Braille Monitor                          November 2019

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A Contest to Promote Literacy that is so Fun it Won’t Seem Like Work

by Sandy Halverson

Sandy HalversonFrom the Editor: Sandy Halverson is in charge of the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest sponsored by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (AAF). This contest was initially run by our national body, migrated to Illinois, and is now a project of the AAF. Here is what Sandy, whose skill in reading Braille is second to none and has served her well in her many careers, has to say:

Readers of the August-September 2019 Braille Monitor and 2019 National Convention attendees had an opportunity to learn about the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults century celebration. The American Action Fund Braille literacy programs have grown from the production and distribution of Twin Vision books with print and Braille text on facing pages with picture captions in parentheses to free slates and styluses and the Free Braille Books Program enabling blind children to build their own book collections.

Before we get into contest specifics, I want to thank our Illinois affiliate for its commitment to Braille literacy and organizing the Great Lakes Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest for the past three years. The number of states that participated in the 2018-2019 contest shows that our blind students are motivated to read recreational materials for seven weeks and challenge others to do likewise. In the past, participating affiliates made a $100 contribution to cover contest-related expenses. While the Action Fund is making this contest available to all of our affiliates, donations are always welcome to help with those expenses which include things like the cash prizes awarded for first, second, and third place winners in each category and the Braille-related prizes each participant receives.

This year we are promoting Braille literacy to children from K-12 grades and blind adults to encourage not only our NFB center students who are learning Braille, but others who might be motivated by a little cash and other Braille-related prizes, to participate in a contest. Teachers, parents, and adults may register for the contest from Friday, November 1, 2019, through Saturday, January 18, 2020—but you have to do a little more than just register. Each participant must keep a log with the book title, author, and number of pages read, which may not be the entire book or article. The actual reading period begins Sunday, December 1, 2019, and ends Saturday, January 18, 2020, but that is not a concern for today! By November 1, all contest-related documents will be available from our website ( and will be widely distributed by email and social media. The full text of these materials will be included in the December Braille Monitor.

Now is the perfect time to begin gathering books, magazines, and anything that is not a textbook that you’ve always wanted to read. You will have seven weeks in which to get it done.  ShareBraille is an excellent resource in addition to Bookshare and the Braille lending library in your state. 

You can help us by spreading the word to blind children and adults you know who want to improve their Braille efficiency. So on November 1, registration starts the fun!

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