Bookshare offers special summer reading lists for hours of enjoyment
The lazy days of summer are just around the corner, but before students trade backpacks and lunch boxes for swim suits and flip flops, make sure they have plenty of books to keep them reading throughout the summer.
Summer Road Trip Reading Lists are Here
The Bookshare team has hand-picked books for three special collections so members can take a virtual voyage across the United States with Road Trip Reading Lists. Each collection has 102 titles containing two books for each state, plus Washington D.C., so you can read your way across the U.S. of A.
- Road Trip Books for Middle Grades – including The Danger Box set in Michigan or Dead End in Norvelt set in Pennsylvania
- Road Trip Books for Young Adults – including Skink–No Surrender set in Florida or Go Big or Go Home set in South Dakota
- Road Trip Books for Adults – including Pilgrim at Tinker Creek set in Virginia or Hidden in Plain View set in South Carolina
You can use the category filter to browse the collections by state. You can also subscribe to an entire list and access all of the books from your own Reading List.
And for young readers ages 5-10, Summer Fun for Young Readers features 20 books with gems like Steam Train, Dream Train and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes.
Follow these steps to make sure your students can continue to use Bookshare on their own and build reading skills over the summer.
- Give students access at home (2 options)
- Student Login – students can log in and read books assigned by you
- Individual Membership – students can log in, find their own books, and read independently
- Set them up with a reading tool that works for them
- Assign books – choose books from the Summer Reading Lists or dozens of other lists
Tips to Encourage Summer Reading
- Listen to audiobooks in a hammock, blanket fort, or on a road trip
- Choose books from the summer reading lists about your state or a state you plan to visit this summer
- Encourage kids to read what their friends are reading with help from TTS and word highlighting
- Download all the books in a series by a favorite author to solve the problem of what to read next
- Try “popcorn” or apprentice reading with a friend or family member – take turns reading passages aloud
- Try side-by-side silent reading (adults: turn off the TV and model independent reading) – you might be surprised at the quality and depth of YA fiction
- Host an informal book club (with snacks!)
- Encourage “free-range” reading – kids have the freedom to choose what, where and when to read
- Read purely for enjoyment – no quizzes, book reports, or vocabulary tests
- Share favorite books on social media like @teenreads or #shelfies
Share Your Favorite Books
¿Sabías que Bookshare tiene más de 15.000 títulos en español? Hay cuatro nuevas colecciones especiales que destacan nuestros libros en español en la página de navegar. No importa si es un hispanohablante o está aprendiendo el idioma, explorar nuestras colecciones para libros divertidos y engancharen. Estos libros son para lectores adolescentes y adultos.
Did you know that Bookshare has over 15,000 titles in Spanish? The browse page features four special collections that highlight some of our Spanish books. Whether Spanish is your native tongue or if you are learning the language, explore our new collections for fun and engaging reads. These books are for young adult and adult readers.
High-Low Books for Young Adults in Spanish
This collection features twenty high-low titles for young adult readers (ages 13+/grades 8+) available in Spanish. High-low titles have high interest subject matter that is easy to read. These books feature simple vocabulary that helps readers gain confidence and build fluency and proficiency.
For students who are native Spanish speakers and have reading barriers such as dyslexia, learning to read in their native language can help build phonological awareness and comprehension skills that can transfer to reading in English.
