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Bookshare Hits Big Milestones in 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and celebrate key milestones and accomplishments. But first, a message from a parent:

“My son loved Huckleberry Finn! It was a joy to watch him laugh as he listened and read. Amazing. He has an A in English with the support of Bookshare.”

Collection Passes Half a Million MarkWonder by RJ Palacio

Our goal is to make all books and print materials accessible. There was a time when people with disabilities could not find books in audio, braille, or other specialized formats they needed. Today, members have over 585,000 ebooks at the tips of their fingers through Bookshare, and they are downloading over 1.6 million titles per year! Drum roll, please, for three of this year’s most popular books:

Finding Books is Easy with Special Collections

To help members find books, Bookshare librarians create customized Reading Lists. You can find over one hundred lists in our Special Collections, including Top 100 Picture Books, Fiction for Reluctant Readers, Resources for Returning Veterans, and every literary award you can think of.

Record Number of Student MembersCamino Island by John Grisham

More than half a million students now use Bookshare to read books. Student members grew by 100,000 in 2017 to reach a total of 522,000 students. This number includes 136,000 students in underserved districts (districts that have 50% or more students who receive free or reduced cost school meals) like San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). In this blog, San Diego Sets the Bar High for Serving Special Education Students, Assistive Technology Specialist Corey Straily shares SDUSD’s winning formula for improving reading and writing skills of special education students.

Bookshare Salutes Teacher Heroes

Special Education Resource Teacher Diane Lurye and Itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments Deirdre Watkins share their advice on ways to help students with disabilities succeed in the classroom.

Bookshare Salutes Parent Heroes

Doctor Shares Daughter’s Discovery of Accessible Ebooks – Family physician Dr. Travis Harker learns how to recognize dyslexia symptoms and find resources to help his daughter, Paloma, enjoy reading.

Veronica Lewis holding her white cane
Veronica Lewis is a college student majoring in Assistive Technology

Bookshare Salutes Individual Members Who Lead the Way

Veronica Lewis is a Champion of Self-Advocacy – Bookshare member Veronica Lewis successfully navigates college and life and offers valuable advice for students with low vision and other disabilities.

Decoding Dyslexia with an Ivy Leaguer – Bookshare member Brian Meersma shares his journey from his dyslexia diagnosis in third grade to his dean’s list performance at Cornell University.

Benetech Secures Award to Expand Access to Bookshare

Last, but not least, we are grateful to receive a five-year award from the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, that brings us closer to giving everyone the opportunity to read, learn, and reach his or her full potential. Thank you to all who supported Bookshare through your advocacy outreach.

Join Us

We invite you to connect and engage with the Bookshare community by:Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

  • Subscribing to the Bookshare blog using the field in the upper right corner
  • Becoming a parent ambassador or mentor teacher
  • Exploring volunteer opportunities
  • Making a donation to make books accessible to everyone
  • Following Bookshare on social media using the icons below

To all of the Bookshare members, educators, parents, volunteers, and advocates, we appreciate all you do to make accessible reading enrich the lives of people who cannot read standard print. We can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season from all of us at Benetech.


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