Guest Blog Post By Valerie Chernek, Bookshare Communications
“It is no longer difficult to find accessible books, and I will use Bookshare for a lifetime,” says Emeline Lakrout.
“Just a few years ago, it was difficult to find accessible books,” says Emeline Lakrout, who has degenerative low vision. “I appreciate that my parents sought reading solutions for me starting at a young age. I have always been able to enjoy reading because of their efforts.”
Now 17, Emeline takes honors classes at Reagan High School in San Antonio, Texas. She is an avid reader and technology user who is interested in all kinds of books and genres, from classics like The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck to historic accounts of the Cold War era, like Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser.
In high school, she taps into the Bookshare online accessible library for textbooks, novels, and academic research, like test prep for the SAT, PSAT, ACT, and AP exams. She reads quickly and credits many of her teachers for providing required reading assignments at the beginning of each school semester, especially in English. “This helped me stay on track with my studies and classmates,” she says.
Emeline uses an iPad with Bookshare’s Read2Go app and a Lenovo Android tablet with Bookshare’s Go Read – a free, open source app. These technologies include accessibility features to enable a user to enlarge the font size or follow along as highlighted words are read aloud. You can change the rate of speed of a voice or place a bookmark on the last page you’ve read. “These features provide extra support for me,” says Emeline. “Now I get all my accessible books from Bookshare and plan to use it for a lifetime.”
Busy preparing college applications, Emeline intends to study social sciences and likes to explore the online library for titles about careers, business, leadership, politics, and pleasure reading.
“Bookshare is really convenient,” she says. “It has a category of popular books and recommended bestsellers. It is always fun to scan through these titles and download a few books for safe-keeping. I also read periodicals when I can, like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. It’s like having a reading backpack on the go. You don’t need another library resource – just an Individual Membership – and you’ll have all the titles you will want to read.”
Texas K-12 public and charter schools serving students with print disabilities can get free, customized Bookshare training and support through the TEA-funded Accessible Books for Texas (ABT) program. Contact your local ABT Outreach Coordinator to help more children who are blind, have low vision, a physical disability, or a learning disability, like dyslexia, improve their reading experience.