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A Few Weeks Left This Summer to Read and Move

From legislation to lunchtime reading, the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Special Education Programs care about literacy in this country. Picture the U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, holding a book, and Kareem Dale, the Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, reading If I Ran for President in braille to about 100 attentively listening young kids, ages 4-8, and their parents. Soon Congressman Jim Langevin from Rhode Island joined the group and read House Mouse, Senate Mouse. The event was the Department of Education’s “Let’s Read. Let’s Move” summer enrichment program on July 30 in…

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Is Braille Now Optional?

Is learning braille now optional? If so, why? Or is optional braille another example of the weakness in today’s educational system – decried by the Obama administration – that allows students to get by, not learn the tough subjects, and not graduate ready for college or a career? In letting today’s youth skip braille, are we handcuffing them for life? Most would agree that learning can occur auditorily and that for many, auditory learning is the preferred mode. Many software applications (including those available from Bookshare) and devices render printed content as spoken language for readers with visual impairments and…


Resources for Summer Staff Development

Many districts schedule staff development during summer vacation. Some teachers use the time independently for continuing education.  A good topic for this summer is accessible instructional materials (AIM) as these materials are rapidly finding their way into schools and classrooms.  Further, IDEA 2004 calls for use of AIM when indicated by a student’s learning style and IEP. Accessible books from Bookshare for qualified students are a great way to start bringing AIM into your classrooms, and good tools and resources exist to help you get started: 1. There’s a wealth of information on Bookshare’s site and Training page. 2. A…

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