With the Labor Day holiday behind us, there’s no doubt that you are in the full swing of back-to-school. Last month, we helped you get your Bookshare accounts up-to-date. Did you find the time to complete the easy steps? If not, check out our August Back-to-School post.
This month, our aim is to help you prepare students to get the most out of Bookshare for learning in the classroom. Educators always tell us that their students with print disabilities feel a true sense of empowerment when they can read independently and take part in classroom discussions.
Jessica Chandler, a teacher of the visually impaired and certified orientation and mobility specialist in Middletown City Schools, Ohio, says, “I believe students can become more independent learners early in life if we empower them to use digital accessible books and reading technologies as early as possible.”
How Can You Empower Your Students?
Make sure they have a reading tool that they feel comfortable with and that provides the accessibility features they need. Many reading tools allow students to do the following:
- Hear words read aloud with high-quality human-sounding voices
- Read multi-modally (see and hear words read aloud as the text is highlighted)
- Read with refreshable braille
- Take notes and use study tools
Did you know that Bookshare offers a number of great reading tools that are FREE for student members?
Yes! You can install these tools on school computers for use by qualified Bookshare members, and students or their parents can install them on home or personal computers to extend learning after the school bell rings. Install a free reading tool today!
In addition to Bookshare’s free reading tools, there are many other great products that can help your students. Visit our Reading Tools section to learn about other Bookshare-compatible reading tools that work on tablets, phones, or other devices.
These tools can empower your students today for a lifetime of digital learning and reading. Go for it and good luck!
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Throughout August, we’re encouraging students to get ready for the new school year. You can start this now and get on the right foot by reading this blog and following the steps below. In our last blog post, you read how to make sure your school or home accounts are up-to-date. Today, let’s make sure you’ve got your books!
Get the books you need!
Start by getting your required book list from your school or DSS office, then follow these steps to success:
Go to www.bookshare.org and log in.
- Use the search feature located at the top of every page to look for books by title, author, or ISBN. You can also visit the Support Center for advanced search tips!
- If you’ve got your book, you’re all set and can save them to your Reading List for easier access later on.
- Can’t find the book you need? Visit our Support Center for tips on finding similar versions of the book you need and how to request that Bookshare add titles to the collection.
- You can also check out our nifty “Learn It Now” tutorial. It will show you a step-by-step demonstration on searching and browsing for books!
Did you know that Bookshare has a number of useful tutorials?
Visit the Bookshare YouTube channel and subscribe today!
This month we’re encouraging educators and parents to get ready for the new school year. If you missed our first blog, Back-to-School with Bookshare, please take a look now and share it.
In this blog, we want to address parents. Starting the school year off right can set the tone for the entire year—especially when it comes to reading for children with print disabilities. Many Bookshare parents, like you, have told us about the challenges of preparing early and getting resources and support that their child needs at the beginning of the school year.
Texas parents, Robbi and Andrew Cooper like to prepare early. Their son Ben, a seventh grader, has struggled with reading since he was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade.
Robbi says that talking with teachers, AT specialists, librarians, principals, and the people in charge of curriculum can make all the difference! “We make plans and talk with teachers prior to the start of each school year and it works,” said Robbi.
“Ben’s teachers have a better understanding of his reading challenges, and we set a plan in motion for the accommodations and support he needs to be successful. Turns out accessible books and technologies are the winning combination for my son! Bookshare has enhanced his love of literature while he continues to build a strong vocabulary.”
Robbi encourages other parents to tell school administrators that an organizational membership to Bookshare is free, and that children who qualify should have both individual and organizational memberships so they can get their schoolbooks, including textbooks, on time, as well as fun books they can read on their own.
What can you do to make sure your child is ready?
Start by making sure your child’s individual Bookshare membership is up-to-date!
- Go to www.bookshare.org and help your child log in.
- Your new personalized homepage will display your child’s account status.
- If it is incomplete, follow the steps to make sure your child can access Bookshare books and reading tools.
This is a what your personalized home page will look like.
Don’t have an individual membership yet?
Visit our Back-to-School Resource page for parents for detailed information.
It’s never too late to sign your child up. Do it today!
In our last blog, we officially launched the Back-to-School season and now want to continue our series with a spotlight on educators. Yes, we all know that once school starts and students enter the classroom, it’s a nonstop race to the holiday break, followed by two sprints to spring and summer. So our time and good intentions can often get the best of us.
Lisa Gutheil, a teacher of the visually impaired and early intervention specialist in New York, knows about this situation. That’s why she is already talking with teachers to make sure students who qualify for Bookshare have their required reading lists and can keep the pace.
“There’s no excuse for a student to wait for materials or a teacher to spend excessive time looking for books,” says Lisa. “Come September, I have students’ books assigned and ready to download. No more scrambling for me, and I feel good that my students can keep better pace with their reading assignments!”
What can you do to make sure your classroom is ready?
Start by making sure your Bookshare account at school is up-to-date by following these steps:
- Go to www.bookshare.org and log in.
- If you have new students who qualify, go to “Members” and add them to your roster.
