The Braille Challenge 2015 Is about to Begin in the United States and Canada

Date Posted: 01/05/2015

The annual braille reading and writing competition for students who are blind or have low vision, Braille Institute's Braille Challenge, recently announced that the competition will begin January 17, 2015, in Canada, at the Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority in Halifax, and January 22, 2015, in the United States, at the Florida Instructional Materials Center for the Visually Impaired, in Jacksonville. The academic competition, which will take place in over 40 cities in the United States and Canada, is designed to motivate students in their study of braille while rewarding their successes with fun and challenging local and national events. From its origins in California 15 years ago, the Braille Challenge has expanded to include "more than 1,000 participants in North America," said Nancy Niebrugge, associate vice president of National Programs at Braille Institute,". . . [It] has influenced so many families who have a child or children who are blind or visually impaired. For many participants, the challenge is their only opportunity to truly test their skills against others academically."

Any visually impaired student aged 6 to 19 in the United States and Canada who reads braille is eligible to participate in the contest, which features five competition categories: reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading, and braille speed and accuracy. The first phase of the contest—the preliminary, regional contest—will be held from January 2015 through the end of March 2015 at various locations in the United States and Canada. After reviewing all of the individual contestant scores from the first phase of the competition, qualifying finalists will be announced by Braille Institute program organizers in May 2015. The 12 top-ranking contestants from each of five age groups with the highest scores will be invited to compete in the second phase: national finals at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Braille Institute. At the national finals in June 2015, there will be a special opening ceremony for the 60 finalists and their families prior to the start of the daylong final competition, and winners will be selected from each age group.

In addition to being a fun competition, The Braille Challenge seeks to promote braille literacy and to highlight the importance of braille. "Braille is a crucial tool . . . [that] opens the doors of literacy and drives educational advancement and future employment opportunities," said Braille Institute President Peter Mindnich, "We continue to be more inspired each year by the passion and commitment of the students who compete in The Braille Challenge. Their achievements can empower others who are affected by sight loss to develop their braille skills as well." For more information, contact: Braille Institute, Los Angeles Headquarters, 741 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029; phone: 800-BRAILLE (272-4553) or 323-663-1111; e-mail: la@brailleinstitute.org; website: www.braillechallenge.org.

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