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Special Education Students Can Learn Anywhere with Bookshare

calendarJanuary 22 2021

There is so much uncertainty in the school environment. One thing parents and teachers can count on is a reliable source of ebooks for special education students. Bookshare provides textbooks and materials in a range of accessible formats that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the personal reading needs of learners.

By Laura Deck

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the learning landscape for 2021 is one of uncertain horizons and shifting sands. Parents and teachers are doing their best to shift gears on the fly and support their students in distance learning, hybrid learning, or in-person classes.

Reliable Source of Ebooks for Special Education Students

Some schools are offering blended learning where students spend a few days in down-sized classrooms and the other days doing online classes from home. Still other schools are starting with 100% distance learning and then phasing in on-site classes to small cohorts of students in “learning pods.”

No matter what the school environment looks like, the stakes are even higher for students with disabilities. How can teachers provide books in alternate formats so students with reading barriers like dyslexia, blindness, and cerebral palsy can complete assignments, no matter where and how learning is taking place?

image of a stack of 3 books.

Bookshare Makes the New Reality of Education Less Uncertain

Teachers have a long checklist as they navigate this unprecedented and ever-changing school environment. One uncertainty that Bookshare can address is providing free ebooks and reading tools for special education students so they can learn anywhere and anytime.

Image shows an illustration of table with a laptop screen and reader tablet. The caption reads "learn anywhere with bookshare". It is a purely decorative image.

Bookshare already serves over 750,000 students with reading barriers. Its library of accessible ebooks provides:

  • 650,000+ ebooks[i]: Seamless access between class and home to hundreds of thousands of ebooks for school assignments and fun reading
  • Multiple formats: Easy-to-read formats like audio, audio + highlighted text, large font, braille, and Word that lets students customize their reading experience to suit their individual learning style
  • Multiple devices and apps: Compatibility with favourite devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, Chromebooks, and braille readers as well as popular reading apps like Dolphin EasyReader and Voice Dream Reader
  • Online help: Free customer support and access to training to get started with Bookshare

Learn Anywhere Resource Toolkit for Educators and Parents

To help teachers and parents support their students during this unprecedented time, the Bookshare staff has assembled a collection of valuable resources, tips, step-by-step guides, video tutorials, curated reading lists, and webinars.

Visit the Learn Anywhere resource page for details.

Tips from the Teaching Trenches

“One of my students has dyslexia. His goal in life is to be a chef, but he really struggled reading recipes, so we downloaded cookbooks from Bookshare into his device and he read them with Voice Dream Reader. Then he would cook some of the recipes at home and show me photos.” – Ben Griese, Special Education Teacher in Southwest Alaska

“A student in third grade remarked that when she uses technology tools, she can read better and has discovered a love of reading that she didn’t realize she could have. When we intentionally leverage these tools and resources with our students, we not only honor the individual student, but we are helping to build agency, advocacy, and identity.” — Hillary Goldthwait-Fowles, Assistive Technology Specialist

From Classroom to Couch, Bookshare Has You Covered

Call it the new normal, new abnormal, or the now normal, Bookshare is your trusted partner to help you navigate these uncharted waters so educators can teach anywhere, students can learn anywhere, and parents can support their children anywhere.

Parents, students and educators in the United Kingdom can sign up for Bookshare at RNIBBookshare.org

Parents, students, and educators outside of the United Kingdom can learn more about Bookshare and sign up at www.bookshare.org

About Laura

Laura Deck is a Writer/Editor and manager of the Bookshare Blog, which features success stories and advice from students and adults with reading barriers as well as the teachers and parents who support them.


[i] Book availability varies by country

Looking for books about your child or your special needs? Check out our list of inclusive books here: Making World Book Day Inclusive

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