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‘Tis the Season to Give and Enjoy Books

2018 December 18

We invite you to donate to Bookshare’s annual book drive 

This holiday season, give the gift of books to emerging readers. Bookshare is running an end-of-year book drive, and you can help bring high-demand books to students with reading barriers.

Bookshare adds thousands of new titles to the library every month, providing access to more books in easy-to-read ebook formats for students with dyslexia, blindness, low vision, cerebral palsy, and other reading barriers. Our library currently has over 675,000 titles! Yet, this is still a fraction of the one million new books published every year. Members request new books, and we do everything we can to get those into the library.

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention Series for K-5

Some of the most highly requested books are “leveled readers.” These are collections of books that are organized by difficulty level (from easy to complex) and are designed to help students build reading skills and confidence as they advance through the levels.

Bookshare currently has Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Green System for Grade 1. With your help, we can purchase the rest of the grades K-5 series. Here is what members tell us about these books:

Literacy leaders, Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, provide hand-selected, leveled collections. They provide opportunities to extend reading practice and strengthen newly acquired skills of primary grade students. There are 60 single titles for Grade 3, Collections 1 and 2. We would like to get the Leveled literacy Intervention by Fountas & Pinnell on Bookshare. Can those books be added?

I noticed the Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Books green series was available, but not the blue series. As the students increase their reading ability, they are no longer able to access the ebooks in audio and large print of the higher-level books.

We love that you have created some awesome Reading Lists. Is there any way you could create some more like this list for Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Green System Grade 1? We could use leveled readers at these levels to help our students.

I use this system (Fountas & Pinnell) for my Tier 3 Reading Intervention class and would love to have access to all of the books for my many students who useBoy reading on a laptop and wearing headphones in a classroom Bookshare.

My student has an IEP and requires large print and adaptive software for an iPad. He used these leveled readers last year, and I believe they may be available as a whole group, but not sure. Thank you.

I love that you added first grade reading levels and would like to expand the grade level ranges. I work with kids with learning needs and this is GREAT for those teachers using these resources to have more books available and in digital format.

With your help, we can reach our goal of raising $20,000 to complete the Fountas & Pinnell’s Leveled Literacy Intervention series grades K-5 on Bookshare. Whether you can give $5, $10, $20, or more, every gift counts and gets us closer to reaching our $20,000 goal. Thank you!

Blue button that says give

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Gifts to Bookshare are made through our parent nonprofit, Benetech, and are tax-deductible (Tax ID: 77-0555413).​​​​​​​

Bookshare’s Best Books of 2018

2018 December 12
by Amreen Ahmed, Bookshare Operations Associate

The end of the year is upon us, and so are all the best-of–the-year book lists. Here at Bookshare, we constantly talk about what we’re reading, and we’d love toA snowman is wearing a hat and scarf and holding a red shovel share some of our favorites with you.

Holiday Stories for Kids

‘Tis the season to enjoy the December holidays with this collection of 28 heartwarming books for kids ages 3-12 to keep them reading during winter break.

  • Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller Squirrel wants to make a New Year’s resolution… as soon as she figures out what a resolution is. Ages 4-8.
  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser – The Vanderbeeker family couldn’t imagine living anywhere other than 141st Street, so when their landlord won’t renew their lease, they’ll do anything to stay. Ages 7-10.
  • Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy – Joel is a middle school magician who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere in 1971 Los Angeles. Hopefully the eight nights of Hanukkah will turn his luck around. Ages 10-14.Dreidels on the Brain by Joel Ben Izzy

Best Books of 2018 – Young Adult

Young Adult literature tells diverse and unique stories for teens ages 12-18. This collection of 25 YA favorites will keep them entertained throughout winter break.

