRAL as often as they wish for a chance to get their name on the Leader Board. The Leader Board will be updated at four secret dates throughout the contest.
  3. Braille Readers Are Leaders Team of the Year Award: Participants may opt to compete as a member of a team in addition to competing in the regular contest as an individual. The Braille Readers Are Leaders Team of the Year Award is given to the team that demonstrates the best combination of the following: number of pages read, team spirit, and incorporation of readers at all levels. A team may consist of as many as five and as few as two participants. Teams may demonstrate team spirit in any of the following ways: keeping a blog to encourage each other; creating a Facebook group in which members discuss their progress; creating a Twitter account for the team through which the team announces its progress; announcing team progress at NFB chapter meetings; holding a “read-a-thon”; or any other creative means. All members of a given team must participate in the regular competition. All teams must comply with the same registration regulations as individual participants. Teams will submit an additional registration form and an essay detailing their team work throughout the contest.

Prizes

EVERYONE:

  • Certificate of Participation
  • T-Shirt

TOP READERS:

  • Wooden Medallion: awarded to participants whose names appear on the Leader Board during the two-month reading period
    Cash:
    • To encourage novice Braille readers, contestants in the beginner category will have multiple opportunities to win. The top three contestants in the beginner category will each receive a cash prize. The beginner who places first will receive a $50 cash prize. The second and third place beginners will each receive a $25 cash prize. Beginners who finish in fourth through tenth place will be entered into a beginner drawing for a $50 cash prize. The top ten contestants in the beginner category will be entered into the grand prize drawing as well.
    • Contestants in the four other categories have an opportunity to win cash prizes too! The three participants in each category (intermediate, advanced, expert, and sighted) who read the highest number of pages will be entered in two drawings (a category drawing and a grand prize drawing). The winner of the drawing in each category will receive $50 cash (a total of four winners). The twenty-two (ten beginner, three intermediate, three advanced, three expert, and three sighted) contestants entered in the grand prize drawing have a chance to win $100 cash. Note: Employees of the National Federation of the Blind are welcome to participate in this contest but they are not eligible to receive any prize money.

TEAMS:

  • Plaque: A plaque will be given to the team that wins the Team of the Year Award
  • National Recognition: The team that wins the Team of the Year Award will become the spokes-team for next year’s contest.

Rules for the Contest

  • Contestants must meet the eligibility criteria.
  • All materials read for the contest must meet the contest criteria for acceptable materials (see below).
  • All materials must be read from November 1, 2012, through January 4, 2013.
  • Incomplete information on the registration and entry forms may disqualify a contestant for prizes or awards.
  • All decisions of the judges are final.

Interviews: The contestant may be contacted for an interview if the contest judges have questions or need additional information about an entry. Judges may, based upon the information available to them, adjust the number of pages or disqualify a contestant. All decisions of the judges are final.


Reading Material Guidelines

The overall purpose is to encourage extracurricular reading for pleasure, so the following lists of acceptable and unacceptable contest reading materials follow this general guideline. 

Acceptable—recreational reading. All material must have identifiable source information that can be checked for verification, such as author, publisher, or sponsoring organization.

  • Books: fiction or nonfiction, hardback or paperback, Braille only or print-and-Braille format, mass-produced or individually transcribed
  • Magazines
  • Stand-alone articles or tracts with identifiable authors and/or publishers; for example, NFB Braille literature (such as banquet speeches), or reprints of articles that originally appeared in the Braille Monitor
  • Manuals for club activities
  • Religious publications: portions of the Bible, Koran, Torah, Sunday school lessons, meditations, etc.

Not Acceptable—materials required for work, reference materials, and other reading material not designed to be read in its entirety.

  • Textbooks and related materials assigned as required reading in a post-secondary educational setting
  • Reading required by one’s employer
  • Dictionary
  • Encyclopedia
  • Menus
  • Cookbooks
  • Personal communication
  • Items without identifiable source information that can be checked for verification; such as author, publisher, or sponsoring organization

Recording Your Reading

Visit www.nfb.org/BRAL and download the official Braille Readers Are Leaders Reading Log. The reading log is available in two file formats: Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The reading logs in Excel and Word formats are designed to be completed electronically. Hard copy Braille reading logs can be obtained by calling 410-659-9314 extension 2312.

After downloading the reading log please rename the file according to the following rule: “BRALA_last name_first name_readinglog.” For example, a reading log for the contestant Bob Smith would have a file name of “BRALA_Smith_Bob_readinglog.” By renaming your reading log you aid the judges in identifying your reading log after you upload it at the end of the contest.

To receive full credit for the pages read during the contest it is crucial that the material read is recorded accurately. Before the contest begins, look over the reading log and instructions to ensure that you understand what information you will be required to provide.

FILLING OUT YOUR READING LOG

This information will be clearer if you reference the reading log while reading the instructions.

