Just because she can't see the words doesn't mean she can't read.
In fact, Gray Elementary's Ella Yu is so good at reading braille that she spent this past weekend in Los Angeles, testing her skills against others her age in the National Braille Challenge.
Essentially the braille version of the National Spelling Bee, the National Braille Challenge brings students from all across Canada and the U.S. together to find out who the best of the best is when it comes to reading the tactile system.
And Ella's parents couldn't be more proud.
"We are very excited, we never expected we'd be going anywhere, we just let her join it for fun," said Wendy Yu, mother of the Grade 4 student. "Ella (was) quite excited to be going on an airplane and going to a hotel - it's not something we get to do every day."
According to Yu, Ella qualified for the event following a great performance at a local braille challenge held by UBC.
"It was the first time that UBC held the braille reading competition here in the Vancouver area so we told her it might be fun for her to experience it and we just went," said Yu. "She did really good."
As for practising, Yu said Ella doesn't do anything extraordinary in terms of preparation.
"For Ella, braille is just like other kids who learn print," said Yu. "She needs to learn braille for literacy so this is just like a regular test at school for her, just like other kids have."
When asked if a career of braille challenges awaits young Ella, Yu said she wasn't sure, but noted Ella did like the idea of travelling to compete.
"I think she might (have been) more excited about the travelling," laughed Yu.
Finally, while Ella did not win at the competition, Yu said her daughter still had a great experience.
"All of the kids were very well prepared and, being our first time, we didn't know what would happen. We just went to have fun and Ella had a good time."
Given the chance, Yu said Ella would definitely give the competition another go.
"If there was another time, Ella said she would be even more prepared," said Yu. "She had a lot of fun."
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