  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – Penny and Sam don’t have a meet cute: he’s passed out in the street and she finds him. Soon their awkward run-in blossoms into a vibrant text relationship, but will they be able to take their relationship off-screen?
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson – Stevie Bell joins the prestigious Ellingham Academy with one goal: solve the mystery of the founder’s missing wife and daughter. However, the past collides with the present as the killer returns to terrorize Ellingham Academy once again.
  • Skyward by Brandon Sanderson – Krell aliens have cornered the human race, and the humans’ only defense is their fleet of elite space pilots. Spensa dreams of becoming a pilot, but her father’s past makes it nearly impossible, until she finds an ancient ship with a personality.Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Best Books of 2018 – Staff Picks

The Bookshare staff shares 25 of the best books they read this year including these favorites:

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – this book follows three generations of a family starting with the Korean-Japanese War and continuing through and beyond World War II. If you like historical fiction and family sagas, this one is a winner! – Guillian, Collection Development
  • Bad Blood by John Carreyrou – The story of Theranos, the blood-testing startup based in Palo Alto, California, reads like a detective story that uncovers scientific and medical fraud. For an inside look into the rise and fall of founder Elizabeth Holmes and the dark side of Silicon Valley, look no further. – Paul, Operations
  • Without Getting Killed or Caught by Tamara Saviano – Guy Clark was a legendary singer and songwriter and a major influence on two generations of songwriters. Written by Clark’s former publicist and producer, and part memoir, part biography, this book tells a new story about an unforgettable man. – Matt, Texas Outreach CoordinatorBeartown by Frederik Backman
  • Beartown by Frederik Backman – this book is an enthralling and devastating look at community relationships, small town values, and the actions that can tear those communities apart or unite them. The themes of morality and loyalty are accessible while challenging, and the story about a broken girl putting herself back together is both tragic and empowering. – Amanda, Communities

What was your favorite book of 2018?

Let us know in the comments or share on Facebook or Twitter.

The Bookshare staff wishes you a warm and happy holiday season filled with good cheer and plenty of good books.

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving and All Year Long

2018 November 14
by Laura Deck, Bookshare Communications

From Brazil to Barbados and from Germany to Ghana, cultures around the world celebrate the fall harvest and give thanks for abundance and good fortune. Bookshare has a variety of books to help families celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.”

For young readers:The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter by Randa Handler

Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra – During the nineteenth century, Sarah Josepha Hale dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a national holiday, all while raising a family and becoming a groundbreaking writer and women’s magazine editor.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter by Randa Handler – In 1941, Takari and her Japanese-American family learn the importance of Thanksgiving traditions from her Native American friend.

Ready, Freddy! #15: Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble by Abby Klein – Guess who gets to play the turkey in the school play?

For parents:How to Raise Kind Kids by Thomas Lickona

How to Raise Kind Kids and Get Respect, Gratitude and a Happier Family in the Bargain by Thomas Lickona – A developmental psychologist shares tools that parents can use to foster cooperation and build character at home

For aspiring chefs:

How to Cook Everything Thanksgiving by Mark Bittman – The author who gave us the How to Cook Everything series shares 20 recipes for the big day

For adults:

The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan – How a year living gratefully gave the author a fresh outlook that transformed her marriage, family life, work, health, and everyday experience.Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick – What really happened during the Pilgrims’ epic voyage and settlement in the New World is a tale of conflict and colonialism, cooperation and betrayal

For crafters:

Crafting Gratitude: Creating and Celebrating Our Blessings with Hands and Heart by Maggie Oman Shannon – 40 meditative crafts to explore gratitude and invigorate your life

Read Your Way on the Device You ChooseReading tool wizard screen that asks the device you want to use

Members can enjoy these Thanksgiving books and many more anytime, anywhere on devices like computers, Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones, assistive technology devices, and MP3 players. Books can be read directly from a web browser or with a compatible app that lets you find, download, and read directly from within the reading tool. If you need help getting started, try the new Reading Tool Wizard.

Bookshare is grateful for the members, teachers, parents, volunteers, donors, and other supporters who make it possible for us to bring books to people with reading barriers around the world. The Bookshare team wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude.


4 “Crazy” Ways to Inspire Your Uninspired Student Readers [Video]

2018 November 5

Is your student or child uninspired about reading? Are they reading below grade level or experiencing reading difficulties? You are not alone. Many teachers and parents struggle to excite students about reading and learning. For Erin O’Leary, a reading specialist at Horace Mann Middle School, the key to engaging student readers is to create positive, enjoyable experiences around reading.

