Foundational Category

Welcome to the official page of the Foundational Category at the British Columbia Regional Braille Challenge! Students participating in the Foundational Category can be from any grade level, kindergarten through grade 12, and can be at any reading and writing level. While all participants are encouraged to participate in the standard Apprentice - Varsity Categories, we know there are some learners who would be more successful with a more individualized Braille Challenge experience. The Foundational Category is designed with these learners in mind. Participants in past Foundational events have included:

  • Any learners with multiple exceptionalities who may require one-to-one proctoring; 
  • Any learners who are working on more foundational elements of braille reading and writing (e.g., tracking, tactile discrimination);
  • Learners at the intermediate and senior levels who are learning braille as an additional literacy medium and are new to braille reading and writing.

Foundational Category Process

Two students chatting between events in the Foundational Category roomPlanning for the Foundational Category begins at the outset of the planning process for our BC Regional Braille Challenge event. When the registration form for the Regional Challenge is sent out across our community in British Columbia, TSVIs who intend on registering a student in the Foundational Category are asked to submit forms early. Once a registration for the Foundational Category is received, our team sends an online survey to the TSVI to learn more about the student:

  • Current reading level 
  • UEB contractions that the student can 1) recognize, and 2) read consistently
  • Topics of interest for reading and writing (e.g., Paw Patrol, swimming)
  • Typical accommodations (e.g., frequent breaks, quiet space)

Based on the data collected from TSVIs, our team creates 2-3 versions of materials for each event, described below. The total number of versions created each year depends on the diversity of student profiles among registrants. For example, in 2020, three versions of Foundational materials were required for 14 participants - primary-level uncontracted, primary-level contracted, and intermediate contracted. 

Foundational Category Events

A teacher and student work together in the Foundational Category roomAll Foundational Category events are designed to align thematically with the content in the Apprentice - Varsity Categories. Our goal is that students writing in the Foundational Category have the same terminology to describe their events as students writing in the Apprentice - Varsity Categories. These events are described below along with sample materials. For each event, there is a scoring sheet that can be shared with the student and their educational team at the end of the day. 

Reading Comprehension

In the Reading Comprehension event, Foundational participants match a list of words with individual word cards. Participants use their reading and fine motor skills to read the list word, locate the corresponding card with that word, and affix the card to the right of the list word using some sticky tack. Words are selected based on the student's interests and the UEB contractions that she can recognize. All samples below are proctor materials. 


In the Proofreading event, Foundational participants find the "errors" in lines of identical braille characters. Lines vary in difficulty based on the number of "dot differences" between the targets and the expected characters on the line. Each "error" is marked with a small ball of sticky tack so that it can reviewed later. This activity is similar to those that a student might encounter in an early braille reading program. More advanced proofreading activities require the student to find contractions that are used inappropriately or that are missing. 

Speed and Accuracy

In the Speed and Accuracy event, Foundational participants engage in braille writing. They are asked to write about topics such as their favourite foods, their preferred superpowers, and what they would do if they ran their school. Participants are also asked to transcribe short humorous poems and rhymes. The event is not timed and is not scored - students are encouraged to have fun with their writing.

Charts and Graphs

In the Charts and Graphs event, Foundational participants explore a variety of maps and graphs and answer questions based on these materials. The complexity of the tactile materials range from simple arrays of embossed shapes, to basic tactile maps, to bar graphs. 


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