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Carson’s Journey with Technology Makes English Teacher Proud!

Teacher, Sallie Spencer with Carson, her student
Teacher, Sallie Spencer with Carson.

Earlier this year, we featured a blog and video by Bookshare Student Member, Carson Maxson. He and his English teacher, Sallie Spencer, from Olivet Middle School, Michigan, created the video “How Read2Go Moved My Life” for the first White House Student Film Festival. They wanted to demonstrate how Carson’s reading ability changed once he was introduced to portable technology and accessible ebooks to accommodate his learning disability.

Carson’s story is not so unusual for kids with learning disabilities. They fall behind at an early age and cannot keep pace with other students. By fourth grade, Carson read at a first-grade level. His self-esteem was low and he hated to read. With each new assignment, he felt anxiety and failure.

But in sixth grade, Carson’s learning journey changed. Mrs. Spencer encouraged Carson to sign up for a Bookshare Individual Membership and test drive an iPad. She taught him how to find and download books, organize reading lists, and read accessible ebooks from the Bookshare library. This helped Carson to be more independent, allowing him to get the books he liked and to read whenever he felt the urge, which became more often.

Carson sitting in a pink chair with headphones reading a book on his iPad with Read2Go app.
Carson sitting in a pink chair with headphones reading a book on his iPad with Read2Go app.

“When Carson reads books with Read2Go, the Bookshare app for Apple devices, something magical happens. He comprehends what he reads!” said Mrs. Spencer. “I knew then that we had hit the jackpot in making headway in Carson’s learning journey. When I hear Carson talk with friends about the books he’s read, his voice swells with pride and so does my heart. In 20 years of teaching, I’ve never found an educational resource that has made such a profound difference for students who attend special education classes. It’s difficult for teachers to observe their students feeling failure and to hear their families’ desperate requests for the right support solutions.”

“The combination of the iPad with accessible books and Read2Go has made a tremendous impact. Carson now answers comprehension questions with ease and with details, and he describes his reading experience in positive ways.”

This year, Carson has read a record number of chapter books that he’ll tell you about with a big smile in his video! Now in eighth grade, his grades and reading skills have improved in all curricular areas,” says Mrs. Spencer, “and so has his self-esteem! That’s why we felt it was important to tell his story to President Obama in the White House Student Film Festival. It’s undeniable to me that with the right educational resources and technologies, more students can become successful readers. Carson has flourished in school and is passing with flying colors. He still struggles but is more confident and believes in himself. Downloading just one ebook could make all the difference for students with learning disabilities and change the course of their lives forever.”

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