Erin is one of the “Crazy Reading Ladies,” a dynamic duo of educators who use innovative reading programs like author visits and book buffets to get students reading. Their creativity and dedication have helped students with reading barriers, like dyslexia, and inspired schools around the nation to adopt similar programs.

How do the “Crazy Reading Ladies” do it? In this four-part video segment, Erin shares insights and reading programs that could help your child or students.

Part 1: Give Them Great Books

In Part 1, Erin speaks about keeping good books in the lives of students and giving them the time and space to read.


Part 2: Make Reading Easier with Tools

In Part 2, Erin shares her experience with tools like Bookshare and explains how audio-supported reading is just as valid and acceptable as any other reading method.


Part 3: Build Their Confidence

In Part 3, Erin shares a success story with her 8th grader and how she helped build confidence in his reading skills with the help of Bookshare.


Part 4: Make Reading Social and Fun

In Part 4, Erin describes how planning school-wide initiatives like author visits and book buffets can help turn reading into a social experience.


The Bookshare team thanks Erin for sharing her tips and expertise. Learn more about “The Crazy Reading Ladies.”

Bookshare is FREE for qualified U.S. students with reading barriers.

It’s a Thrilling, Chilling, “Spooktober” Read-a-thon with Bookshare

2018 October 17
by Amreen Ahmed, Bookshare Operations Associate

Three jack-o-lanterns

As Halloween comes around the corner, it’s time to pick up mysteries, thrillers, and spooky stories to celebrate. Whether gritty true crime is your passion or you prefer a cozy mystery perfect for a fall night, Bookshare has reading lists filled with new and old favorites for you to enjoy.

True Crime for Adult Readers

Read the stories behind the headlines of American crime in these chilling novels.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – A case that haunted California for decades, the Golden State Killer was finally uncovered this year, in part due toI'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara the detective work and writing of Michelle McNamara. Her research is both thorough and thrilling and sure to keep you up at night.

Popular Crime by Bill James – This book takes a look at some of the most enduring and fascinating mysteries in American crime history. James investigates why crimes capture our attention and have changed our culture in this captivating read.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – The book that started the true crime novel genre, In Cold Blood follows the case of the Herbert Clutter family murders in Kansas. Read Capote’s lauded work and decide for yourself just how much is true.

View all the books in the True Crime reading list.

Cozy Mysteries Series for Teen and Adult Readers

Find a new series of murder mysteries perfect for reading with a slice of pumpkin pie.

Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A.L. Herbert – Join Halia Watkins in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where the soul food is hot and the murder is cold-blooded. Read along as Halia tries to solve a murder while keeping her restaurant running.Murder with Fried Chicken and Waffles by A. L. Herbert

On What Grounds by Cleo Coyle – Curl up with a hot cup of coffee as Clare Cosi returns to her barista life…and is immediately drawn into a mystery. While finding out who’s after her coworker, Clare also finds herself drawn to the cute cop on the case.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters – Dig in with Amelia Peabody as she travels to Egypt to join an archaeological dig with her new friend, Evelyn. However, things take a turn for the spooky when their mummy comes to life.

View all the books in the Cozy Mysteries Series.

Spooky Halloween Reads for Kids and Teens

Get kids and teens in the spirit of Halloween with these fun and spooky books.

Monsterland by James Crowley – On Halloween, Charlie discovers a new world in the woods, one filled with creatures he’s never seen before. Charlie sets out to find his cousin Billy and makes some new monster friends along the way.Monsterland by James Crowley

Shake dem Halloween Bones by W. Nikola-Lisa – Kids will love following along with the rhythm of this book about a hip-hop Halloween party.

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson – When Mila Flores’ best friend and two of the school mean girls die under mysterious circumstances, she decides to find her own answers by bringing the girls back to life. They only have a week to find out what really happened to their murderer…or else he might come back for Mila.

View all the books in the Spooky Halloween reading list.

