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Teacher Discovers A Better Alternative: Digital Accessible Books Instead of Books On Tape

picture of Valerie Chernek, Bookshare, and Heather Tellier, Teacher from NJ

In 2009, Heather Tellier, Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT/C) for the Lawrence Township Public Schools in Lawrenceville NJ, wanted to find alternative ways to assist high school students with physical and learning disabilities.

Her district’s policy was to provide books on tape as a reading accommodation.  Heather knew that getting audio books took time and students couldn’t keep pace in their English and History classes.  She set out to find alternatives and found Bookshare’s collection of digital accessible books online.

Heather presented Bookshare to the Child Study Team; a group of case managers, such as social workers, school psychologists and learning consultants across seven schools in the district who are responsible for students with disabilities.  “The group received Bookshare well,” said Ms. Tellier.  “We immediately implemented Bookshare to provide a faster way for students to receive accessible reading materials.”

Today, the Lawrence Township Public School District has a Bookshare organizational membership managed by the Technology Resource Teacher, Deb Goldberg.  She manages student accounts, sends in qualification forms, enrolls students and identifies case managers who download mostly novels, from the Bookshare library.

The District now provides each student who needs reading accommodations with a USB zip drive that holds the drivers, the downloaded digital book and the Acapela voices that read the text aloud in computer synthesized speech that sounds like a human voice.

“Students take their zip drive home and download the programs and novels into their computers,” said Ms. Tellier.  “Our process is much faster now and students enjoy reading required books at the same pace as their peers do.”  This year, the Lawrence School District will add Bookshare as a valid reading accommodation so that students with reading difficulties and IEPs receive timely access to required reading assignments.

Special thanks to Heather Tellier for sharing her story!

If you have a great Bookshare story, please comment below and share it with us!

One Comment

  1. Fantastic blog! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!

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