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Category: Bookshare Success Stories

How Bookshare is Closing the Literacy Gap in Alaska (Part 2)

In Part 1, we learned how Mystie Rail, Executive Director of Assistive Technology of Alaska, provides resources for Alaskans with disabilities. In Part 2, we learn how high school student LenaMarie leverages Bookshare, Voice Dream Reader, and other resources to succeed in her classes. LenaMarie is seventeen and lives in Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow) which lies 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle. She was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia and also experiences anxiety. School was very challenging, and she often felt like a failure. Her parents urged the school to provide more accommodations like assistive technology (AT) and accessible instructional…

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How Bookshare is Closing the Literacy Gap in Alaska (Part 1)

This two-part blog describes Alaska’s approach to providing assistive technology resources to support reading and the positive effect on people with disabilities In 2000, Mystie Rail moved to Anchorage, Alaska, for what she thought would only be one year. Nineteen years later, she still resides in Alaska administering assistive technology support services throughout the state. Mystie is the Executive Director of Assistive Technology of Alaska (ATLA), a nonprofit organization that provides accessible and cost-effective technology solutions that promote independent living and success for residents with disabilities “from twinkle to wrinkle,” says Mystie. Alaska’s geographic, linguistic, economic, and cultural diversity present challenges to…

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Author is a Champion for Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Books

Bookshare member Katherine Schneider describes her passion for inclusion and why she originated the Schneider Family Book Award Bookshare members come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have a unique story to tell and wisdom to share. Today we meet Katherine Schneider. She grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and received her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Purdue University. She taught, counseled, supervised, and directed several university counseling services before retiring. She currently lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with her ninth Seeing Eye dog, Luna. How did you develop a love of…

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Bookshare Impacts Even More Lives in 2018

Before we jump into 2019 with both feet, let’s look back on 2018 and celebrate key Bookshare milestones and accomplishments. Library Grows by Leaps and Bounds Bookshare’s goal is to make every book available to people with reading barriers by converting them into easy-to-read formats. This past year, we added close to 100,000 new books to our online library, bringing the total collection to 675,000 ebooks in 45 languages. Over 1.5 million titles were downloaded around the world, and – drum roll please – these are the top ten books downloaded by members. Wonder by R. J. Palacio Harry Potter…

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4 “Crazy” Ways to Inspire Your Uninspired Student Readers [Video]

Is your student or child uninspired about reading? Are they reading below grade level or experiencing reading difficulties? You are not alone. Many teachers and parents struggle to excite students about reading and learning. For Erin O’Leary, a reading specialist at Horace Mann Middle School, the key to engaging student readers is to create positive, enjoyable experiences around reading. Erin is one of the “Crazy Reading Ladies,” a dynamic duo of educators who use innovative reading programs like author visits and book buffets to get students reading. Their creativity and dedication have helped students with reading barriers, like dyslexia, and…

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Raising the Awareness of Dyslexia

Every October, during #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth, we join the chorus of voices raising awareness about dyslexia, a language-based learning disability that affects word recognition, spelling, and reading. Brain research says that with the right resources and accommodations, like accessible books and assistive technologies, people with dyslexia can break through reading barriers. Today we share the thoughts of Bookshare members (and their parents) to increase awareness of dyslexia. Ryan, Paloma and Omree Share Success Stories Ryan in Florida: Ryan was diagnosed with dyslexia in first grade. As an auditory learner, he raised his reading ability to grade level with the help of text-to-speech…

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Daniel’s Story: Vision Challenges Can’t Stop Joy of Reading

By Daniel Coney, guest author I have an inherited eye condition called pathological myopia. Unlike “normal” myopia, which tends to stabilize, my form continues worsening. This condition causes structural problems in the eye that often lead to vision loss later in life. While I have no memory of ever having good vision, I had little in the way of serious vision problems until about five years ago. Then, a series of retinal detachments left me blind in one eye. I am gradually losing vision in my remaining eye, though I am not yet legally blind. I cannot read print or use…

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Catching up with Jessica Pinto: Bookshare Superstar and Disability Rights Advocate

That was then… When we first met Jessica Pinto in 2008, she was in eighth grade at Kennedy Middle School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In this video, Jessica explains how cerebral palsy made it extremely difficult for her to hold standard printed books and how Bookshare was a game changer for her because it let her read digital books independently. This is now… Fast forward ten years when I recently had the pleasure of learning about Jessica’s journey since 2008. How long have you been a Bookshare member? When I was in eighth grade, Megan Shanley, AT specialist for Albuquerque…

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Veteran Educator Gives Students the Tools to Succeed at Reading and Life

Kristine Dooley knows a thing or two about the benefits of accessible ebooks. An occupational therapist since 1980 and assistive technology (AT) consultant since 2009, she has advice galore for other educators who serve students with reading barriers. And she’s even more excited about the successes – small and large – that her students experience. She is a strong believer in giving students the right tools and support so they can get immediate results. I recently sat down with Kristine and asked her to share her advice. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Describe the students that…

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