Or, for students who are learning Spanish, these books are an effective way to build reading skills in a foreign language. And guess what? Every title in this collection is also available in English, including:
Popular Series Books for Young Adults in Spanish
If you are a teacher, this scenario may be familiar to you: You just got a new student, but she has a documented learning disability and is an English language learner. How will you find books that are accessible, in her native language, so she can read what the rest of the class is reading until her English improves? Check out these lists of popular books and series:
Sagas Literarias Para Adolescentes y Jóvenes Adultos – 71 books for ages 8+/grades 3+ including:
- El Caballo y El Muchacho (The Horse and His Boy) by C.S. Lewis (and the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia)
- Danza de Dragones (Dances with Dragons) by George R. R. Martin (and the rest of The Song of Ice and Fire series)
Libros Populares Para Adolescentes y Jóvenes Adultos – 75 books for ages 13+/grades 8+ including:
- Mil Veces Hasta Siempre (Turtles All the Way Down) by John Green
- Las Ventajas de Ser Invisible (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) by Stephen Chbosky
Books for Adults in Spanish
Penguin Clásicos – This robust collection of 125 literary classics from Shakespeare to Benito Pérez Galdós is perfect for fluent readers of Spanish, including:
Use Advanced Search to Find Foreign Language Books
In addition to Spanish, Bookshare has books in 34 other languages, with more added every month. You can use Advanced Search to specify the language, genre, category, author, and other criteria to help you find what you are looking for. The Bookshare team is working hard to bring more accessible ebooks to readers around the world.
from → bookshare
In Part I, “The Crazy Reading Ladies” explained how they turned Horace Mann Middle School into the school that reads, and in Part 2, they discussed how assistive technology enhances the reading experience and delivers social and academic benefits. In Part 3, “The Crazy Reading Ladies” share tips to get kids reading, favorite books and authors, and more student success stories.
Teachers are incredibly resourceful and creative when it comes to helping students thrive in school. Erin and Mary, affectionately known as “The Crazy Reading Ladies” by their students, have honed their tried-and-true techniques for converting reluctant readers to bookworms.
Top 10 Tips to Engage Reluctant Readers
- Have good books available. Advertise them on bulletin boards, in the cafeteria, and in the bathroom stalls.
- Read what the kids are reading. Allows you to recommend books and engage them in conversation.
- Bless their choices. When a child talks to you about a book, say “I read that too and can’t wait to talk to you about it” or “I haven’t read that one yet. Let me know how you like it!”
- Create a culture of literacy where the expectation is that everybody is reading.
- Always have the next book suggestion in mind. If a student comes to you looking for a book, make sure they don’t leave empty-handed. “If you liked X, then try Y.”
- Give them permission to abandon a book. Life’s too short for bad books.
- Use books to build relationships with kids. Find common ground through books.
- Read aloud. People often assume that middle school students are too old to be read to, or they don’t enjoy it. Our kids love it.
- Celebrate successes. Take a picture of that kid who just finished a book. Tweet it out and tag the author!
- Give students time and space to read. If you’re worried about people seeing kids “just reading,” hang a poster in your classroom proclaiming what’s really happening: kids are practicing empathy, visualizing, learning about history, taking a different perspective, improving their fluency, and developing their vocabulary.
Bookshare has all of these books available for download in a variety of formats:
- Monster by Walter Dean Myers
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- Twerp by Mark Goldblatt
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
- The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
- The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
- Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
- Series such as: The Hunger Games, Sylo, Harry Potter, The Red Queen, Matched
“Go To” Authors that Teachers Can Recommend with Confidence
- Margaret Peterson Haddix – teen fiction
- Ellen Hopkins – teen fiction
- April Henry – mystery/thrillers
- Jordan Sonnenblick – “Tuesdays with Morrie” for teens
- Ruta Sepetys – historical fiction
- Mike Lupica – novels about sports and athletes
More Student Success Stories
Erin: Dylan, a 7th grader, only read two books last year, one of which was Henry and Ribsy, a book for elementary students. So far this year he has read eight books. His oral fluency has increased from 78 words per minute (below 2nd grade level) to 161 wpm (above 7th grade level). This breakthrough isn’t the result of extraordinary teaching; it’s what happens when kids read (special thank you to author M.P. Haddix, whose books hooked him big time!)
Mary: Can we talk about my son, Vinnie? He’s an intelligent kid who just didn’t like to be bothered with reading; however, he loves a good story. With the help of the audio narration, he read Holes, and he never had a book hook him like Holes did. He talked about it daily. A year later, he will still tell you it’s his favorite book. He loved the characters, the fight for justice at Camp Green Lake, the serpentine storyline, and how it all came together at the end.
