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College Students Share Thoughts and Feelings about Bookshare

There’s no better evidence of success than when you hear a Bookshare member sharing their achievements and innermost thoughts. Recently, we talked with three students now in post-secondary schools whose lives were changed by Bookshare.

Ta'Lisa Hutton
Ta’Lisa sitting on her front porch.

Ta’ Lisa Hutton began, “What if others think I’m abnormal?”  This was the main question that ran through her mind when she was first offered a Bookshare membership at eight years old.

“At that age, other people’s perceptions of me were more important than tools that could have changed my future,” she said.  “So I struggled with reading and comprehension and feelings that amount to two powerful words: pride and fear. Pride prevented me from asking for help when I had trouble seeing certain words, and I was afraid of being seen as abnormal by my peers.  Consequently, I carried these feelings through my entire schooling and didn’t sign up for membership. When I started college, I was given another gracious chance to become a member of Bookshare, and this time I took it without hesitation!”

Ta’ Lisa is a sophomore and holds a 4.0 GPA.

“I learned it is better to be abnormal than to be normal, because oftentimes it is the abnormal people who truly become something great!”


Zach wearing his graduation gap and gown.
Zach in his graduation gap and gown.

In 2012, Zach Bryant pulled straight A’s in high school. He’s an avid reader of all kinds of books, but reading doesn’t come easy for Zach. He has cerebral palsy (CP), which prohibits him from speaking and walking.

Simple reading tasks, like turning a page or finding a chapter can be frustrating. According to his mom, many people with CP experience this. “They get frustrated and don’t want to read,” she said.  “Access to digital books and reading technologies changed this for my son who is very intelligent!”

Zach has an individual student membership to Bookshare and now attends Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.  He uses Kurzweil 3000 reading software and Bookshare to find postsecondary textbooks.  He still loves to read political and non-fiction too. “Without Bookshare, my academic life would have been much harder for me and my caregivers,” said Zach. “It’s amazing that I can find most books I want and no one has to do all that scanning. I don’t wait for my books for new classes; I search the library and find them myself.”

According to Mrs. Bryant, Zach is very independent. “Without Bookshare, he may not have stayed on grade level and made the transition to college.” For his ability to reach higher goals, she credits her son’s love of knowledge and his access to digital books and reading technologies.

Headshot of Amanda standing in garden.
Amanda standing in a garden.


Amanda Fee said, “High school was hard enough without being blind and hearing impaired.  When I started as a freshman, I really didn’t have a clue how I was going to cope with all the academic expectations. Bookshare was the answer because downloading textbooks is a breeze. I have used Bookshare for most of my classes, including Best Novels, Mythology, Economics, Biology, History, and Modern American Literature. I am currently a senior with a 3.9 GPA and a member of the National Honor Society. As an avid reader, I also use Bookshare for recreational reading. Thank you for helping me succeed!”

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