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Benetech Secures U.S. Department of Education Award to Expand Access to Bookshare for Students with Disabilities

Benetech extends reach to make education more inclusive

Benetech, the parent company of Bookshare, is pleased to announce that it has received a five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to expand and improve access to books for students who read differently due to blindness, low vision, a physical disability, or dyslexia. Bookshare, the largest online library of accessible books, will remain free for all U.S. school districts, schools, educators, and their qualified students.

“Access to knowledge through reading is a basic human right and a critical step on the path to economic, educational, and social development,” said Brad Turner, VP of Global Literacy, Benetech. “Many students struggle in school and in life because they read differently. Benetech is proud to work with these students, their parents, and their educators to make reading not only possible but also fun and enjoyable with personalized reading experiences.”

What this means:

  • Free Bookshare memberships are available for all qualified students at public schools, community colleges and universities, charter schools, and homeschools.
  • The library will expand to over 800,000 books with a goal of delivering four million book downloads.
  • Bookshare will continue to support an ever-increasing number of reading tools, apps, and devices.
  • Expert training and customer support will continue to be available.
  • Benetech will work directly with publishers to ensure accessibility features are included in production and are present in over 50 percent of educational books by 2022.

Bookshare has already delivered over 11 million books to students and is used in schools and districts across the United States, ranging from the largest urban districts such as Los Angeles Unified School District and New York Public Schools, to small, rural districts in all 50 states. This award brings Benetech closer to giving everyone the opportunity to read, learn, and reach his or her full potential.

Benetech would like to thank all members of the Bookshare community for continued support. Every member we add, every download – each one is another book read by someone who couldn’t otherwise read. Every single person should have the opportunity to read. That’s why we do what we do.

To learn more about how Bookshare can help students who read differently, visit www.bookshare.org

US Office of Special Education ProgramsThis project is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (Award Number H327D170002). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. Department of Education.

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