Bookshare is a free digital online library for children with qualifying print disabilities. It provides over 171,311 accessible books, textbooks, novels, children’s literature, best sellers, dictionaries, encyclopedias and periodicals for individuals. For free.
The words are highlighted and read aloud for a multi-modal reading experience. Children read the books on computers with reading software, on Apple or Android tablets with reading apps like Read2Go, smart phones, MP3 players, braille devices and other assistive technology. Watch this student demonstrate how it works.
Kathy Stratton, mother of a Bookshare member shares what she found at a New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force public hearing, “The theme was clear and consistent – schools are not meeting the needs of students who struggle with reading. Parent after parent spoke with passion about the time, and emotional, educational, and financial toll these struggles have taken on their families. The educators who spoke acknowledged that they and their colleagues are often poorly trained to meet the needs of dyslexic students.”
She explains the need for accessible instructional material for struggling readers, "In addition to teaching students to learn to read, it is equally important to provide struggling readers with opportunities to read to learn.”
Another mother, Kathy Thompson, tells of her son, Jeffrey's late diagnosis of dyslexia in middle school and how Bookshare helped him. "This accommodation (to hear and see text read aloud) was just what Jeffrey needed. Overnight, he was reading and making sense of the content in the digital book. It didn’t take him long to get accustomed to downloading books to his portable devices. We discovered that he needed a different way to retain knowledge by listening to the content. Imagine how many more students who could achieve higher academic success with the right combination of tools and resources and an earlier diagnosis?"
She adds, "Jeffrey received an academic achievement award and won the state wrestling championship. He now displays confidence in himself and takes advanced classes to prepare for high school and college. He no longer feels “different” or can keep up with his reading assignments. His hope is that other students who have reading challenges, like dyslexia, will be encouraged by what he has accomplished thus far and that they will keep moving forward."
Do you know a child who would benefit from this free library? Comment here.