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Raising the Awareness of Dyslexia

Every October, during #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth, we join the chorus of voices raising awareness about dyslexia, a language-based learning disability that affects word recognition, spelling, and reading. Brain research says that with the right resources and accommodations, like accessible books and assistive technologies, people with dyslexia can break through reading barriers. Today we share the thoughts of Bookshare members (and their parents) to increase awareness of dyslexia.

Ryan, Paloma and Omree Share Success Stories

Ryan in Florida: Ryan was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade. As an auditory learner, he raised his reading ability to grade level with the help of text-to-speech audiobooks. “I wish someone had told us about Bookshare earlier and that using audiobooks is not a cop out. By listening to books Ryan enjoys, it has given him the confidence to try reading those books. He recognizes words in print because he has heard them being used through audiobooks,” says Tippi, Ryan’s mother.

Paloma in New Hampshire: At age 9, reading was so frustrating that Paloma wanted to quit. Then she was diagnosed with dyslexia. Even though she was very bright, her brain processed information differently. She reads books on her iPad with an app called Voice Dream Reader that allows her to listen to text-to-speech narration while following the highlighted text. Her father noticed an immediate improvement. Bookshare plus specialized instruction was the breakthrough Paloma needed to welcome reading back into her daily life.

Paloma reads an accessible ebook from the Bookshare library on her iPad
Paloma reads an accessible ebook from the Bookshare library on her iPad

Omree in California: In second grade, Omree’s teacher asked him to read aloud and he couldn’t do it. Testing by a reading specialist revealed that Omree had dyslexia. He signed up for Bookshare so he could read his textbooks with audio narration. “Reading digital text helps me to pay attention and read for longer periods of time. With Bookshare’s collection, I can dive into books and have no limits to hold me back. When that happens, people with dyslexia can do well in school and go to college.”

Tweets that Inspire Us

From Jennifer: My son listened to Hatchet by Gary Paulson for an entire weekend thanks to Bookshare…well above his reading level.

From Lesley: @Bookshare-Just downloaded all of our son’s grade 10 English books. Used the Dolphin Reader App-so easy. Keeping up with his peers regardless of his disabilities.

From mother of Bookshare member: My son said to thank you as he really 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.

From Jenny B: My son with severe dyslexia will never be able to read books with his eyes. But he’s an avid reader thanks to Bookshare. Reading is taking in information. Doesn’t matter how you do it via eyes or ears. Don’t limit children by your definition of “reading.”

From Jessica: Bragging moment: after years of struggling daily to read at grade level my daughter makes high honors in 7th grade! #dyslexia Thanks @Bookshare & all the other tools & teachers in her life!

From Dyslexic Star: Every day I am so thankful for @VoiceDreamApp and @Bookshare #dyslexicessentials

From Susannah: Listening to books via @CELAlibrary & @Bookshare using text highlighting in @VoiceDreamApp has been #1 best thing helping my dyslexic child improve reading fluency.

Keep the Advocacy Going Strong

Bookshare and Benetech, our parent nonprofit, salute the parents, educators, administrators, and others who support and advocate for students with learning disabilities. We echo the words of Dr. Seuss, in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! who encourages everyone to find the success that lies within. “And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)”

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