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Ebooks are Here to Stay: Seven Benefits for Students with Special Needs

A successful back-to-school plan includes accessible ebooks to support struggling readers

The shift to virtual learning during the pandemic forced educators to adopt a variety of digital tools to deliver and support instruction. As teachers and students embark on an exciting, but uncertain, back to school, it is important to leverage digital resources that can make reading and learning easier for students with disabilities.

For students who struggle to decode, to see words on a page, or to hold books and turn pages, ebooks are an important and alternative way to access educational content. Fortunately, ebooks like the ones in the Bookshare library offer many benefits to students with reading barriers such as dyslexia, blindness, and cerebral palsy. The top seven benefits are:

Miss Child Has Gone Wild by Dan Gutman
Enjoy the popular “My Weirder School” series for grades 2-5

1. Just-in-time support for grade-level accelerated learning

For students who are reading below grade level, ebooks with text-to-speech audio support help with decoding and fluency so students can focus on learning and comprehension.

2. Available instantly

Need a textbook for an assignment or a chapter book for free reading? Search for a book online and start reading and/or listening right away without leaving home.

3. Multiple file formats

Whether you want to read using a refreshable braille device, digital text with audio narration, or download a book in MS Word, the ebook file formats offer choice and flexibility.

4. Customizable reading experience

A variety of third-party reading apps offer features to support reading preferences including large font, color contrast, word or sentence highlighting, and even vocabulary support

5. Read on whatever device you have

Read Bookshare books on computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks, and other assistive technology devices.

6. Keep books indefinitely

Unlike a school or public library, Bookshare members can keep books forever.

7. Read offline

Manage internet connectivity challenges by downloading books when internet connection is available and read offline later.

Learn more about the benefits of ebooks for students with reading barriers and how to open your classroom for a successful back to school with a free guide.

About Bookshare

Bookshare® is a FREE online library of over 5 million books that makes reading easier. With Bookshare, students who struggle with reading can access books in alternative formats and customize their reading experience to suit their individual learning style. Bookshare supports almost any reading device and students can read their books offline when an Internet connection is not available. Learn more about Bookshare.


  1. Selisa Brothers

    Ebooks would be a wonderful tool. Accept if children with server disabilities don’t have the devices to read them. For example. The system is not providing children with disabilities with a computer or ipad that is for them to keep. Once the children are aged out of the system for school. The system forgets about the child. Takes back the computer or ipad and does not even take into their existence. My daughter is on of these children. Believe me the system does not acknowledge her need for an education. My daughter should be given a computer or I pad to learn on. Not a device that will be taken away from her. Now that you will be 22 forget you. Give back the very laptop and ipad you are using as a communication devices. Now you have no tight to talk. No right to learn. The system takes away ones existence by taking away their computer and I pad the student like my daughter was learning on. The very device the child with disabilities was reading e books on.

    • Laura Deck, Bookshare Communications

      Selisa: thank you for your comment. If you are interested, I can post it in the Bookshare user forum to see if anyone in the community has suggestions that might help your daughter obtain a computer or iPad: Let me know if you want me to do this or assist you in any way.

  2. Luke

    I personally prefer paper books but to be frank, students often need to carry a lot of books altogether, and an e-book is a good solution. You shouldn’t take 10 books to go, you have just one with a thousand different books inside. And audio support is definitely a useful tool.

  3. Great. Thanks for sharing. Personally, I also feel that e-books provide a better experience, it allows us to be more flexible. I can read it with just my phone while sitting on public transport, when waiting for the bus,… And the e-book store gives us more options, we can read the review first and then decide intend to read it. And one thing is for sure, when students cannot go to school or bookstores because of the covid 19 epidemic, e-books are a good solution to this problem.

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