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Category: accessible instructional materials

Bookshare (Still) Needs Your Support

Ask your Members of Congress to approve funding so Bookshare can continue to offer free, accessible ebooks to U.S. students with disabilities. By Jim Fruchterman, Founder and CEO, Benetech Bookshare funding remains in jeopardy as Congress continues to consider the budget for both the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years. We urgently need your help to ensure that Bookshare’s federal funding is not eliminated. For those of you who contacted your Members of Congress last fall and urged them to support Bookshare funding, we thank you for your efforts and dedication to date, but we need your help by writing to…

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Bookshare Welcomes Fountas & Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention Series to Collection

Donation by Carol Lake provides 110 engaging leveled books in accessible format to help young readers The Bookshare team receives several hundred requests each month from students and educators looking for specific books. If we can’t get a book directly from one of the 820 publishers we have agreements with, we buy the book, chop it up, and scan it. But what happens when the request is for a series consisting of 110 books? According to Robin Reddell, a member of Bookshare’s Collection Development team, “Many teachers have requested the Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) Green System for…

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Visits to Largest U.S. School Districts Yield Valuable Insights for Bookshare Team

By Christine Jones, Senior Education Program Manager, Global Literacy Program, Benetech Early in 2016, Benetech began a concerted effort to learn even more about how schools are providing services to students who experience barriers to reading printed text and how Bookshare can work more seamlessly in these diverse environments. We decided to go “under the hood” by partnering with some of the nation’s largest and most under-resourced school districts. To date, we have met with key team members at more than thirty districts and have learned a great deal about their needs and challenges, as well as how Bookshare can…

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BeeLine Reader Adds Color to Bookshare

Bookshare is now offering an award-winning accessibility feature that helps readers maintain focus and improves visual tracking ability. This integration is made possible through a partnership with social impact startup BeeLine Reader. The idea behind BeeLine Reader’s technology is to make text easier to read by using eye-guiding color gradients. These gradients wrap from the end of one line to the beginning of the next, reducing the incidence of line transition errors. Readers of all ages and skill levels can use BeeLine to make reading easier and more enjoyable. Many readers—especially those with dyslexia, ADHD, and vision impairments—find that BeeLine…

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Parent Partners with School Administrators to Advocate for Accessible Ebooks and Dispel Myths

Deborah Campbell with Denver Academy’s Director of Education, Philippe Ernewein, and Director of IT, Anthony Slaughter When Deborah Campbell volunteered at Denver Academy, she had one mission: to educate teachers and families of children with reading disabilities about the benefits of accessible ebooks and assistive technologies for learning. Mrs. Campbell holds a master of arts degree in curriculum and instruction and has a deep understanding of the education process. Alyssa, her eldest daughter, attends Denver Academy and was diagnosed with a learning disability in second grade. At that time she read at a noticeably slower pace than her peers, and it was difficult…

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Benetech Summer Interns Dive Deep into Bookshare

By guest author Mercedes Mack, Bookshare Operations Associate Benetech’s Summer Internship Program is now in its fourth year, and with maturity comes evolution. This year we had a mix of high school and college students who worked on Bookshare-related projects with specific focus in two areas: data analysis and member experience. Our interns – Justin Yu, Cathy Vu, Josephine Kong, Abhinav Arya, and Reece Jones – did amazing work for our Bookshare team and were such a delight to work with this summer. Intern Projects Justin Yu, an incoming freshman to Santa Clara University, conducted data analysis of our books…

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Indiana Assistive Technology Expert Finds “Gem” in Bookshare

Special thanks to Laura Medcalf  for her contribution to the Bookshare blog. We appreciate the mission of the Indiana Assistive Technology Act (INDATA) Project and Laura’s “on the record” testimonial.  “When you read my blog or listen to my podcasts for the Indiana Assistive Technology Act Project (INDATA), you will notice a common theme. I focus on one form of disability or assistive technology that benefits individuals with a single disability (e.g., visual impairment, hearing loss, autism, etc.). Assistive technology is my passion and my goal is to educate Indiana patrons (“Go Hoosiers!”) and readers across the world who are interested…

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Follow Us to the NFB and ACB 2016 Conventions

The Bookshare team from Benetech is excited to attend two of our favorite conventions — the 76th Annual National Federation of the Blind (NFB) National Convention in Orlando, Florida, from June 30 to July 5, and the 55th Annual Conference and Convention of the American Council of the Blind (ACB) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from July 1 to July 9, 2016. Benetech salutes these important organizations and their efforts to ensure equal opportunity for blind and visually impaired people. In support, the Benetech / Bookshare team will attend both conventions and looks forward to meeting attendees, rekindling relationships with long-time members…

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Bookshare Member Amare Leggette Competes in 2016 National Braille Challenge

Amare Leggette, an energetic eight-year-old from Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina, will compete against nine students in the Apprentice age group at the 2016 National Braille Challenge. “Amare is a fast reader and eager learner,” says Holly Jeffries, his teacher of the visually impaired. “He has a natural ability to skim, comprehend, make contractions, and knows when to reread text. He also loves new vocabulary words and enjoys putting them on our school braille word wall. I know he is prepared for the competition and is ready to take home the prize!” Blind since birth, Amare has read…

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Bookshare Supports Librarian’s Goal for Inclusive Library Service

Many thanks to Kate Owen at Thetford Academy for sharing her advocacy of Bookshare and for training more teachers to be proponents of accessible ebooks. Kate’s Vision As an educator and librarian, I have always worked to build an inclusive library service to meet the needs of all learners. This year, over one-third of our students are eligible for extra services according to their IEP or 504 plans. Many of these students qualify for Bookshare. The online accessible library has become an integral part of building an inclusive library to accomplish my goal. Not So Long Ago… When I first…

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