Erin: Sometimes students use Bookshare as the gateway to reading. They let it build their confidence and then find that they don’t need it all the time. Alex, a 7th grader, started a book using the audio only and then continued reading on his own about halfway through. He stated simply, “I know how it sounds now.”
Erin and Mary: Every student’s needs are different, and Bookshare allows them to customize their reading experience in whatever way works best, whether that’s audio only, text with audio, or text only using whatever reading tool or app they prefer. These successes do more than increase comprehension. They heal the relationship these kids have had with books, and once they have a positive experience, they’re willing to do it again. We hope that these tips and examples will help your students go “all in” with reading.
Bookshare would like to thank Erin and Mary for generously sharing their stories and expertise. Learn more about “The Crazy Reading Ladies.”
In Part 1, “The Crazy Reading Ladies,” Erin O’Leary and Mary Cotillo, explain how they turned Horace Mann Middle School into the school that reads.
In Part 2, “The Crazy Reading Ladies” discuss how assistive technology (AT) enhances the reading experience and delivers social and academic benefits. This blog is part two of a three-part series.
Which reading tools and devices do your students prefer?
Erin: We are incredibly fortunate that our school has implemented a 1:1 Chromebook program. This has allowed our kids to remain logged in to their Bookshare and Capti accounts throughout the day without having to remember those pesky passwords! About 75% of my students who use audiobooks prefer the Capti add-on to their Bookshare experience. They tell me the voices are better. We’re also big believers in training students to be their own advocates so they can adjust the background color, font size, or reading speed. I love that they are taking ownership of the experience and doing whatever works for them.
I have one student who prefers listening to readers with an accent. She has her Capti/Bookshare set to the British voice. And there’s evidence to back that up – some students find it easier to attend to a listening task when the voice is different. One 7th grader told me about the “sweet set-up” he has in his room – he has Bookshare coming through a Bluetooth sound system!
What are the benefits of audiobooks?
Mary: We know that audiobooks are a wonderful thing, so we make them available for all students. We talk about audiobooks we’ve enjoyed, we model their use in class, and we continually add to our collection. We’ve worked really hard to normalize them. It’s not unusual for ten or twelve kids to stop by and borrow headphones during silent reading because they enjoy the experience of listening to a story. Audiobooks are also discreet, which is critical because no middle schooler wants to look different. When you’re plugged into headphones, no one knows whether you’re listening to Bruno Mars or Harper Lee.
How does Bookshare and AT help your students socially?
Erin: We believe reading is even better when you can share the experience with others, and adolescents are inherently social. When my students can read the same books as their friends, they will find that books are a terrific conduit for social interactions. For example, one boy confided in me that he really wanted to read The Red Pyramid because so many of his friends had recommended it. Now, this was a double-deficit student who has slow automaticity combined with significant decoding deficits. I knew I would be setting him up for failure by handing him the paperback, so I gave him the book on Bookshare. He read it, and an entire social experience opened up for him.
I also had a group of 6th grade girls who were practically allergic to reading. They weren’t reading at home and had every excuse in the book. They talked about “not understanding” or having “a terrible memory for books.” Then we got the audio version of Unbroken. Those girls changed almost overnight. They would come into class and say, “Can we please just read today?” That same book proved to be the very first book one of our 8th graders read on his own, thanks to the audio.
I have two 6th grade boys who are reading Stormbreaker on Bookshare right now. I love listening to them talk to each other: “It’s good, right?” “Do you think the uncle is really dead?” “I’m not sure.”
Next Up in Part 3
- Erin and Mary’s top ten tips to get kids reading
- Favorite books and go-to authors to engage “dormant” readers
- Even more student success stories
Part 1: How “The Crazy Reading Ladies” turned Horace Mann Middle School into the school that reads. This blog is part one of a three-part series.
The expectations of middle school are daunting enough without the added challenges for students with learning disabilities. Students who have difficulty with reading find themselves at a disadvantage that has repercussions academically and socially.