Bookshare Has Mysteries and Thrillers Galore

And if that’s not enough to scare your socks off, Bookshare has over 53,000 total books in the mystery and thrillers category, including books in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Catalan, and Arabic. Read on…if you dare!

Learn more about Bookshare

Raising the Awareness of Dyslexia

2018 October 8
by Laura Deck, Bookshare Communications

80% of people believe dyslexia is associated with low intelligence. This is not true. Dyslexia occurs in people of all intellectual levels. Dyslexia is the most common learning difficulty and affects up to 20% of the population. Research has proven that students with dyslexia can learn to read when instruction is explicit and systematic; multisensory; consistent and frequent; phonics based; individualized; emotionally reinforcing.

Every October, during #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth, we join the chorus of voices raising awareness about dyslexia, a language-based learning disability that affects word recognition, spelling, and reading. Brain research says that with the right resources and accommodations, like accessible books and assistive technologies, people with dyslexia can break through reading barriers. Today we share the thoughts of Bookshare members (and their parents) to increase awareness of dyslexia.

Ryan, Paloma and Omree Share Success Stories

Ryan in Florida: Ryan was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade. As an auditory learner, he raised his reading ability to grade level with the help of text-to-speech audiobooks. “I wish someone had told us about Bookshare earlier and that using audiobooks is not a cop out. By listening to books Ryan enjoys, it has given him the confidence to try reading those books. He recognizes words in print because he has heard them being used through audiobooks,” says Tippi, Ryan’s mother.

Paloma in New Hampshire: At age 9, reading was so frustrating that Paloma wanted to quit. Then she was diagnosed with dyslexia. Even though she was very bright, her brain processed information differently. She reads books on her iPad with an app called Voice Dream Reader that allows her to listen to text-to-speech narration while following the highlighted text. Her father noticed an immediate improvement. Bookshare plus specialized instruction was the breakthrough Paloma needed to welcome reading back into her daily life.

Paloma reads an accessible ebook from the Bookshare library on her iPad

Paloma reads an accessible ebook from the Bookshare library on her iPad

Omree in California: In second grade, Omree’s teacher asked him to read aloud and he couldn’t do it. Testing by a reading specialist revealed that Omree had dyslexia. He signed up for Bookshare so he could read his textbooks with audio narration. “Reading digital text helps me to pay attention and read for longer periods of time. With Bookshare’s collection, I can dive into books and have no limits to hold me back. When that happens, people with dyslexia can do well in school and go to college.”

Tweets that Inspire Us

From Jennifer: My son listened to Hatchet by Gary Paulson for an entire weekend thanks to Bookshare…well above his reading level.

From Lesley: @Bookshare-Just downloaded all of our son’s grade 10 English books. Used the Dolphin Reader App-so easy. Keeping up with his peers regardless of his disabilities.

From mother of Bookshare member: My son said to thank you as he really loved Huckleberry Finn! It was a joy to watch him laugh as he listened and read. Amazing. He has an A in English with the support of Bookshare.

From Jenny B: My son with severe dyslexia will never be able to read books with his eyes. But he’s an avid reader thanks to Bookshare. Reading is taking in information. Doesn’t matter how you do it via eyes or ears. Don’t limit children by your definition of “reading.”

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. SeussFrom Jessica: Bragging moment: after years of struggling daily to read at grade level my daughter makes high honors in 7th grade! #dyslexia Thanks @Bookshare & all the other tools & teachers in her life!

From Dyslexic Star: Every day I am so thankful for @VoiceDreamApp and @Bookshare #dyslexicessentials

From Susannah: Listening to books via @CELAlibrary & @Bookshare using text highlighting in @VoiceDreamApp has been #1 best thing helping my dyslexic child improve reading fluency.

