Braille Readers Are Leaders
Our 2021/2022 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest was a smashing success. With the help of Beanstack, contestants were able to log minutes right on the website. They were able to see what books others were reading, write reviews of the books they read, and earn badges all along the way.
This year's contest is officially over and the winners are listed below. We hope you enjoyed participating and hope even more folks will enter next year!
Winners in each age category:
Kindergarten - 1st Grade
First Place: Mila C. from California with 1,588 minutes
2nd Place: Hope G. from Montana with 1,005 minutes
3rd Place: Jane G. from Missouri with 855 minutes
2nd - 3rd Grade
First Place: Maeve E. from Utah with 1,585 minutes
2nd Place: Baylynn L. from Minnesota with 1,524 minutes
3rd Place: Madison M. from New York with 1,224 minutes
4th - 5th Grade
First Place: Gabriel W. from Florida with 5,000 minutes
2nd Place: Narjis K. from Louisiana with 2,713 minutes
3rd Place: Salome C. from Missouri with 2,599 minutes
6th - 8th Grade
First Place: Divani M. from New Jersey with 9,402 minutes
2nd Place: May R. from Indiana with 8,433 minutes
3rd Place: Amare L. from North Carolina with 3,755 minutes
9th - 12th Grade
First Place: Faith S. from New Mexico with 2,925 minutes
2nd Place: Hayden R. from Colorado with 2,505 minutes
3rd Place: Maria D. from Michigan with 1,928 minutes
Breaking Limits Award
Luis V. from Maryland with 155 minutes
Winners in each category received their prizes packets along with a check. First place receives $25.00, 2nd place $15.00, and 3rd place $10.00.
Participants received entries into the grand prize drawing for obtaining certain reading minute milestones. The drawing was conducted on Facebook live on March 2, 2022. (Read across America Day!) Here are your Grand Prize Winners!!
Elizabeth R. of South Carolina - won Chameleon Braille display
9th - 12 Grade
Faith S. of New Mexico - won Chameleon Braille display
6th - 8th Grade
Boon D. of Washington - won either a Braille Buddy embosser or a Focus 40 Braille display
4th - 5th Grade
Salome C. of Missouri - won either a Braille Buddy embosser or a Focus 40 Braille display
2nd - 3rd Grade
Madison M. of New York - won either a Braille Buddy embosser or a Focus 40 Braille display
Kindergarten - 1st Grade
Jane G. of Missouri - won either a Braille Buddy embosser or a Focus 40 Braille display
Congratulations to all of the winners and everyone who participated. Prize packets have gone out in the mail, you should be receiving yours soon!!
We will leave the contest information below so that you can get ready for the upcoming year's contest that will begin in December.
General Contest Information
- 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 students and adults.
Registration for the 2021/2022 Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest is now open! You can create your account on Beanstack, if you don't already have one, and register for the contest at http://actionfund.beanstack.org. The link to this video will help you get signed up. Using Beanstack on the Web.
Check out this tutorial on how to register using a screen reader.
You can also use Beanstack’s Tracker App to register for the BRAL contest. Just download from either the iTunes or Google Play store. You can register, log minutes, see the leader board and more!!
As always, the American Action Fund does not want to exclude any interested contest participant who cannot use Beanstack or does not have access to the internet. Please contact BrailleReadingContest@actionfund.org or call 410-659-9315 to discuss other reading log options.
Summary of Important Dates
- November 17: Registration is open: create your account and register for the contest.
- December 1: The beginning of the contest and the first day participants can count log their minutes.
- January 21: The end of the contest, the last day participants can track and add more minutes, and the last day to submit a registration form.
- January 28: All minutes read during the contest period must be logged on Beanstack by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
- February 7: Winners will be announced/notified.
- Mid February: Prizes will be mailed out.
Breaking Down the Contest
Contestants compete against their same-grade peers nationwide to read for the most minutes during the reading period. There are five grade categories and an adult category in the competition: grades K-1, grades 2-3, grades 4-5, grades 6-8 (middle school), and grades 9-12 (high school), adults.
NOTE: Students classified as “un-graded,” or those who have reading delays, should register in the same category as their same-age peers. For example, a sixteen-year-old student who reads at a third grade level should register in the high school category. However, he or she may read third grade materials. We have found that when students read material appropriate for their reading level, they are able to be competitive with their same-age peers.
All contest participants will receive a Braille Readers Are Leaders t-shirt. This shirt will be mailed as soon as possible after the participant registers for the contest and logs their first amount of minutes read. So, if a participant reads for 20 minutes on December 1 and logs his minutes into Beanstack that day, his t-shirt will be mailed to him as soon as December 2. If however, participants waits until the end of the contest to register and log all of their minutes at once, he will not receive his t-shirt or any other prizes he may have won until we send out all of the prizes in mid-February. In other words, register as soon as registration opens and start logging minutes right away, every day if possible!!
This year, instead of a general prize pack which is the same for all participants, prizes will be awarded based on number of minutes read. The more a participants reads, the more prizes they will earn! When participants log minutes each day as they read, they will receive emails with fun badges they have earned in recognition of their efforts. Participants will also be notified when the milestone they have reached also has a prize attached to it.
Participants can also check out the contest leader board to see how their number of minutes stack up against their peers. We encourage participants to see how many minutes they can read throughout the contest period. Can you have a reading streak each day of the contest? What prizes and badges can you earn? The only way to find out is to register, read, and log your minutes!!
In addition to the prizes earned based on minutes read, the participant who read the most number of minutes in a particular grade category will win a cash prize.
Rules for the Contest
- Contestants must meet the eligibility criteria.
