Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Advancing Literacy Initiatives: Read Across America and the Braille Challenge

Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers: Read Across America

The Read Across America program encourages reading and calls for children in every community to enjoy its pursuit by “Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.” Many schools, libraries, and readers across the country commemorate Read Across America as an annual event on March 2nd, the anniversary of the birth of popular children’s author Dr. Seuss, and throughout March, “National Reading Month.” Recognizing the importance of keeping “reading on the calendar 365 days a year,” the National Education Association (NEA), sponsor of the program, also provides resources and activities for educators and parents year round. NEA provides recommended books, authors, and resources each month focusing on different themes that “promote diversity and inclusion.” February’s emphasis is to “Celebrate Black History Month” and in March to “Bring Communities Together.” For additional background information and resources to promote reading, visit the Reading Rockets webpage on NEA’s Read Across America.

Promoting Braille Literacy: The Braille Challenge

Promoting reading/literacy also reinforces the theme of the Braille Challenge, which began in January and goes through March of every year. The “only academic competition of its kind,” the Challenge was developed by the Braille Institute to motivate students who are blind or visually impaired to practice and sharpen their braille literacy skills, which are vital in achieving academic and career success. Students in first through twelfth grades who read and write braille can participate. Contestants are tested on fundamental skills like reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Events are held in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The top 50 students, with the highest scores, are invited for the final round, consisting of “two days of competition, camaraderie and fun!” This year’s Finals will be held from June 23 to 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Read more here about the Braille Challenge. For the schedule of this year’s regional events, both those that have already occurred and those that remain, visit the webpage with the list of regional events.