Keep the Advocacy Going Strong

Bookshare and Benetech, our parent nonprofit, salute the parents, educators, administrators, and others who support and advocate for students with learning disabilities. We echo the words of Dr. Seuss, in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! who encourages everyone to find the success that lies within. “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

Daniel’s Story: Vision Challenges Can’t Stop Joy of Reading

2018 September 26
by Laura Deck, Bookshare Communications

By Daniel Coney, guest author

Dan Coney sits in a chair and reads a book on his iPad

I have an inherited eye condition called pathological myopia. Unlike “normal” myopia, which tends to stabilize, my form continues worsening. This condition causes structural problems in the eye that often lead to vision loss later in life. While I have no memory of ever having good vision, I had little in the way of serious vision problems until about five years ago. Then, a series of retinal detachments left me blind in one eye. I am gradually losing vision in my remaining eye, though I am not yet legally blind.

I cannot read print or use a computer without magnification. I rely heavily on the accessibility features of my iPhone and iPad. Our public library offers a selection of ebooks that I listen to using my iOS Kindle app and Apple’s built-in screen reader. While the library can have a limited selection and long waiting lists, and the screen reader has limited functionality, they allowed me to “read.”

In July, to my great delight, I discovered Bookshare. The selection of materials available through Bookshare is simply astounding. I have yet to search for a title and not find it!  With a quick tap of a download button, my book is ready. I am reading a book or two a week.

1776 by David McCulloughI now use Voice Dream Reader. Its features are extensive and intuitive. I like the highly customizable display that lets me follow along as I listen. I use the iOS Samantha voice. Having grown very accustomed to it, I am able to listen to content at high replay speeds without sacrificing comprehension. I have tried other voices and settings but prefer that one. Most text-to-speech (TTS) voices seem better than one might expect, though getting accustomed to them can take some patience.

I enjoy a wide variety of genres and authors. I am especially fond of history, biographies, historical fiction and suspense novels, although I do not limit myself to just those. A few of the books that I’ve read recently are 1776 by David McCullough and The Rooster Bar by John Grisham.

I confess to sometimes being frustrated by my vision and missing the feel and smell of a book in my hands. However, I am exceedingly grateful for Bookshare offering all the content I could possibly want and for the devices and applications that let me so easily enjoy it.

In early 2017, with my ophthalmologist’s recommendation, I began studying braille. That is quite a journey in its own right. I enrolled with the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Bookshare membership is free for all currently enrolled Hadley students living in the United States. It was through Hadley, who are a wonderful group of people, that I learned about Bookshare. Hadley and Bookshare have proven to be great finds for me!The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

I have found the advice of others with vision problems very helpful and encourage others to seek any help they may need. I hope nobody lets vision difficulties rob them of the gift and joy of reading.

Dan lives in North Carolina with his wife of 35 years. They have two grown children and five granddaughters. He has a nearly forty-year career in banking. In addition to reading, he enjoys music, technology, the outdoors and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. @DanConey1

Bookshare would like to thank Dan for generously sharing his story.

Survey Says! Back-to-School Insights from Teachers of Students with Reading Barriers

2018 September 21
by Laura Deck, Bookshare Communications

All teachers understand the importance of giving students all the resources and tools they need to start school strong on day one. For students with disabilities, this readiness is even more critical since it is easy for them to fall behind. To assess the level of back-to-school preparedness for both teachers and students, Benetech, the parent company of Bookshare, recently surveyed 744 teachers across the United States who serve students with reading barriers including dyslexia, low vision, blindness, or a physical disability that interferes with reading. The survey asked if teachers felt prepared to start the school year, and if their students felt ready to start the school year.

Boy reading on a laptop and wearing headphones in a classroomTeachers Feel Prepared…Students: Not So Much

The respondents were special education teachers, the majority of them current or past Bookshare members. A little more than two-thirds of teachers said they were prepared for the new year. But only about 40 percent said that they agreed that their pupils with reading disabilities were prepared. About 39 percent said they neither agreed nor disagreed with that statement, and nearly 22 percent said they disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Three Factors Contribute to Student Readiness

The instructors surveyed said they were more likely to believe their students were prepared for the new year if they also agreed that their students had access to accessible texts and appropriate technology, and if the teachers felt supported by their administrators with the resources that the teachers need.

