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This Blind Girl Can Read Faster Than You

Holly Connor of Mercer Island started learning to read and write Braille in preschool.

Now 10, she’s one of North America’s fastest readers and writers in her age group – when it comes to Braille.

This weekend she headed to the National Braille Challenge in Los Angeles where she competed with 12 other finalists in the third- and fourth-grade division. (We hadn't heard how she fared by Sunday night.)

We wanted to know how you get so fast at something like that, and to learn a bit of Braille. So we invited her in to the studio for a lesson.

Holly brought in two Braille typewriters – heavy machines often referred to as “Braillers.” She showed Marcie Sillman how to use the nine keys on the machine to type “K-U-O-W.”

“The K is 1-3, together,” Holly said, as she effortlessly rattled off number combinations for each letter. “And U is, together, 1-3-6. And O is, together, 1-3-5. And W is, together, 2-4-5-6.”

Holly’s mom said that she is naturally good at writing and reading Braille – Holly said that having autism has helped her in this regard.

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[asset-images[{"caption": "", "fid": "118453", "style": "placed_wide", "uri": "public://201506/braille_05.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW photo/Mike Kane"}]]Of the four areas she’ll compete – reading, spelling, proofreading, Braille speed and accuracy -- Holly said spelling is her best subject.

And she said that if she wins first place, she’ll receive a computer that teaches Braille.

As for how she’ll react: ‘I’ll jump up and down and say, ‘Yay, I won!’”  

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