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2020 Silver Linings are Springboard for 2021 Success

In 2020, students with reading barriers relied on Bookshare to deliver the books they needed to survive school shutdowns and distance learning, and Bookshare will carry them through 2021 and beyond

2020 sure was a doozy! The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges as schools and families abruptly transitioned to distance learning. But in the midst of all the Zoom fatigue and COVID slide stories, some bright spots emerged. Teachers and parents discovered some surprising benefits of online learning for children with learning differences.

Pluses of Pandemic Pivot

For example, the rigidity of a typical school day has been replaced by schedules with more flexibility. Students have more opportunities to take breaks when they need them and complete assignments at their own pace without the social pressures they often face in classrooms.

Says Emery, an eighth grader in Texas who has dyslexia, “I like how my math teacher posts videos with step-by-step instructions and holds office hours so I can ask for additional help.” The videos are especially helpful because she can rewatch sections she doesn’t understand without the whole class knowing. Other students are relieved that they can use assistive technology in private without looking “different” than their classmates.

Expert Insights from Special Educators in the Trenches

The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to transition to remote or hybrid learning models. Teachers scrambled for online resources and worked miracles to support students, especially those with reading barriers. We turned to some experts who shared valuable tips:

  • Tiffany Jenkins, a Certified Academic Language Therapist, shared tips on putting students with dyslexia on the path to reading success
  • Ben Griese, a special education teacher in rural Alaska, uses Bookshare and assistive technology (AT) to help his Alaskan Native students become successful and confident readers
  • Jamie Martin, AT Specialist, explains how a variety of AT tools enable academic independence for students with learning disabilities
  • Megan Shanley, Occupational Therapist, and Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, PhD, ATP, encourage educators to rethink reading and explore ebooks, text-to-speech reading tools, and other accommodations

Maximize Learning with a Bookshare Individual Membership

Individual memberships let students (with parent permission) select their own books to fill in learning gaps, obtain supplemental reading for assignments, or just enjoy more independence to find books that interest them. And allowing students to choose their own books is a big timesaver for teachers.

Follow these instructions to set up Individual Memberships.

Free Webinar: Empower Learning and Save Time with an Individual Membership

When: January 26, 11:00 am PST

How can you make distance or hybrid learning work for your students? Empower them to dig deeper into subjects, explore new topics, or fill in learning gaps with things that interest them with Bookshare’s free Individual Membership. An Individual Membership gives students more control to select their own books, increases learning independence, and saves time for educators. Register for the webinar today

Bookshare by the Numbers

Bookshare hit some big milestones in 2020 and continues to add books, publishers, members, and partners to put more books in the hands of more people to enable anywhere, anytime learning:

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
  • 949,000 ebooks available in five reading formats (audio, braille, DAISY, Microsoft Word, and EPUB) and 63 languages
  • 650+ pre-made reading lists that make finding favorite books faster and easier including High Interest Books for Young Readers and Read Alikes
  • 800,000 members in 94 countries
  • 38,000 US schools and school districts across all 50 states use Bookshare
  • Over 900 publisher partners

Bookshare will continue to expand and support even more student success in 2021! 

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