“The Benetech Back-to-School Survey takes the pulse of the dedicated teachers who serve students with reading barriers,” said Brad Turner, VP of Global Literacy, Benetech. “While numerous factors contribute to teachers feeling they and their students are prepared, the survey data shows that three factors pull significant weight with students and teachers: support from school administration, access to books in various formats, and access to technology resources. Other potential factors such as types of reading barriers, school location, and number of students did not demonstrate a large impact on feelings of student preparedness.”

View a detailed analysis of the data including an interactive data visualization. An extended alt-text description of the data visualization is also available.

Bookshare is an ebook library that makes reading easier. You can read in ways that work for you with ebooks in audio, audio + highlighted text, large text, and braille. With over 650,000 titles, you are sure to find the books you need for school, work, and the joy of reading. Bookshare is FREE for all qualified U.S. students and less than $1 per week for all other members.   

Beginning a New School Year with Bookshare

2018 September 19
by Mario Oliveros, Bookshare Marketing

These resources from a recent webinar help educators add students, assign books, and find reading tools so students can start school strong.

Beginning a New School Year with BookshareWhat do you do if you have students with reading barriers like dyslexia and printed text doesn’t work for them? On September 5, Bookshare held a webinar for educators that answered that question: Beginning the School Year with Bookshare. If you missed it, here are the valuable resources:

How do you see if a particular textbook is available?

You can search for books using the search box at the top of every page on the Bookshare website. For a more specific search, use Advanced Search.

How do students log in and access books?

Teachers can give students their own Bookshare logins by creating a username and password. Learn how to create student logins.

Where is the best place to start if you are inheriting Bookshare responsibilities and don’t know student usernames and passwords?

screen capture of web page with Reading ListsLog in to your account, select My Bookshare, and then select Membership. You will see the member roster and you can edit member information, including resetting passwords.

How does a student access an assigned reading list?

Students can log into Bookshare with their own username and password. They can select My Bookshare and then select My Reading Lists to view and read assigned books. Learn how students read assigned books.

When the AT department creates a district reading list for different grade levels, can sponsors assign students to that list?

If a Reading List is shared with an Organization (school or district), then all sponsors on the account can subscribe to the list and add student members. Learn how to use Reading Lists.

How do you remove books from a Reading List?

You can delete books from a Reading List by selecting the Reading List and then clicking on Remove in the Action column.

Can sponsors do all these things (as primary contacts), or do they have limited access?

Sponsors can perform all functions of a primary contact, except deleting multiple members at once.

Do English language learners (ELLs) qualify for Bookshare?

ELL status does not qualify a student for Bookshare; however, if an ELL student also has a qualifying print disability, he or she may join Bookshare. Learn more about qualifications.

How do you request a book? What is the turnaround time?

Go to the Help Center, select Request a Book, and then select Book Request Form. Book requests can take several months to be completed, depending upon the availability, length, and complexity of the book. We recommend submitting requests with this timing in mind. When you submit a request, a confirmation will be emailed to you. You can see the request status by going to My Bookshare and selecting My Requests. Learn more about book requests.

Does Bookshare work with a Kindle?

Compatible Bookshare apps are not available on Kindle; however, you can still read Bookshare books. Learn more about ebook readers.

Can you change the voice that is reading the book to you?

Voices are dependent upon the device and reading tool you are using. Most tools have an option to in the audio settings to select from available voices.

How do you go back to where you left off in a book?

Bookshare Web Reader screen showing text from All American Boys

Bookshare Web Reader highlights text as digital voice reads aloud

As long as you are reading with the same application on the same device, applications like Bookshare Web Reader will pick up where you left off. Note that if you do not allow cookies, the application will not retain your last reading position.

Do you need to use certain web browsers to access Bookshare Web Reader?

For full functionality including highlighting and self-voicing, use the following browsers for Web Reader:

  • Google Chrome version 33+
  • Safari version 6.1+
  • Chromebooks version 14+
  • Coming soon: Microsoft Edge

How do you bookmark in Bookshare Web Reader?

You cannot bookmark in Bookshare Web Reader; however, when using the same device it will remember where you last exited the program. Compatible apps like Read&Write and Snap&Read can enhance your reading experience on Bookshare Web Reader. Visit the Reading Tool Wizard to learn more.

