Anyone who knows me knows that reading and reading instruction are my passions! Did you know that about 85% of all students in Special Education have language- or reading-deficits? Many of these students have difficulty reading grade level texts and books and others have difficulty with comprehension. Often, students with comprehension issues benefit from both auditory and visual exposure to books that they are reading. Having books read aloud can help open a world of new experiences and exposure to textbooks, books for pleasure, newspapers, magazines, and popular novels to all students with reading/language based disabilities. Due to advances in technology, this opportunity is easier than ever.
Bookshare® is an accessible online library for people with print disabilities. It is FREE for qualified U.S. students and schools through an award from OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education). Bookshare® allows you to download books and text to speech software on your computer. If you would rather read on an iPad or tablet, there is an app that members can download. There is a free app for Android devices and a small charge for the app for iPhone/iPad devices.
Once you have a Bookshare® membership, you are also eligible to apply for a Learning Ally membership - previously known as Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. Although fee waivers are available, membership is $119 a year or $10 per/month. What is enjoyable about Learning Ally is that these books are “human” narrated as opposed to computer generated voices. Although Bookshare® membership isn’t a requirement for Learning Ally, I find the approval process to be quicker for Bookshare® members.
Check out both websites https://www.bookshare.org and http://www.learningally.org to learn more and to sign up online or print out an application. As the reading specialist at Celebrate the Children, I am able to certify students for eligibility.
Summer is almost here! Looking forward to spending lots of time reading! Enjoy!
Mary Alice Landis, Reading Specialist
Supervisor of Instruction and Curriculum
Celebrate the Children
Contributions to this blog are made by Celebrate the Children's highly talented, interdisciplinary team and wonderful families.