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Braille Challenge event coming to Romney

January 7th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The 2016 Braille Challenge, the only national reading and writing contest in braille for legally blind students ages 6 to 19, will hold a regional event in Romney on Jan. 14 at West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. 

The challenge, sponsored by Braille Institute, is an academic competition in two stages. It’s designed to motivate students by emphasizing their study of braille while rewarding their success with fun-filled, challenging local and national events. Any student who is blind or visually impaired and reads braille is eligible to participate in preliminary or regional events held from January through mid-March throughout the U.S. and Canada. 


In its 16th year, the challenge offers students a chance to compete in five categories: reading comprehension, braille spelling, charts and graphs reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy.

“The Braille Challenge parallels the importance and educational purpose of an academic decathlon or spelling bee for sighted children,” said Nancy Niebrugge, associate vice president of Organizational Strategy at Braille Institute. “While there are upwards of 55,000 legally blind children in the U.S., only a portion use braille to read. Reading braille is paramount to literacy for students. Educators working with students who are blind or visually impaired have told us that the Braille Challenge is a motivating factor encouraging students to practice braille.”

"Braille reading proficiency provides an essential skill set that allows children who are blind or visually impaired to compete with their sighted peers in a school environment as well as later in life as they enter the workforce," said Peter Mindnich, president of the Braille Institute. "We are inspired 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."

Following the first regional phase, contestants with the highest scores are invited to compete in a second, national finals phase. Once the regional scores are reviewed, qualifying finalists will be announced by Braille Institute in May. Each finalist receives an invitation to the Los Angeles headquarters of the Braille Institute to represent the top-ranking scores.

The event in Romney will take place on Jan. 14 at 7:45 a.m. The address for the West Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind is 301 East Main St., Romney.

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