What is the best download file to get pictures along with the story on an iPad? Do any of the readers besides iBooks allow for pictures?

Screen capture showing listing for Because of Winn-Dixie with file format optionsIf you use iBooks, download the EPUB format. Voice Dream Reader also allows images (make sure to adjust settings to be in rich text mode). Note that not all books have images.

How do you add a student who already has an Individual Membership?

To link a student’s existing Individual Membership to your organizational account, visit our Help Center.

If students are changed from an Organizational Member to an Individual Member, is the organization responsible for books that students add on their own?

No. With an Individual Membership, students can search the entire Bookshare collection and read any books they choose. If the accounts are linked, educators can still assign books to students via Reading Lists. Learn how to set up an Individual Membership.

Be sure to visit the Help Center for more answers, training resources, how-to guides, and instructional videos.

Catching up with Jessica Pinto: Bookshare Superstar and Disability Rights Advocate

2018 September 12

That was then…

When we first met Jessica Pinto in 2008, she was in eighth grade at Kennedy Middle School inJessica Pinto in eighth grade Albuquerque, New Mexico. In this video, Jessica explains how cerebral palsy made it extremely difficult for her to hold standard printed books and how Bookshare was a game changer for her because it let her read digital books independently.

This is now…

Fast forward ten years when I recently had the pleasure of learning about Jessica’s journey since 2008.

How long have you been a Bookshare member?

When I was in eighth grade, Megan Shanley, AT specialist for Albuquerque public schools, introduced Bookshare to me. She knew I hated reading and thought that Bookshare would make it easier for me. She said, “You are going to love this!” And I did.

What was your reading experience like before you started usingJessica Pinto is sitting in a wheelchair and using a MacBook Bookshare?

I always enjoyed stories, but holding a book physically was nearly impossible for me due to my cerebral palsy. I also needed books with large print. My mom would have to read to me because it was so exhausting and difficult for me to hold a book. Now I love reading because I can read what I want by myself.

Which reading tools and devices do you use?

Bookshare has improved so much over the years. Now there are so many formats available. When I read on my MacBook, I download the EPUB format because it is compatible with iBooks, and I also use the Read2Go app on my iPad and iPhone.

What do you think of the digital text-to-speech voices?

I like them a lot because they have improved so much over the years and I am accustomed to them. I particularly like an Acapela voice called Heather. 

Which features are especially helpful?

I enlarge the font and use the word-highlighting feature to help me see the words better.

How did Bookshare help you in high school?

I mostly used it in English class when we read novels and classic literature. The books were always available in Bookshare. I think it’s so awesome that the books come in many formats, including braille, and are available in foreign languages.

What have you been doing since high school graduation?A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell

Many things! After high school, I took one college course and it was challenging for me, so I had to reevaluate what I wanted to do. One thing I am very passionate about is advocating for people with special needs. I participate on some human rights committees. People crave my input on this topic because I represent the community.

Once a week I teach computer skills to persons with special needs. I created a curriculum and love helping people who are afraid of computers. I tell them that whichever button they press, the computer won’t explode! In addition, I recently completed a contract position doing data entry and hope to do more computer work.

Employers look at people with special needs and only see their limitations and disabilities, not their capabilities. It’s so frustrating because I have been offered a few jobs and I say, “But I can do so much more!” It is important to me to make a difference and advocate for people with special needs.

How do you use Bookshare in your day-to-day life?A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

I mostly read for pleasure now that I’m not in school any more. Books offer escapism, enjoyment, and fulfillment. I have read seven books so far this year and that never would have happened without Bookshare. I have three favorite authors at the moment: Bella Forrest, Christina Lauren, and Colleen Hoover. I just finished A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell because I want to compare the book with the movie.

What advice do you have for students with disabilities?

Give Bookshare a try and don’t give up on reading and learning! I know how frustrating it can be to read, but Bookshare has so many tools that make it easier. George R.R. Martin said it best in A Dance with Dragons: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

The Bookshare team thanks Jessica for sharing her story. @jessrocks300

Bookshare is FREE for qualified U.S. students with reading barriers.