Meet Benetech’s Outreach Coordinator, Lakita Herring!
Benetech, Bookshare’s parent nonprofit company, presents, Lakita Herring, Bookshare Outreach Coordinator based in Memphis, Tennessee. Lakita has a keen passion for accessible literacy and equity in education. We are happy to have her as part of the Benetech and Bookshare team. Please read below to learn more about Lakita, and the wonderful work she is doing in Memphis and surrounding areas to further equity in education. This is part of an ongoing series to introduce the Benetech Community to the regional Outreach Coordinators, who work with urban and rural school districts and communities to ensure teachers and students know about and can effectively utilize the Bookshare platform.
What career path or passion brought you to Benetech?
I am passionate about reading and ensuring that all students are given access to an equitable education. Equitable education involves the provision of the best educators in the classroom, the provision of the best educational resources to facilitate teaching and learning, and the provision of the best advocates to promote equality and human rights in education.
What do you believe is the greatest barrier to accessible content for students?
The greatest barrier to accessible content for students is a lack of awareness of the resources available and economic disparities that may exist for students with disabilities to acquire materials and resources that are accessible to them.
What does the learning landscape in Memphis, TN look like right now?
Memphis, Tennessee has a beacon of light for its learning landscape. In Memphis, students are making progress based on Tennessee State Assessments data presented at the end of the 22/23 school year and are progressing to pre-pandemic levels of academic achievement. While we are experiencing some growth, we are also seeing more students in grades K-3 who need academic support in foundational reading and who exhibit signs of dyslexia. As a school district and the State of Tennessee we are being more deliberate about how to support teachers and students in the areas of reading by providing extensive professional development for all teachers in the Science of Reading, free tutoring support for students, a focused curriculum, and educational resources for parents and students at home.
How do you think a technology platform like Bookshare can best help students develop a love of lifelong learning?
By utilizing a technology platform such as Bookshare, students will have access to resources that will allow them to engage in learning. It provides them with a platform that caters to their unique learning abilities and empowers them to become active learners and readers.
Could you share an example of how you have seen Bookshare inspire and help a student or teacher?
Bookshare provides users with the opportunity to become confident readers through support and guidance. Bookshare’s accessibility features allow students to enjoy the reading experience by removing the barriers that may otherwise prevent them from doing so.
What advice do you have for teachers who aren’t sure how to get started with Bookshare?
The teachers who have never experienced Bookshare are missing out on an opportunity to brighten the lives and bring joy to the students they serve. There is a missed opportunity for teachers to send their students into the most imaginative places possible through the joy of reading. It is a missed opportunity for teachers to empower their students to become informed and empowered readers. If you would like assistance in getting started with Bookshare, please contact the Bookshare Platform via our website or contact a local representative in your area, such as myself.
Are you an educator in Memphis, Tennessee? You can reach Lakita at firstname.lastname@example.org.