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In July, Benetech, the parent organization of Bookshare, received a new award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, which we’re calling “Bookshare and Innovation for Education (BI4E).” Read more about the goals and how they will directly benefit you:
One of the goals of BI4E is innovation to move content accessibility “upstream,” to encourage publishers to build in accessibility much earlier in the publishing process. Now is the opportune time, as eBooks, online courseware, teacher-created materials, open educational resources, increased use of graphics and new Common Core Standards are causing a fundamental shift. Specifically, we’ll work on:
- free open source tools for content providers
- working with those providers to make educational materials accessible from the start
- major challenges in identifying accessible math images and graphics
- dissemination of tools developed under the DIAGRAM R&D Center
We’ll continue the Bookshare service and plan to:
- double student membership
- increase usage
- increase educational titles
- scale teacher training and parent outreach
- promote better ways to find and read accessible materials
Please read the press release for further information.
We continue to expand the ways you can read Bookshare books by providing new book formats. In addition to our original formats (DAISY Text and Braille Ready Format (BRF)), we introduced two new audio-only options-DAISY Audio and MP3. Soon, we will begin trying out a new format, accessible EPUB 3, as a beta on a limited number of titles. This format represents the next generation of our current DAISY Text format.
What does this mean for you? More options for reading and enjoying digital books!
Improved Download Process
After you find the book you want to read, you will need to download it. Bookshare has made the download process easier to select the format you (or your students) want from a dropdown list. For educators, you can download the same title for multiple students even if you need different formats. Everyone can view or re-download books by going to your “My History” page.
Update Your Read2Go for iOS 6
The latest version (126.96.36.199) is now available and will ensure that your app works properly with Apple’s new version of iOS 6. Make sure to update your version of Read2Go by going to the Apple Store on your device and tap “Updates,” then update Read2Go!
Earlier this summer, Read2Go celebrated its first birthday. In a year’s time, over 16,000 apps were downloaded by members in over 33 countries. Happy birthday Read2Go!
- Election book blog
- New York Times bestsellers
- Spy novels and action titles
- Books to prepare for testing
- Open educational resources
The fall is a perfect time to get your student or child an Individual Membership. Why?
First, to get your students hooked on reading. They can download independently, read the books they want to read, and use our free reading tools at home. Secondly, fall is a good time for parents and teachers to discuss using Bookshare at home and expedite the membership form process.
Parents: Teacher conferences and transition meetings are a great time to discuss how to use Bookshare effectively at home. The First Steps page will give you more details.
Educators: Make it easy for parents to complete the sign-up process by printing out pre-filled individual membership forms for your students, and give them to parents at open houses and parent-teacher conferences. You can have them review and sign the Membership Agreement and collect them at the same time to send back to Bookshare. Here are some tips to help you!
Here’s one example of a teacher who gave her students Individual Memberships:
Mary Carney, a 7th grade English teacher in Lowville, NY, wanted to improve reading opportunities for her middle and high school students to bridge the school-to-home reading connection. In 2008, she signed up for an organizational membership, but found that she couldn’t keep up with student book requests.
Using this guide from Bookshare, she encouraged more students to sign up for Individual Memberships by printing out pre-filled forms. Students took them home. Parents were eager to sign them and fax them back to our membership department. Now, students download eBooks on their own for reading pleasure and for some of their required reading assignments.
The story of how cloud-based and mobile technologies are closing the education gap needs to be told at the South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) conference. The SXWedu is a major new conference for education professionals, industry leaders and policy practitioners committed to engaging all learners. Betsy Beaumon, our VP and General Manager, and Gerardo Capiel, our VP of Engineering and Development, are the two spokespeople who should go and tell the story. However, they need your vote to give this important presentation. Here's how you can vote:
SXSWedu uses a panel picker process, essentially a crowd sourcing technique in which all presentations are open for public voting and comments to determine what the public wants to hear. Please vote for Betsy and Gerardo, even if you aren't planning to attend the conference.
To vote, you'll need to create a log in and password, and then log in to vote here. Thanks for giving them your vote! Add a comment if you want. Please vote before October 5!
There is no better way to convince a teacher, principal, parent, representatives from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s office and top Department of Education Officials about the value of digital books and reading technologies than to watch students demonstrate their use. Read the blog post about their recent visit to Toyon Elementary School in San Jose, CA.
Ysleta ISD, a large district in El Paso, TX, is rolling out an accessible book initiative across 60 campuses with more than 100 educators. Read their implementation steps in this blog post.
Now entering its second year, the Accessible Books for Texas initiative funded by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) can bring on-site professional development to schools, districts or regional center. Texas educators, please visit the Accessible Books for Texas website to contact your Outreach Coordinator and learn about services available to you.
This year, 245 Bookshare readers around the world sent 775 entries about their virtual trips to places, planets and imaginary worlds. For a complete list of U.S. and international winners, check this blog post!
Thanks to all contestants! You make reading fun for everyone. You told us many stories, such as Akiak A Tale of the Iditarod, Bloors Academy and a tale about a mysterious underground passage in Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors.
In the U.S. student division, the winners are:
Aubrie Lucas, a Bookshare member in the 9–12th grade, is our Grand Prize winner. Aubrie won a tablet computer with her entry of Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury in Green Town (Waukegan), Illinois.
2nd place winners of an MP3 player for the top reader in each grade level:
- Correy Crawford - Kindergarten to 5th grade
- Jacob Kruger - 6th to 8th grade
- Maria Leiza, Lynn Bontogon - 9th to 12th grade
- Caitlin Lynch - college, graduate, adult students
3rd place winners of a free Read2Go app for the second top reader in each grade level:
- Natalie Chulick - Kindergarten to 5th grade
- Caitlyn Laster - 6th to 8th grade
- Matthew Kruger - 9th to 12th grade
- Amanda Furr - college, graduate, adult students
In the international/non-student division, the winners of a three-month free membership extension are:
- Katherine Schneider
- Adan Montano
- Dan Burke
- Gail Selfridge
- Jane Lansaw
- Jennifer Bose
- LeAnn Poor
- Lelia Struve
- Randie Gustafson
- Sandra Gryskiewicz
- Mary Sten-Clanton
- Travis Butler
Congratulations to all participants who made this year’s Bookshare Reading Express a successful summer reading event! Thank you for sharing your reading travels!
Speaking of sharing a good book … we also want to thank you for sharing our bulletins. When you forward this to a teacher, a local news editor or an association, you could open up a new digital reading experience for someone. We’ve made it easy! Click the SHARE icon at the top or bottom for a simple way to forward the contents of this bulletin.
Happy fall … literacy for all!
The Bookshare Staff