Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest


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 the second-place winner; and so forth. The completed contest entry form should be received by the judges no later than February 15, 2000. 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, 1999, and February 1, 2000; (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

<[email protected]> or <[email protected]>

Contest Entry Form

Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest

November 1, 1999, to February 1, 2000

Mail entry form after February 1, 2000, to

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

Student's Name

Birth date




City, State, ZIP

Parent's Name, Phone (home and/or work)

School Name


Address, City, State, and ZIP

Certifying Authority Name

Position: Parent, Teacher, Librarian

Address, City, State, and ZIP

Phone (home and/or work)

Please send certificate and ribbon to:

(circle one) student, school, or certifying authority

Did you enter last year's contest (1998-1999)? yes or no

Category: (Check one)

Beginning Print-to-Braille (This category is for former or current print readers who began to learn and use Braille within the past two years. Children who began Braille instruction in kindergarten or first grade 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)

[The following page contains a chart for listing the name of each book and magazine read and the number of pages in each.]

Total number of pages

To the best of my knowledge this student did read these Braille pages between the dates of November 1, 1999, and February 1, 2000.

Signature of Certifying Authority


Common Questions

1. When do I mail in the contest form? Mail the completed form in between February 1 and February 15, 2000.

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.

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

Schools for the Blind

2000 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. This form is not required, but the prompt provision of this information to the judges would be appreciated.

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