Fortunately, Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, Massachusetts, has Erin O’Leary and Mary Cotillo, affectionately known by their students as “The Crazy Reading Ladies.” Erin is a reading specialist who provides intensive reading instruction in both pull-out and inclusion classes. Her students’ abilities range from below grade-level performance in reading fluency and comprehension to significantly impaired decoding or processing deficits.
Mary is the assistant principal and a former 8th grade ELA teacher who teamed up with Erin several years ago. They found themselves in each other’s classrooms daily, brainstorming ideas, crafting lessons, and talking about kids and books. Their friendship has since developed into a highly successful partnership, focused on putting good books in the hands of students and building a community of readers and literacy.
In this blog, and the two that follow, Erin and Mary share their wildly successful tips, techniques, and philosophy on removing barriers to reading and getting reluctant students to succeed. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What advice can you offer to teachers who serve students with learning disabilities?
Erin: Many of our students have a negative association with reading because someone, somewhere, made them believe they weren’t good at it. These kids are nothing short of traumatized. We’ve coined the term Post-Traumatic Reading Disorder, and it is a very real thing. Teachers who serve students with learning disabilities see this every day in the kid who says he “hates reading” or that he’s “bad at it.” They see it in the child who hops out of her seat to use the bathroom when silent reading time comes around.
How do you heal the traumatic relationship with books? Bring good books into their lives. Read aloud. Use audiobooks. Reading simply has to be the expectation. We won’t tell students what to read, but we tell them reading isn’t optional. Students have a lot of excuses, and we have to be patient. We have to create positive experiences and believe for them until they believe in themselves.
How do you incorporate assistive technology (AT) into your reading program?
Mary: Over the years, we’ve tried a lot: tablets, laptops, apps, extensions, you name it. AT is thrown around as an effective means of supporting students, but it’s often messy and complicated. Although various options exist, educators will tell you they aren’t always as easy as they appear. It has to work, and it has to be close to effortless. We joke, “If it’s not as easy as Netflix, our kids won’t use it.” This is where the simple features of Bookshare and Capti Voice have won our kids over and been our biggest successes.
Some people say that audiobooks hinder a child’s ability to improve reading skills. What are your thoughts on this?
Mary: How do you become a better swimmer? You swim. How do you get better at free throws? Shoot lots of free throws. Same goes for reading. It’s easy to get caught up in the next-best reading program, but the best way to improve students’ reading (and writing) abilities is to let them read. This is where Bookshare comes in. By providing audio support, Bookshare alleviates the decoding task so students can focus on visualizing, connecting, and keeping track of what’s going on in the story. Then their confidence increases because they’ve understood and been able to talk about it in class. Once they’ve got a few books under their belt, some of those kids are right up at grade level.
Can you share a success story of a student who regained confidence in reading?
Erin: Aidan, an 8th grade boy, was very frustrated with reading. He was afraid he wasn’t good at it, so he chose to hate it. He had not developed an attention span for reading and would spend his time staring at a single page or looking around the classroom. I suggested he try Bookshare. Although initially wary, he agreed to give it a shot. He recently finished April Henry’s Girl, Stolen. Finishing and understanding a book was such an accomplishment for him. That one win is the start to rebuilding his confidence.
Next up in Part 2:
- How students use AT to personalize their reading experience
- The social benefits of cultivating a community of readers
- More student success stories
About The Crazy Reading Ladies
In a stroke of serendipity only fans of fine literature can imagine, Erin O’Leary and Mary Cotillo met while teaching together at Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin, Massachusetts. It was there they earned both a reputation and title: “The Crazy Reading Ladies.” This reading specialist and ELA teacher-turned-administrator stop at nothing to motivate adolescents to read and leave them wanting more. Their school-wide reading initiative, All In!™ is currently in its seventh iteration and has been implemented in schools in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Florida. In 2017 they authored the YA version of Battle of the Books for Random House Publishing, Co. Previously, they’ve “put to work” books by Una LaMarche, Ellen Hopkins, Jack Gantos, and Ruta Sepetys. Their energetic and engaging style makes them sought-after presenters at local and international conferences. They provide professional development at the school and district levels. Contact them at email@example.com for options and availability. Follow their trials and triumphs at crazyreadingladies.blogspot.com and on Twitter and Instagram.
