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Parent Advocates for Learning Portability for Children with Chronic Illness

Hailey Bopp
Hailey Bopp in her home.

Each year, thousands of students miss school due to a chronic illness and fall behind on their homework. This is the case for Hailey Bopp, a Texas youngster who is blind and has cognitive delays. “When Hailey misses school, she gets sad and depressed,” says Ann Bopp, her mom, “because she doesn’t get to read the books her teacher and classmates are reading.”

To mitigate her daughter’s frustration, Ann signed Hailey up for a Bookshare individual membership and advocates for the online library to other families in similar situations.

“Using Bookshare and an iPad, Hailey keeps up with reading assignments and that makes for a better learning experience,” says Ann. “When I first observed how favorably she reacted to downloading and reading a digital book, I knew we were on the right track! Her reading fatigue is minimal now and no more hunting for titles, lugging heavy volumes to and from the hospital, and missing schoolwork. When we equip sick children with learning portability, they have a better chance of academic progress.”

Ann tells other parents, “Meet with your principal, librarian, or special education teacher to discuss the benefits of accessible books. Ask teachers for a list of novels that your child is required to read. Do a book search on the Bookshare  website to determine if the titles are there. Encourage an educator to sign their school up for a Bookshare organizational membership so they can download K-12 textbooks on behalf of children who qualify. Check out Bookshare’s Reading List feature to help teachers stay organized and to assign reading lessons on time.”

Today, Hailey is a completely independent reader. Her mom says, “Every child with print disabilities can benefit from resources like Bookshare and reading technologies to ensure learning portability. I encourage parents to give digital accessible books a try!”

Watch this video tutorial on how to use Bookshare’s Reading List feature now!

P.S. Texas educators and parents are encouraged to learn more about Bookshare and local training through the Accessible Books for Texas program.

About Accessible Books for Texas (ABT)

Through the TEA-funded ABT program, Benetech delivers customized, face-to-face AIM and Bookshare training to educators and parents throughout Texas and applies dedicated resources to Texas membership, support questions and Texas book requests.  Anyone interested in a similar partnership with Benetech, please contact Christine Jones at christinej@benetech.org  for information.

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