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Category: accessible k12 and postsecondary textbooks

Texas Specialist Finds Successful Reading Strategies to Teach Students with Dyslexia

Finding the right reading solutions for an estimated 2.4 million* American students with a learning disability, like dyslexia, can be difficult. For these students, reading isn’t easy. Brain signals get mixed up, causing an inability to decode and interpret words. Thankfully, many students with learning disabilities are placed in the capable hands of specialists like Leslie Patterson, a Certified Academic Language Therapist and licensed Dyslexia Teacher for Griffis Elementary School in Caddo Mills, Texas. Leslie works with young children, and a critical part of her job is to identify strategies and resources that strengthen their reading comprehension through a multisensory…

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Creating Equal District and Schoolwide Learning Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

Raising academic performance to meet the mandates of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a critical mission for school leaders, yet finding solutions to accommodate diverse student populations across districts and schools can be overwhelming and costly. Students with learning disabilities or visual impairments, for example, have difficulty reading print books. Often, they need accommodations like audio, large print, or braille to make classroom and homework materials accessible. The effort and resources required to produce accessible educational materials (AEM) is significant. Teachers and librarians struggle to find textbooks and Common Core materials in accessible formats. Parents stress about support…

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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 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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Bookshare’s 400,000th Title Brings Unprecedented Access to Readers with Print Disabilities

Bookshare has added its 400,000th title to the ever-growing online accessible library collection and we are celebrating this record-breaking milestone with you and our 400,000 members around the world! Today, through Bookshare’s extensive collection, any person who cannot read traditional books due to blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and physical disabilities can read and enjoy a huge variety of academic, career, and recreational titles just like everyone else. Glory Over Everything, the sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom, is the title that helped Bookshare cross the 400,000 threshold. This accomplishment represents an unprecedented level…

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Texas Librarian Appreciates Bookshare’s Accessible Ebook Collection

Special thanks to Adair Apple, a Librarian in Evans Elementary School, Corpus Christi, TX  for sharing the reasons why she chooses Bookshare to support students with print disabilities. “In our district, librarians are responsible for both print and digital accessible resources as well as adaptive technologies. Bookshare is one of the resources we use to support students with qualifying print disabilities, such as visual impairments and physical and learning disabilities that hinder reading. For effective learning, and since many children are more tech-savvy today, we want to get reading resources and technologies into their hands as early as possible. Now,…

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AT Specialist’s Goal: Universal Right to Reading Independence

Reading Independence Fifteen years ago, Michelle Thomas, a seasoned special educator, crossed into the realm of assistive technology (AT) to help more students with disabilities become independent readers. Thomas says, “It is a universal right to read. Instead of viewing AT as a crutch, I wanted to help more teachers view it as an effective learning tool.” Today, this avid digital reader and Bookshare Mentor Teacher shares her thoughts about equity, accessibility, and best practices for using the online accessible library in her district. Academic Achievement through Bookshare and Chromebooks Thomas’ role in one of the largest school districts in…

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2016 National Education Technology Plan Resonates with Benetech Priorities of Equity and Accessibility

Benetech is a nonprofit company leveraging Silicon Valley technology and process to create and scale solutions for pressing social issues.  Two Benetech initiatives, the DIAGRAM Center and Born Accessible, are cited in The 2016 National Education Technology Plan (NETP) released by the Office of Educational Technology of the U.S. Department of Education. The report recommends that “education stakeholders should develop a born accessible standard of learning resource design to help educators select and evaluate learning resources for accessibility and equity of learning experience.” More significantly, though, all of Benetech’s work closely aligns with these two key themes of the report:…

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Getting Ready for the Outside World: Bookshare Supports School’s Vocational Program

Aha moments and big smiles are the cues Jean Goodwin looks for in her adult students, ages eighteen to twenty, who have complex language, learning, and cognitive challenges. Goodwin holds a Master’s degree in Special Education with an emphasis on Mild-Moderate Disabilities. She is a lead teacher in the GROW transition program at Riverview School in East Sandwich, Massachusetts. The GROW acronym stands for “Getting Ready for the Outside World.” About GROW Structured like a college campus, this ten-month transition program enables students to live in dormitories, attend classes, and participate in an extensive internship program to learn how to function…

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