- All reading materials must meet the criteria for acceptable materials (see below).
- All materials must be read between December 1 and January 21.
- Registration form must have the name and contact information of a parent, guardian, or teacher.
- Not meeting the required dates for registration or logging minutes will disqualify a contestant.
- All decisions of the judges are final.
The parent/guardian/teacher is responsible for:
- Registering the student for the contest.
- Assisting the student in finding suitable extracurricular Braille books and other materials to read for the contest.
- Verifying the student read the Braille material listed, and that the material was read between the beginning and ending dates of the contest.
- Submitting the reading log in an accurate, complete, and timely fashion.
The contestant, parent, guardian or teacher may be contacted 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.
Reading Material Guidelines
The overall purpose of the contest is to encourage extracurricular reading for pleasure, so the following lists of acceptable and unacceptable contest Braille reading materials are given. The lists also take into account the fact that most of what students in kindergarten, first, and second grades learn in school is connected to reading, and therefore there is not always a clear distinction between required reading and recreational reading.
All material must have identifiable source information that can be checked for verification such as author, publisher, or sponsoring organization.
Acceptable (recreational or independent reading)
- Books: fiction or nonfiction, hardback or paperback, Braille only or print/Braille format, mass-produced or individually transcribed.
- Newspapers in Braille or read on a Braille display (without speech)
- 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. For example, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H Club, etc.
- Religious publications. For example, portions of the Bible, Koran, Torah, Sunday school lessons, meditations, etc.
- Materials read in school during free-reading time, in the library, or under any circumstance where students are allowed freedom to choose what they read.
- Supplemental reading books to beginning reading series, such as those that come with the Building on Patterns reading series from the American Printing House for the Blind.
- Books from the Accelerated Reading Program list.
Not Acceptable (materials required for school assignments, reference materials, and other reading material not designed to be read in its entirety)
- Textbooks and related materials assigned as required reading by the student’s teacher or educational program.
- Items without identifiable source information that can be checked for verification, such as author, publisher, or sponsoring organization.
Recording Your Reading (Beanstack)
To receive full credit for the number of minutes read during the contest, it is crucial that the material read is recorded accurately. We are using Beanstack as the tool for recording minutes read this year. First, create an account Beanstack. If there is more than one Braille reader in your household, you may add each reader to one central account in order to make logging minutes easier.
Instructions for filling out the Reading Log
- Create your account on Beanstack by visiting http://actionfund.beanstack.org. Video: How to create an account on Beanstack
- Material Title: Please provide the title of the book, magazine, etc.
- Author: Please give the author’s name
- Number of Minutes: Record the number of minutes you have read each day. How to video: Logging Minutes.
As always, the American Action Fund does not want to exclude any interested contest participant who cannot use Beanstack or who does not have access to the internet. Please contact BrailleReadingContest@actionfund.org or call 410-659-9315 and we will be happy to assist you.
Common Questions & Answers
- Q: What if I didn’t know about the contest until after it began? Can I still enter?
A: Yes, you can register using Beanstack until January 21, 2022.
- Q: If I enter late, can I still count the minutes I have read since December 1?
A: Yes, but only if your parent, guardian, or teacher can verify that you read that number of minutes.
3. Q: What if I don’t finish reading a book? Can I count the minutes that I did read?
4. Q: I read a lot of electronic books with a refreshable Braille display. Are these eligible?
A: Yes Note: If using a refreshable Braille display, any speech access associated with the Braille display must be turned off at all times during counted reading minutes. In other words, time spent listening to books using a Braille display or any other audio equipment, does not count in this contest. If a beginning reader is listening to a book and actually reading along in Braille to build up speed or accuracy, that reading time can be counted if the parent, guardian, or teacher can verify actual Braille reading is being done while listening.
5. Q: I have trouble finding enough Braille material for myself/my child/my students. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Yes. The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults gives a free Braille book each month to any blind child or adult who would like one. The books are written for children between second and fourth grade, although children or adults, or even slightly younger children who are strong readers will enjoy these books. For more information about the books being offered, and to enroll in the program, please visit AAF Braille Books Program.
You may also find appropriate reading material at sharebraille.org. Once you get to the website all you need to do is create an account and you can begin perusing books by title, author, or category. You request books from folks who have put Braille and print/Braille books they no longer want or need. The Action Fund has put up more than 6000 books to take from the Kenneth Jernigan Library.
Additional sources of Braille materials are listed in the Braille Book Resources.
Do you still have questions? Contact us at:
American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults
ATTN: Braille Readers Are Leaders
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
BrailleReadingContest@actionfund.org with BRAL in the subject line or call 410-659-9315.
History of Braille Readers Are Leaders
In the early 1980s, the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (both divisions of the National Federation of the Blind) collaborated to establish and administer the Braille Readers Are Leaders contest to help promote the importance of Braille in the lives of blind people and encourage the field of blindness professionals to create innovative teaching strategies. One of the many positive results of this project was the identification of a lack of free reading materials that blind children could keep for themselves which led to the establishment of the Braille Books Program by the American Action Fund.
After more than thirty years of offering the Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, its administration has been transitioned to the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults which has made the commitment to continue and expand the contest as part of its program to promote Braille literacy for children and adults. We are proud that the National Federation of the Blind continues to be a nationwide partner in this important program.
Where to Find Braille Reading Materials
Find Braille reading materials through various resources including:
- Braille Books Program
- Braille Storybook Resources
- The National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled
Join us as we continue to promote Braille throughout the nation, a cornerstone mission of the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults and the National Federation of the Blind.