Excel Reading Log

The spreadsheet will be referenced by columns, as explained here:

  1. Reading Material Citation columns: Provide the title and author for all material. In addition, please provide the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) if it is available. This ten- or thirteen-digit number aids us in tracking down books and verifying their page length. In Braille books, the ISBN is generally listed in the first few pages of the book with the other bibliographical information. (We are aware that some Braille books do not have ISBN’s; if you cannot find the ISBN for a book you may leave this field blank)
  2. Material Transcribed by columns: Please tell us where you acquired the Braille reading material from.
    1. Bookshare: If you downloaded a .brf file from www.Bookshare.org, please place an “x” in the “Bookshare” column for that entry.
    2. WEB-BRAILLE: If you downloaded a .brf file of a book transcribed by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at www.loc.gov/nls, please place an “x” in the “WEB-BRAILLE” column for that entry.
    3. Home: If the material was transcribed at the contestant's home, please place an “x” in the “Home” column for that entry.
    4. Agency: If you received the material in hard copy Braille from an organization/agency please place an “x” in the “agency” column for that entry.
  3. Type of Material columns: Place an “x” in the appropriate column identifying whether the material read was a book, magazine, article, or other.
  4. Did the Contestant Complete this Book? column: Please indicate if the contestant completed the book with a "yes" or "no."
  5. Date Completed or Stopped Reading column: Please indicate the date the contestant completed the book or stopped reading the book. If the contestant begins a book, takes a break from reading it, and then picks the book back up to finish it you only need to record the final date.
  6. Pages Read columns: We are interested in the total number of pages read by the contestant in each entry during the contest. Record the number of Braille pages read in the book. (See the Common Questions section of the Contest rules for more details.) If the contestant only read 200 pages of a 400-page book then you should record “200” in the “pages read” column.
  7. Notes columns: The last page of the spreadsheet provides a space where you can supply any other relevant information about an entry. Please list the entry number to which each note pertains.

Switching Sheets within a Workbook: If you are using the Excel format reading log you may need to switch between the “Instructions" sheet and the “Reading Log" sheet. There are two ways to do this. In the bottom left corner of the window you should see two tabs, “Instructions” and “Reading Log”; click on the sheet you want to view. Alternatively you can navigate between sheets by pushing Control and Page-Up or Control and Page-Down.


Word Reading Log

Please provide as much information as possible for each entry in your reading log.

  1. Material Title: Please provide the title of the book, magazine, etc.
  2. Author: Please list the author.
  3. ISBN (if available): This ten- or thirteen-digit number aids us in tracking down books and verifying their page length. In Braille books, the ISBN is generally listed in the first few pages of the book with the other bibliographical information. (We are aware that some Braille books do not have ISBN’s; if you cannot find the ISBN for a book you may leave this field blank)
  4. Material Transcribed by: Please tell us where you acquired the Braille reading material:
    1. Bookshare: If you downloaded a .brf file from www.Bookshare.org, please place an “x” next to “Bookshare.”
    2. WEB-BRAILLE: If you downloaded a .brf file of a book transcribed by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at www.loc.gov/nls, please place an “x” next to “WEB-BRAILLE” for that entry.
    3. Home: If the material was at the contestant's home on hand, please place an “x” next to “Home” for that entry.
    4. Agency: If you received the material in hard copy Braille from an organization/agency, please place an “x” next to “Agency” for that entry.
  5. Type of material: Place an “x” next to the appropriate choice identifying whether the material read was a book, magazine, article, or other.
  6. Did the Contestant Complete this Book?  Please indicate if the contestant completed the book with a "yes" or "no."
  7. Date Completed or Stopped Reading: Please indicate the date the contestant completed the book or stopped reading the book. If the contestant begins a book, takes a break from reading it, and then picks the book back up to finish it, you only need to record the final date.
  8. Number of Pages: Record the number of Braille pages read in the book. If the contestant only read 200 pages of a 400-page book then you should record “200” next to “Number of Pages.”
  9. Notes: Space is provided for you to supply any other relevant information about an entry.

Hard Copy vs. Electronic Reading Logs: We encourage you to fill out the reading log electronically. Electronic logs can be uploaded to the Web site at the end of the contest, which will save you time. If you prefer to keep a hard copy log please call 410-659-9314 extension 2312 to request a reading log in Braille. Reading logs must reach the NFB Jernigan Institute by January 18, 2013. If you are mailing a hard copy log be sure to get it in the mail immediately after the contest ends to ensure that it arrives in time.

Common Questions

  1. What if I didn’t know about the contest until after it began? Can I still enter? YES.
  2. If I enter late, can I still count the Braille pages I have read since November 1? YES, but only if you can verify that you read those pages.
  3. 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.
  4. Can I count title pages, tables of contents, Brailled descriptions of illustrations, etc.? YES.
  5. What if I don’t finish reading a book? Can I count the pages that I did read? YES.
  6. Can I read the same book more than once? NO.
  7. How do I count pages if I read material from the Bible? You must give a reference to the book(s) of the Bible you read (Proverbs, Matthew, etc.), AND you must read whole pages. Please do not give chapters and verses read. Acceptable—Bible, Book of Job: 20 pages. Not acceptable—Psalms 8, 24, and 32.
  8. I read a lot of electronic books with a refreshable Braille display. Are these eligible? MAYBE. If so, how do I count Braille pages? Formatted files with a .brf extension—for example, files from Bookshare.org and NLS WEB-BRAILLE—will have Braille page numbers in the file. These are acceptable. If you wish to use other scanned or non-.brf formatted files for the contest, you must contact the contest officials in advance for guidance and approval in how to determine the Braille page count. PLEASE NOTE: IF USING A REFRESHABLE DISPLAY, ANY SPEECH ACCESS ASSOCIATED WITH THE BRAILLE DISPLAY MUST BE TURNED OFF AT ALL TIMES DURING THE READING OF PAGES FOR THIS CONTEST.
  9. I have trouble finding enough Braille material. Do you have any suggestions? YES. The National Federation of the Blind has free Braille materials suitable for blind youth, including recent issues of the Braille Monitor magazine and Braille copies of our Kernel Book series. To request a literature list (large print or Braille) contact: National Federation of the Blind, Independence Market, 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, Maryland 21230; (410) 659-9314, extension 2216; or eringlein@nfb.org.

Contact Us:

National Federation of the Blind
Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest
200 East Wells Street
at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, extension 2312
Fax: (410) 659-5129
Web: www.nfb.org/BRAL