- If you have the same students from the prior year, make sure to update their grade levels.
- If you want to empower other educators to download titles for members and manage the roster, you can add new sponsors.
- Attend these FREE “Back-to-School” with Bookshare” Webinar for more details and advanced tips:
- Tuesday, Aug. 27—4:00 pm ET, 3:00 pm CT, 2:00 pm MT, 1:00 pm PT (30 minutes)
- Tuesday, Sep. 10—1:30 pm ET, 12:30 pm CT, 11:30 am MT, 10:30 am PT (30 minutes)
Plus…sign up for these tutorials!
“What’s New at Bookshare?”
- Thursday, Sep. 5—1:30 pm ET, 12:30 pm CT, 11:30 am MT, 10:30 am PT (30 minutes)
- Wednesday, Sep. 18—4:00 pm ET, 3:00 pm CT, 2:00 pm MT, 1:00 pm PT (30 minutes)
Follow the five quick steps above and your school account will be ready to go!
And, for additional tips, visit the Back-to-School Resource page for educators!
Once again, we had a blast hosting Bookshare’s fifth annual summer reading contest – an event we hope was not only fun for everyone, but also rewarding! Congratulations to all who participated!
This summer, student members grabbed the opportunity to catch up on all the fun summer reading they could not do during their busy school year. Some of the popular summer reading titles included: The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey, Star Wars: the Clone Wars by Karen Traviss, The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. If you haven’t read these books, you might want to put them on your reading list!
So, without further adieu…drum roll please! Here are the 2013 contest winners!
The grand prize tablet computer goes to Bookshare member, Caitlyn Laster. She is in 7th grade and submitted this winning entry about the book, “Entwined” by Heather Dixon, a tale of magic and mystery. Here is Caitlyn’s entry:
“I read a lot of books this summer, but there was one that stood out as my favorite above all the others. Entwined, by Heather Dixon, kept me turning the pages; I read the entire book in two days. I loved the way the book included both magic and mystery, which are two of my favorite things in a book. I also liked how the book was based off of the Grimm Fairy Tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I read lots of Grimm Fairy Tales when I was little and still enjoy some of the stories today. Also, as a hopeful future author myself, I enjoyed how smoothly the dialogue and description was written. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes magic and mystery, and I would love to see the sequel to Entwined, Enchanted, added to the Bookshare library.”
Semifinal prize winners who won a $50 gift card:
- Grades K-5: Connor Kleist
- Grades 6-8: Annika Arney
- Grades 9-12: Kristen Steele
- College, graduate and adult students: Sharon Briscoe
3rd place prize winners who won our Read2Go app:
- Grades K-5: Kiera Gulifield
- Grades 6-8: Mausam Mehta
- Grades 9-12: Florentino Becerra
- College, graduate and adult students: Julie Cabrera
Again, congratulations to all participants!
You are all winners in our book and we look forward to your participation in future Bookshare contests and events. Thanks!
The Bookshare Team
A Royal Bibliography
On July 22, our world was abuzz for the arrival of Prince George, the first son of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
Our team at the Bookshare headquarters was no exception. The excitement over the little prince’s arrival was clear in the chatter between cubicles and online volunteer discussions of our entire Booksharian Anglophile community.
One volunteer exclaimed, “Finally, my weeks and days and hours of being on the Royal Baby watch is over! It’s a boy!” This kicked off our Royal Baby thread chat line, and it wasn’t long before the discussion turned to potential baby names. Though no official bets were made, our astute volunteers made the correct call before the prince’s name had been announced. One volunteer typed on the chat line, “Congratulations all the way from California! My son is named George after his granddad and the king and of course George Gershwin.”
The Bookshare collection is rife with books on England’s Royal Family. If you haven’t gotten enough of the Royals this summer, you can continue the excitement with these fun and interesting titles:
Shhh! Don’t Wake the Royal Baby by Martha Mumford
The Royal Family tries several tricks to get the Royal Baby to fall asleep, including parachuting with the queen and helicopter rides with daddy. This children’s book has image descriptions to surely delight Royal Family devotees of any age.
The Making of a Royal Romance: William, Kate, and Harry—A Look Behind the Palace Walls by Katie Nicholl
Written by one of the UK’s leading Royal experts, this is the updated edition to William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls.
The People’s Princess: Cherished Memories of Diana, Princess of Wales, From Those Who Knew Her Best by Larry King
A book dedicated to the memory of Princess Diana the woman, beyond the tabloid headlines.
Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World by Charles HRH, the Prince of Wales
Heir apparent the Prince of Wales shares his views on the global environmental crisis.
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith
A biography of the current occupant of the British throne, whose reign is the second longest in the history of the British monarchy.
The Queen Mother: The Official Biography by William Shawcross
This official biography of the beloved Queen Mum chronicles the life of Prince George’s great-great-grandmother.
William and Kate: And Baby George: Royal Baby Edition by Christopher Andersen
This updated version of William and Kate: A Royal Love Story details the courtship of William and Kate and contains a new chapter on the birth of Prince George with color photos.