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Tag: visual impairments

Up Close and Personal at the American Council of the Blind Conference

St. Louis, Missouri, was the location of the 57th Annual American Council of the Blind (ACB) Conference and Convention in early July. Benetech, the parent nonprofit of Bookshare, the world’s largest library of ebooks for people with reading barriers, is a strong supporter of the ACB and sent me and Jake Brownell, another engineer, to the event. The conference provided moments of inspiration, exciting new assistive technology devices, and a chance to network with other participants. One of the keynote speakers, professional low vision actor Marilee Talkington, who played a blind character on the television show NCIS, offered these words…

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Because #RepresentationMatters

Children need and deserve books that reflect themselves and the diversity of the world around them. In addition to people of color, people with disabilities are underrepresented in the popular media. For many children and teens with disabilities, it is difficult to find books with accurate portrayals of disabilities. With this gap in mind, Bookshare has assembled four new collections that feature characters with learning disabilities and visual impairments, because everyone has differences and abilities and representation matters. Books that Feature Characters with Learning Disabilities The novels in these two collections feature characters with a learning disability, such as dyslexia,…

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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 Members Now Have Access to Over 500,000 Ebooks

Benetech accelerates toward a future in which all digital content is Born Accessible By Brad Turner, VP Global Literacy, Benetech On November 29, 2016, Bookshare hit a momentous milestone when it passed the mark of 500,000 titles in its collection. That means that people unable to read standard print now have access to 500,000 ebooks in various formats to suit their individual needs. It wasn’t that long ago that the blind community had to rely on braille, a limited number of human-narrated books, or having someone read to them if they wanted to enjoy a book. Even just 15 years…

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Bookshare’s Go Read App for Android Makes Accessible Reading Easier Than Ever

Bookshare, the online accessible library that is free for all U.S. students with a qualifying print disability such as blindness, low vision, a physical disability or a learning disability, just added some super new updates (version 5.3.9.) to its Go Read app that members and teachers will love. Get Started with Go Read Go Read is Bookshare’s free, open source ebook reader app for members who use Android smartphones and tablets. The app has built-in text-to-speech voices and is optimized for visually-impaired readers. You can use Go Read to connect directly to online libraries, like Bookshare, to download and listen…

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Benetech Summer Interns Dive Deep into Bookshare

By guest author Mercedes Mack, Bookshare Operations Associate Benetech’s Summer Internship Program is now in its fourth year, and with maturity comes evolution. This year we had a mix of high school and college students who worked on Bookshare-related projects with specific focus in two areas: data analysis and member experience. Our interns – Justin Yu, Cathy Vu, Josephine Kong, Abhinav Arya, and Reece Jones – did amazing work for our Bookshare team and were such a delight to work with this summer. Intern Projects Justin Yu, an incoming freshman to Santa Clara University, conducted data analysis of our books…

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Advancing Literacy Outcomes for Children with Disabilities in India

By Terry Jenna, Bookshare International Program Manager Benetech’s mission is to serve communities in need by creating scalable technology solutions. As the operator of Bookshare, we are working diligently to extend our reach across borders to the international community. While technological breakthroughs are creating new opportunities and lowering barriers for society as a whole, the sad truth is that millions of individuals with disabilities around the world are still left behind. This is a particular reality for students in the developing world who cannot read traditional books due to blindness and other print disabilities. They grapple with formidable challenges as…

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Why We Are #Thankful

The Bookshare community is amazing. It’s over 370,000 people strong with an even larger cast of parents, teachers, and supporters. They live in over seventy countries and read more than a million and a half books every year. They dream big, accomplish great things, and live life to its fullest. The holiday season is a time for thanks, and we at Bookshare are thankful for this community. Let’s meet some of them. Lily loves to read, especially books about horses. She didn’t always like reading though. In fact, Lily disliked it because of her dyslexia. That changed when she started using Bookshare, and…

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A New Perspective on Literacy for Students with Low Vision

By guest author Allison Hilliker Imagine a reading solution where students with low vision could read for an extended period of time without eye fatigue. A solution where their ability to distinguish among letters was not dependent upon print size, contrast, lighting, color, or font style. Where skimming or rereading a paragraph or page wouldn’t be cause for frustration or eye strain. Where students could easily discern the subtleties of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and paragraph layout. Imagine a reading option in which individuals didn’t have to hold the book close to their face or hunch over a tablet screen in…

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