By Jim Fruchterman, CEO, Benetech
We stand on the threshold of ending the global book famine for people who read differently due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability that interferes with reading. A bill to ratify and implement the Marrakesh Treaty was just introduced in the United States Senate by the chairs and ranking members of the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees. This bipartisan bill makes it possible for organizations such as Benetech to create accessible versions of books for all types of readers and to share them across borders through a copyright exception. As a result, millions of people worldwide will be able to read in ways that work for them.
The bill represents a consensus effort that involved all of the key stakeholders, from authors and publishers, to libraries and the organized blind, diplomats, copyright experts, and our Congress. We especially want to acknowledge the efforts of Scott LaBarre and the National Federation of the Blind for continuing to push for the Treaty’s adoption, and those of Professor Justin Hughes who led the U.S. delegation that negotiated the Treaty and played an important role catalyzing consensus.
Momentum is on our side. Europe as a block already committed to complete the ratification process this year. With the United States acting now, the Marrakesh Treaty is poised to play a pivotal role in solving the global book famine.
At Benetech, we are especially excited about this prospect. The Treaty will enable a true global library for the blind and other people who read differently. Benetech just released a Marrakesh Treaty implementation guide, which shows how our pioneering Bookshare model could solve the global book famine once and for all with relatively modest amounts of funding given the enabling policy environment created by the Marrakesh Treaty.
We’re looking forward to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on April 18th as we move one step closer to making sure all people around the world have access to books that work for them!
Children need and deserve books that reflect themselves and the diversity of the world around them. In addition to people of color, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the popular media. For many children and teens with disabilities, it is difficult to find books with accurate portrayals of disabilities. With this gap in mind, Bookshare has assembled four new collections that feature characters with learning disabilities and visual impairments, because everyone has differences and abilities and representation matters.
Books that Feature Characters with Learning Disabilities
For middle school readers (20 books for ages 8-12/grades 3-7):
- Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff – Sam must solve the mystery of who he really is, but he has trouble reading the clues he finds in the attic and turns to his friend Caroline for help.
- Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time) by Margaret Rooke – In more than 100 interviews, children and young adults reveal their personal tips and tactics for honing the creative benefits of dyslexia, enabling them to thrive in school and beyond.
For Young Adult (YA) readers (18 books for ages 13+/grades 8+):
- Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt – Fourteen year-old Doug just moved to a new town and struggles to rise above being an outcast and find friends who appreciate his talents and intelligence.
- Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt – Even though sixth grader Ally is smart, her dyslexia makes school a lonely and unsuccessful place until a substitute teacher helps her see herself beyond a label.
Books that Feature Characters with Visual Impairments
All of the novels in these two collections feature a character who is blind or has a visual impairment.
For middle school readers: (25 books for ages 8-12/grades 3-7)
- As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds – Two brothers spend the summer with their grandfather who is blind and learn what it means to become brave and own up to what you will or won’t do.
- A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel – After her family moves from Seattle to Sinkville, Alice finds herself floundering until she enters an essay contest and proves that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be.
“I was born with albinism and a visual impairment and don’t remember ever reading about a character with my issues. Most movies and books get it wrong or they mock it. This book got it right. I love how the story revealed Alice’s strengths to herself as well as to the reader. When your normal is different, you can feel weak and unselfconfident.” – Elizabeth Tetley (from reader reviews of A Blind Guide to Stinkville on Amazon)
For YA readers (25 books for ages 13+/grades 8+):
- Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom – Parker Grant is a high school girl who doesn’t want different treatment because she is blind. As she tries to navigate her life after her father’s death, she learns that everyone has blind spots, whether they are visually impaired or not.
- The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill – Baggy is 14 and in a strange country with his camera, his best friend Abigail, and her guide dog Curly Conner. They uncover a secret about the Heartstone of Arden-Goth in this fast-paced adventure mystery.
