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Category: Bookshare Success Stories

Bookshare Hits Big Milestones in 2017

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to look back and celebrate key milestones and accomplishments. But first, a message from a parent: “My son loved Huckleberry Finn! It was a joy to watch him laugh as he listened and read. Amazing. He has an A in English with the support of Bookshare.” Collection Passes Half a Million Mark Our goal is to make all books and print materials accessible. There was a time when people with disabilities could not find books in audio, braille, or other specialized formats they needed. Today, members have over 585,000 ebooks at the…

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San Diego Sets the Bar High for Serving Special Education Students

District has 700 Bookshare sponsors, over 1,800 student members, and has downloaded 10K+ books San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), the second largest in California, has a winning formula when it comes to serving students in special education. Their approach has evolved over the years as technology and digital educational resources have also evolved. Corey Straily, an Assistive Technology (AT) Specialist, recently shared the secrets to SDUSD’s success. The SDUSD Landscape First, some quick facts: SDUSD has 131,252 students in 226 educational facilities, 26% are English learners, 59% are eligible for free or reduced meals, and 11%, or 14,787 students,…

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Back to School with Bookshare: Tips from the Teaching Trenches (Part 2)

Equal access means equal opportunity for students with disabilities Welcome to the second blog in our Back to School with Bookshare series. These blogs help teachers get a strong start to the school year so they can help their students be successful. The first blog featured Special Education Resource Teacher Diane Lurye and the ways she uses Bookshare to encourage reading independence. “Technology is the equalizer for students with disabilities,” says Deirdre Watkins, an Itinerant Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments in the Dekalb County School District in Georgia. She serves sixteen students in pre-K through 12th grade across six…

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John Miller’s Story: You Don’t Need Sight to See the World

Bookshare member navigates life transitions with a positive attitude, assistive technology, friends and family, and a dose of humor. John Miller, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, is a graduate student, aspiring journalist, and author of a travel blog. You may not think this is unusual until you learn that John is blind. John has an insightful way of seeing the world and that perspective shines through his poignant – and often humorous – blog posts. One reader commented: “I feel the special warmth and generosity of your character that shines through your words.” When I interviewed John last month,…

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Veronica Lewis is a Champion of Self-Advocacy

Bookshare member successfully navigates college life and offers valuable advice for students with disabilities “A disability is something you have, not who you are.” As graduation nears for many high school students, thoughts turn to college and the importance of survival skills. Topping the list is the ability to advocate for yourself because the days of spoon-feeding and hand-holding are over. This advice is especially important for students with disabilities, and a student who embodies this sentiment completely is Veronica Lewis. “Self-advocacy is learning how to speak up for yourself, as well as learning, building a support network, problem solving,…

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From Brazil to Brooklyn

Bookshare helps Antonio Guimaraes navigate continents, schools, cities, and careers Antonio Guimaraes remembers those laborious days in college when he spent hours at the scanner using an OCR reader to convert his printed textbooks to digital text and audio. “I queued up some music and fired up my Kurzweil 1000. Two hours later I still wasn’t finished scanning my textbook, so I would take breaks and mark the next starting point with a paper clip,” says Antonio. Fortunately, for Antonio and others like him who are blind or visually impaired, the technology supporting reading software and assistive devices has advanced…

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Bookshare is a Lifeline for the Blind Community in Latin America

Bookshare es una línea de vida para la comunidad ciega en América Latina Special thanks to Gerardo Corripio, a Bookshare international member and native of Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, for this article. Because of Gerardo’s efforts many Latin Americans who are blind are now aware of the advantages of accessible ebooks and technologies through Bookshare.   Bookshare member, Gerardo Corripio, says, “What a feeling to be able to make a difference in another Latin American’s life.” Gerardo has used Bookshare for many years and says the online library is a lifeline for him and for people who are blind in his country…

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For Jonathan Perry, Life Had Other Plans

Unexpected blindness prompted life and career reinvention It is not uncommon for adults in mid-life to reinvent themselves for another career. Some just want to pursue a new field or industry. Others are forced to make a career change due to a layoff or an evolving marketplace. For Jonathan Perry, resident of Athens, Georgia, and a successful pharmacist for over twenty-five years, his life screeched to a halt one day in April, 2012. After celebrating his son’s wedding, a bout of endocarditis – a bacterial infection of the heart valve – sent endotoxins into his body, brain, and retinas. The…

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Doctor Shares Daughter’s Discovery of Accessible Ebooks

Special thanks to Dr. P. Travis Harker and his daughter, Paloma, for sharing their story. “I Won’t Read Again!” In fourth grade, Paloma Harker declared to her parents, “I am done with reading. You can’t make me do it!” Since her earliest days in school, Paloma had trouble decoding and comprehending printed words. She loved stories and listened attentively as her father read to her, but reading on her own was difficult. By third grade, she knew that she did not read at the same level as her classmates. Each time she tried, she experienced frustration. By age nine, she…

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