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Braille Challenge

Northern California Braille Challenge

Braille Challenge Logo

The date has been set and plans are well underway for the 2018 Northern California Braille Challenge! 

This year and from this point going forward all tests in all categories will be in UEB.  The details for the event are as follows:

Date:  Saturday, March 3, 2018
Location:   Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, 101 N. Bascom Ave., San Jose CA 95128 – Directions to event
Hosting Agency:  Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in collaboration with California School for the Blind and SF LightHouse
Contact for event:  To learn more or to register a student, please contact Alice Turner at Vista Center, email: or call 650 858-0202, ext. 130.

Five contestants singing song from FrozenHow to Register a Student

Parents and the students Teacher of the Visually Impaired need to complete the form and return to Alice Turner via Fax 650 858-0214 or mail to Vista Center, 2500 El Camino Real Suite 100, Palo Alto CA 94306.  If unable to download the form, call or email Alice Turner for a hard copy to be mailed to you.  Email: or phone: 650 858-0202, ext. 130. 
Download the Registration/Permission Form.

All Permission Forms must be signed and received by February 3, 2018.

Confirmation Letters

Once we receive the form which needs to be completed by the parent/guardian and the participant’s TVI, we will send a confirmation letter to the participant’s parents and the TVI.  The letter will include details for the day and directions to the event.   

What is the Braille Challenge?

Three contestants at a table, each concentrating, reading brailled pages during competitionThe Braille Challenge® is an academic competition unlike any other. This two-stage contest is designed to motivate blind students to emphasize their study of braille, while rewarding their success with fun-filled, but challenging, local and national events. Braille Challenge contest categories include reading comprehension, writing speed and accuracy, proofreading, spelling, and reading tactile charts and graphs.

Any visually impaired student who reads braille is eligible to participate in the Regional Braille Challenge events.  Contests are proctored by volunteer TVIs and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines. The preliminary round is open to students of all skills levels, but only the top-scoring 50 contestants nationally are invited to Los Angeles for the final round—two days of competition, camaraderie and fun!

In 2017, Braille Institute moved The Braille Challenge finals to the University of Southern California with the purpose to demystify higher education, promote career exploration, and create awareness about all the resources available for youth who are visually impaired and their families.

Contest Category by School Grade Level

Apprentice                    Grade 1 & 2 (contracted or uncontracted)  

Reading and Comprehension, Spelling, Proof Reading

Freshman                     Grade 3 & 4

Reading and Comprehension, Spelling, Proof Reading

Sophomore                  Grade 5 & 6

Reading and Comprehension, Speed and Accuracy, Proof Reading, Charts and Graphs

Junior Varsity               Grade 7–9

Reading and Comprehension, Speed and Accuracy, Proof Reading, Charts and Graphs

Varsity                          Grade 10–12

Reading and Comprehension, Speed and Accuracy, Proof Reading, Charts and Graphs

How to Prepare

Go to the Braille Challenge web page,, to the link for teachers and Parents to find practice tests.  For Sophomore, Junior Varsity and Varsity, it will be really helpful to practice the Speed and Accuracy Contest using a Victor Reader or BookPort Plus.  Download the Reader Instruction Form to learn best ways to use the Victor Reader or BookPort Plus.

Digital Player Guidelines

Parent and Teacher Workshops and Activities for Participants

Look to this section for updates about planned workshops for parents and teachers, as well as activities planned for participants after contests are completed.  We will also list vendors we have invited to the event. 

Are you interested in volunteering?Santa Clara Valley Blind Center venue

TVIs are needed to serve as Proctors (training will be provided). We also need volunteers to help with supporting the event, such as serving refreshments, helping with registration and assisting with activities. Please contact Alice Turner at Vista Center, email: or call 650 858-0202, ext. 130.


We thank the following sponsors for their support of the Braille Challenge:

Braille Institute of America  Humanware
National Braille Press
Seedlings Braille Books for Children
Santa Clara Valley Blind Center (site location for  the event)