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Bookshare Blog Posts

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…

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A Family with Disabilities Volunteers for Bookshare

Hello Bookshare Readers! Our family has taken so much pride in volunteering for Bookshare. I want to thank everyone who makes volunteering such a joy! Before Bookshare, our family could count on one hand how many books we had read together.  I have severe dyslexia, my husband, Doug is a quadriplegic and my daughter, Nichole, has cerebral palsy. We first became acquainted with Bookshare about six years ago when our older daughter, Cindy, wanted to be able to read books in a digital format. She passed away four years ago at the time Nichole, our second daughter, was starting to…

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Postsecondary Students Benefit from Individual Memberships

A University of Michigan – Flint student, with an individual membership says “Bookshare Rocks!” Ashley Seymour, a college junior majoring in health care at the University of Michigan-Flint, has been blind since birth.  She says, “Bookshare is expanding fast!  It’s easy for me to get my books from one source.  I don’t have to wait.  I just download my books, convert to MP3 files for my iPod, and go to class.” Ashley has found books and background information in communications, ethics, literature, psychology and medical sciences. She uses Bookshare to find material for reports, study biographies and locate accessible titles…

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University Partners Help Each Other

Bookshare’s University Partners Program has grown substantially. Today, 25 university partners (please see the list below) regularly contribute books they have scanned on their local campuses to benefit U.S. students with print disabilities. By pooling books scanned on campuses in Bookshare, university partners help each other reduce the nationwide challenge and workload of providing accessible books for postsecondary students.  Scanning once and sharing saves costs associated with scanning and conversion. Finding a textbook that a student needs gets easier and takes less time; campus DSS staff are saying that more and more, they are finding books their students need in…

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NFB 2010: Hot Weather or Human Warmth?

Texas treated NFB 2010 attendees to hot, humid, Texas-like weather, but the weather couldn’t hold a candle to the infectious human warmth inside the conference hall, in spite of the air conditioning. From this conference, I am redoubled in my conviction that coping with challenges in life makes people better people, and knowing people who live with challenges of any variety makes all of us better people. The NFB 2010 convention reminded me of this principle. Nowhere has there been a gathering that exuded goodness and warmth and caring than the group gathered at NFB. It wasn’t just the outpouring…

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“Julie and Julia:” A Total Book – Movie Experience” for the Blind

A guest blog from Gayle Yarnall, Director of Adaptive Technology for the Perkins School for the Blind…Thank you, Gayle! “When the movie Julie and Julia was announced, I knew I wanted to see it because I’m a big fan of Julia Child and I see every movie with Meryl Streep.  My first mission was to read the book and once again I have to say thanks to Bookshare.  Bookshare had the book ready for me to download.  Actually, after speaking with someone at Bookshare, I found out they were sent the book by the actual publisher. (Little Brown & Co.)…

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Bookshare Members Headed to NFB and ACB?

At NFB and ACB, plan on more fun, surprises, and goodies this year than ever.  Come by the Bookshare booth first to say hello. Then get in a party mood and be sure to add the Member party to your calendars.  We have a new game planned that will get everyone thinking and laughing.  Please do save room that evening to enjoy the delicious desserts! At NFB, the party is on July 6, from 7 to 8:30 pm in Lalique, in the Atrium Mezzanine. At ACB, the party is on July 12, from 7 to 8:30 pm in Camelback B.…

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On the Road…with Bookshare’s Summer Reading Contest!

Wow! Bookshare’s Summer Road Trip Reading Contest is off to a great start! In just four weeks, over 300 students have signed up and submitted more than 150 book text messages. Way to go Road Trippers! Contestants are sharing lots of fun and interesting messages about the books they are reading in Bookshare and about U.S. States. You can still sign up for the contest! Here are some of our favorite messages: • I learned that Helen Keller was blind and deaf and still talked to people. She had a harder time than I do. I’m glad I use a…

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Through Virginia’s Eyes – Painting with Macular Degeneration

A famous local artist, Virginia Doyle, has graciously lent her work to Benetech/Bookshare for display on conference room and hall walls. The unique aspect of this display is that in 2002, Virginia was diagnosed with macular degeneration, a medical condition of the eye that makes it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces.  This disease is a leading cause of blindness among older citizens due to the loss of light sensing cells in the retina. Many view her work as representations of the world through the eyes and lens of a person with macular degeneration.  Viewers glimpse the world…

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