Even More Books
- Schneider Family Book Award winners – books that embody the disability experience
- Deaf Special Collection – 150 books by and about members of the deaf community
- Deaf-Blind Special Collection – 73 books by and about members of the deaf-blind community
- Heroes with Disabilities – books about the experiences of children with a variety of disabilities
Special thanks to Emily Nostro who contributed to this blog.
By guest author Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, PhD, ATP
What a great fortune it is to work in an environment where every student is issued a Chromebook in grades 1-8. This is a HUGE game changer in the delivery of AT. In working with students who require AEM (Accessible Educational Materials), we use Bookshare, a free service that provides hundreds of thousands of print materials to qualifying individuals.
Bookshare suggests many reading tools that have been selected by users. On the Chromebook side, we have been using the Bookshare Web Reader, which is integrated into Chrome. However, for some of the students I work with, the Chrome OS text-to-speech (TTS) voice is “very robotic,” “not natural,” and “bothersome” (I tend to concur, and would love a day when Chrome OS would deliver a Native TTS voice that is comparable to Apple’s Alex or to a human-narrated voice).
Until that day arrives, we’ve come up with a workaround that has proven to be effective with these students. By overlapping Read and Write for Google’s web-based TTS reader to read Bookshare books to students, it’s become a well received option to providing access to Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) for our students. Read and Write is an easy-to-use tool that students are familiar with, is provided to every student in our district, and has a nice variety of voices. Plus, the word highlighting is more pronounced.
To see how this works, I’ve created a brief video to illustrate the point:
Sometimes, a simple workaround is all that is needed to continue to provide access to content in a way that most makes sense for the end user. If you’re in need of a Chromebook option for a better voice for Bookshare’s Web Reader, consider using Read and Write in concert.
Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, PhD, is a RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America) certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP), who specializes in breaking barriers to learning through the use of Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning. This blog originally appeared on Hillary’s website and has been reposted with her permission.
Teachers and parents share how Bookshare helps remove reading barriers for students
We love our members – and the teachers, parents, and other caring individuals who support our members. We celebrate every success of every student who overcomes reading barriers with the help of Bookshare and assistive technology. And, since good news is meant to be shared, here are some recent tweets that celebrate reading success.
Tweets from Teachers
From @allinreading: In recent days I’ve been sitting back watching my 6th graders log on to @CaptiVoice and @Bookshare independently. They are reading at home and in school. They are talking about books, and they can do it on their own. I can’t believe we got here.
From Christina: @Bookshare is a great resource. If your child has an IEP and needs access to audio or digital books, ask your school about it. #specialeducation
From Hillary: Today’s mashup: @Bookshare Web Reader + @BeeLineReader + @texthelp as TTS support = student responding: “I want to find more books to read on my #Chromebook!” #a11y #AEM #ilovemyjob
From Jane: Parents, does your child have a learning disability? They may qualify for @Bookshare which is a FREE, life-changing resource for struggling readers #Dyslexia #tlchat #educhat
From Janea: Best day ever! Empowered an 11th grader with these tools. Now sees college as an attainable goal. @DonJohnstonInc @Bookshare #ADEChat
From Christina: Bookshare removes reading barriers & is a fantastic toolbox for educators! A game changer for people with print disabilities. Bookshare is the world’s largest online library of accessible ebooks. #Bookshare @Bookshare #Reading #Literacy #UDL
From Tiffany: Life depends on reading today. Kids want to read and be successful at it. We have to help them find their way to be successful. I have seen kids get the reading bug thanks to @Bookshare and @Learning_Ally
From Deb: @Bookshare is an amazing program that helps students with print disabilities get free access to audiobooks! Amazing!!
From Dyslexic Star: Every day I am so thankful for @VoiceDreamApp and @Bookshare #dyslexicessentials
Tweets from Parents
From Jessica: Bragging moment: after years of struggling daily to read at grade level my daughter makes high honors in 7th grade! #dyslexia #nevergivesup #hardworker #determinedchild #proudmom Thanks @Bookshare & all the other tools & teachers in her life! #sayDyslexia #readtothemdaily
From Susannah: Listening to books via @CELAlibrary & @Bookshare via @calgarylibrary using text highlighting in @VoiceDreamApp has been #1 best thing helping my dyslexic child improve reading fluency. Need to increase access & ensure teachers & students are aware of these services.
