Maria Aranguren, Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired sent us this wonderful letter.
One of the biggest challenges facing students with visual impairments and their teachers continues to be the ability to access print instructional materials in alternate formats. Bookshare has done a tremendous job of addressing this issue and I wanted to share some of our student outcomes with you.
This year our total number of registered members for Western Suffolk Boces has grown to 62 students and 23 sponsors. For the first two months of the 2010-2011 school year, our members and sponsors have downloaded 22 novels, 3 supplementary guides, and 8 textbooks. What is most important about this, is that each of the books downloaded was not available in an accessible format from any other source. To have immediate access to these required reading materials through Bookshare is no small feat and positively affects the educational outcome for our students.
Our student members are in inclusive settings, honors, and accelerated programs in their local schools and thanks to Bookshare are able to access the same books as their classmates by using assistive technology to customize their books according to their visual preferences. This alleviates the visual strain associated with reading in a format not suitable to their needs and helps our students do better academically.
I also want to applaud your efforts to provide digital images to your textbooks. Some of the textbooks we downloaded were available with images and the feedback from students has been wonderful.
This year, we registered a new member who is a middle school braille reader. Recently, we downloaded our first Braille file, the novel, Holes, by Louis Sachar. Both student and teacher were thrilled to be able to instantly access the file and emboss a copy for the student to access at the same time as his sighted peers. This was a very exciting for the student, his English teacher and the teacher of the visually impaired.
Thank you for your continued commitment to supporting and advocating for accessible content for people with print disabilities.
Maria Aranguren, M.S., T.V.I.
Teacher of the Blind and Partially Sighted
NYS License #635707051
P.S. Read Maria’s story about her student, Dana, preparing for college with Bookshare at her side.
P.S.S. We hope you will consider sending us letters too!
Please mail them to:
480 S. California Street, Suite 201
Palo Alto, CA 94306-1609