Assistive technology helps students with disabilities love books
Bookshare has been a game changer for Brennan Draves, a fourth grader with a visual impairment, and Reagan Reeves, a ninth grader with dyslexia. Both students need schoolbooks in alternative formats to help them read and study.
Brennan, a fourth grader at Mackensen Elementary School in Michigan, has retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that makes it impossible to read traditional books. He used to read and study with printed braille books which were heavy and took time to produce.
Since using Bookshare, reading books and doing homework is easier and more cost effective. His teacher, Carissa Reed, signed up the school for a free Bookshare account and has been getting Brennan’s books in Braille Ready Format (BRF), one of the accessible formats available from Bookshare, which Brennan uses to read on his BrailleNote. Carissa learned how to use Bookshare by using the helpful training resources on the Bookshare website.
“Bookshare is a blessing for students and a cost saver for our district,” she says. Today, Brennan reads constantly and learns as quickly as sighted children. His reading skills are above average, and he has passed all of his Accelerated Reader tests. He is on track to be an honor roll student. Brennan’s mom, Lindsay Draves, says, “Bookshare and the BrailleNote have made it possible for my son to be excited about learning. His love of reading and ability to absorb information enables him to do very well in school.”
Reagan, a ninth grader in Texas, has dyslexia and also needs books in alternative formats. Specifically, he uses Bookshare to listen to accessible ebooks on portable technology devices. Last year, he received an award for having accumulated the most Accelerated Reader points in his class. In his early years, Reagan did not like to read at all. Now, he downloads digital books on his iPhone by himself and uses an iPad Mini to read with an app called Read2Go. He even reads for pleasure outside of school.
His mom, Michelle, is a Bilingual/ESL and Dyslexia Specialist. “My son has fallen in love with reading! Last year, he read at a fourth grade level. Today, he reads at an eleventh grade level. This transformation speaks volumes for identifying the right resources to help children who are dyslexic be successful.” She says, “Get your kids Individual Bookshare Memberships and give them a library in their pocket!”
Back to School Begins with Bookshare
Do you know students with print disabilities like Brennan and Reagan? How can you help them get the books they need in accessible formats like braille, audio, and large print to accelerate their reading? Not sure how to get started? Or just need a refresher? Relax. You’ve come to the right place.
Visit the Back to School Resource page to get help with:
- Logging in – can’t remember that password?
- Updating account information – for your school or individual memberships
- Finding books – use the expanded search features or request a book you need
- Reading books – use Bookshare Web Reader or one of the many reading tools
You can also register for a free back-to-school webinar to learn more:
Beginner Tips for Back to School with Bookshare, September 15 at 10:00 am PST
Advanced Tips for Back to School with Bookshare, September 16 at 10:00 am PST
Reading success is an essential foundation for academic success. Take a test drive of Bookshare today!