From Tamara: I’m absolutely LOVING that my daughter can read about #elizabethcotten thanks to @Bookshare @VoiceDreamApp #Nystagmus #NystagmusAwareness #AssistiveTech #lowvision
“I want to read Wonder right now. All of my friends have read it or are going to read it and I couldn’t. I want to read it when I am getting ready for bed tonight.” From student to parent after seeing @Bookshare for the first time.
From mother of Bookshare member: Thanks again for all the support. 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.
Join the Conversation on Twitter and Facebook
@Bookshare on Twitter and Bookshare on Facebook are wonderful places to share ideas, successes, and recommendations…or to get answers to your questions from the Bookshare community. We invite you to join the conversation. Click on the icons to get started.
By Nicholas Bowen, Bookshare Customer Support Manager
Every day the Bookshare Customer Support team receives questions from members through many channels: telephone, email, website contact forms, Twitter, Facebook, Discussion Forum, and at conferences. Certain questions come up repeatedly, so here is an initial attempt to solve a few mysteries, resolve conundrums, and spread general enlightenment. Look for additional blogs covering more questions – from basic to advanced — down the road.
Bookshare Customer Support Team is Small, but Mighty
To give you some perspective, here are some impressive 2017 statistics about the Customer Support team that supports over 550,000 members:
- Handled 48,000 customer requests with an average response time of 1.5 business hours
- Processed 15,000 membership registration forms
- Responded to 700 inquiries on the Bookshare Discussion Forum
- Provided additional support to Bookshare International team, four state library partners, Bookshare Outreach Coordinators in Texas, and institutional partners in the U.K., Canada, and India
Common Questions from Members
Where do I find text-to-speech voices that sound the most human?
Ultimately, members’ personal preferences determine voice selection; however, Bookshare highly
recommends Voice Dream Reader and Dolphin Easy Reader applications (available for iOS and Android) that include options to purchase a wide range of high quality, computer-generated voices. We encourage members to browse the voices to find the best one for them.
Can students download books independently or do teachers have to assign every book?
Bookshare has two levels of student memberships: a Student Access membership and a full Individual Membership. Both accounts allow students to log into Bookshare and access books independently. Students with Student Access accounts can only access books a teacher has assigned through Reading Lists. However, if students upgrade to the full Individual Membership, they can download books without needing a teacher to assign them.
Why can’t I use Bookshare Web Reader with Internet Explorer?
You can use Internet Explorer (IE) to open books with Bookshare’s free Web Reader, and many members use IE and screen readers to provide audio. However, IE doesn’t support integrated text-to-speech, so for members who want to use Web Reader’s built-in text-to-speech capability, they have to use Chrome or Safari browsers.
Why isn’t Bookshare Web Reader reading?
As mentioned previously, audio for the Web Reader only functions in the Google Chrome or Safari
browsers on PCs or Macs and is not supported on mobile devices. If you are using Web Reader on Chrome, and pressing the Play button turns it orange, but provides no audio, it’s likely your browser has an extension installed that is causing a conflict. Go to chrome://extensions and temporarily disable all extensions and try again. Assuming this works, re-enable the extensions one by one until the culprit has been identified. For more information view our Web Reader TTS troubleshooting help article.
What do I do if I can’t find a book I need?
First, if you are searching by ISBN, try using variations of the author or title. It’s common for the same book to have multiple ISBNs associated with it, and while we are working on making our search function smarter in these situations, we still have a bit of work to do. If you still cannot find it, submit a book request and we will add the book to Bookshare.
Many thanks to Rasa, Jerri, Angela, Allison, and Jessy for their dedication and exceptional service. Bookshare members say it best: “Every time I contact Bookshare, the staff has always been helpful. You are doing a great job.”
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