Denver Academy’s Philippe Ernewein, Director of Education, and Anthony Slaughter, Director of Information Technology, were eager to hear about the progress of Alyssa Campbell. While Alyssa has had a Bookshare Individual Membership for many years, it wasn’t until she entered middle school at Denver Academy that she began reading more textbooks and literature using accessible ebooks with assistive technologies. Alyssa has a documented learning disability that makes it difficult to read traditional print materials.
Text-to-Speech Makes Reading Easier
Due to her disability, Alyssa could not keep pace with the rigorous reading assignments for her grade level. Her mom, Debbie Campbell, an educator herself, said, “Accessible books helped my daughter to be more confident. She recognized that she was smart and capable. All she needed was the reading assignment to be in accessible format. That is when we found Bookshare and reading tools.”
As Alyssa read digital text on her computer, she could hear content read aloud through the text-to-speech capability, often referred to as TTS. This accessible reading experience helped her to comprehend more information. For the first time, her reading process was less frustrating, and her academic future looked brighter.
Denver Academy Evaluates Bookshare for Schoolwide Use
Mr. Ernewein said, “Denver Academy’s mission is to inspire diverse learners, like Alyssa, through student-centered, differentiated, and transformative education. We also encourage conversations with parents as part of our partnership model. Mrs. Campbell helped us to better understand the academic and cost-saving benefits of Bookshare. The resource made sense to us to support how children with print disabilities read, so we organized a team and reviewed our Bookshare Organizational Membership. We developed goals and added Bookshare to the menu of accommodations that students who qualify can access. We also created detailed learning profiles that each homeroom teacher manages for their students.”
Denver Academy’s Goals To Improve Reading Through Accessible Books
- Strengthen reading abilities for more students who qualify for Bookshare.
- Motivate learners to read with better comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary.
- Broaden the diverse range of accessible books that include educational and recreational titles.
- Educate and train teachers and parents in the most effective ways to integrate Bookshare into the learning environment for students who qualify.
- Empower students to read with assistive technologies, when appropriate.
- Encourage students to work at their instructional level, whether it be on or above grade level.
- Engage students to be more independent readers and learners.
Today, Denver Academy is proud of their accomplishments toward the development of learning environments that enable all students to reach their full potential. The staff continues to expand their use of Bookshare and the use of assistive technologies based on individual student needs.
For Alyssa Campbell, Bookshare is in the frequently-used category in her learning process at school and at home. She has developed a greater sense of confidence with reading, has a much brighter outlook, and her family and school leaders are pleased that she is making significant academic progress.
Bookshare is Free to U.S. Schools and Students with Print Disabilities
Bookshare is an online library of accessible books available at no cost to U.S. schools and students with qualifying print disabilities, such as blindness, low vision, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities. The library is supported by awards from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education. Today, tens of thousands of students are members. They can read accessible books on devices that work best for them, such as a computer, tablet, smartphone or braille device. Sign up today!
Special thanks to Denver Academy Administrators Philippe Ernewein and Anthony Slaughter and to Deborah Campbell who is a Bookshare Parent Ambassador.