Nationwide BRAL Contest

THE Second Annual Nationwide BRAL Contest IS HERE!

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The National Federation of the Blind of Illinois (NFBI), in partnership with the NFB Jernigan Institute and The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, announces the second annual Nation-wide Braille Readers Are Leaders (BRAL) contest for kids. Students must be K-12, and must reside in a state registered for the contest. Entrants compete to read the most Braille pages, going against other students in similar grades across all participating states. The contest runs for seven weeks, encouraging students to be proud of their Braille reading ability and to work to improve their Braille skills — while possibly winning prizes in the process.

All blind or visually impaired children in a participating state are eligible to enter the contest. However, an NFB affiliate in a state needs to submit an entrance fee to the NFBI to become a participating state. Those desiring to register their child for the Nationwide BRAL Contest need to be sure their state is a participating state. Contact your state affiliate president or the contest administrator as described below if you have questions.

A thumbnail sketch of the contest:

  • For each student who enters, a certifying official (parent, teacher, etc.) must fill out and submit a registration form. This can be done as early as November 1, 2018 and as late as January 19, 2019.
  • Kids enter in one of five grade categories: K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, & 9-12.
  • Participants record Braille pages read between December 1, 2018 and January 19, 2019 on a reading log.
  • The certifying official must submit the completed reading log form by February 2, 2019.
  • Prizes in each grade category are: first, $25; second, $15; third, $10.
  • Every contestant, whether a winner or not, will receive a gift bag of Braille-related items at the end of the contest.
  • See below to get the complete contest rules, registration form, and the reading log form.
  • Both the registration form and the reading log form can be submitted by email as attachments to Deborah Stein at Please put Nationwide BRAL plus the contestant’s name in the subject line. Alternatively, you can mail to: Deborah Stein, 5817 N. Nina Ave., Chicago, IL 60631.
  • In addition to awards in the five grade categories, the Kelly Doty Award is given to a student who has met unusual challenges in order to learn and read Braille. Such challenges include, but are not limited to, having other disabilities in addition to blindness or being an English language learner.

If you have questions, email the contest administrator, Deborah Stein, at (please put “Nationwide BRAL Question” in the subject line). or phone 773-203-1394.


Additional Files

2017-2018 Contest Winners

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2017-2018 Nationwide Braille Readers Are Leaders Contest, which was sponsored by the NFB of Illinois in partnership with the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille (NAPUB). Altogether eighty-one students from twelve states took part in the contest. The participating states were Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia.

Students submitted reading logs, counting the number of Braille pages they read between December 15, 2017 and February 1, 2018. The contestants with the top three page counts in each of five grade categories are awarded cash prizes: $25 for first place, $15 for second place, and $10 for third place and honorable mention. Every student who submitted a reading log receives a package of Braille-related gifts.

Here is a list of the 2017-2018 Nationwide Braille Leaders Are Leaders winners.

Grades K – 1:

  • First Place: Cameron Gooden – Carterville, IL
  • Second Place: Ander Mielke – Havre, MT
  • Third Place: Kenji Torihara – Chicago, IL
  • Honorable Mention: Anastasia Marinos – Burr Ridge, IL

Grades 2 – 3:

  • First Place: Aisha Safi – Chevy Chase, MD
  • Second Place: Preston Rose – Eagan, MN
  • Third Place: Anna Sayles – Peoria, IL
  • Honorable Mention: Ely Giraldo – Staunton, VA

Grades 4 – 5:

  • First Place: Jonah Rao – Columbia, MD
  • Second Place: Isaiah Rao – Columbia, MD
  • Third Place: Karli Copes – Oak Grove, LA

Grades 6 – 8:

  • First Place: Holly Connor – St. Louis, MO
  • Second Place: Nicholas Tarver – Many, LA
  • Third Place: Anthony Spears – Mattoon, IL

Grades 9 – 12:

  • First Place: Maria-Luisa Montero-Olivero – Marietta, GA
  • Second Place: Marie Presume – Staunton, VA
  • Third Place: Kaelyn Kinlaw – Staunton, VA


The Kelly Doty Awards of $25 are given to students who overcome special challenges to achieve fluency in Braille reading. Such challenges include, but are not limited to, having disabilities in addition to blindness or being an English-language learner. The following students received 2018 Kelly Doty Awards.

  • Alan Bunay – Spring Valley, NY
  • Miracle Douglas – Peoria, IL
  • Isaiah Rao – Columbia, MD
  • Jonah Rao – Columbia, MD
  • Aisha Safi – Chevy Chase, MD
  • Nicholas Tarver – Many, LA