An Annapolis woman was recently recognized for her volunteer work with local students with print disabilities to help them by using specialized e-books.
Bookshare, the global leader in providing digital-accessible books to people with print disabilities, recognizes Eldre Boggs for outstanding service in Anne Arundel County Public Schools on behalf of students with print disabilities. These students cannot read print because of a visual impairment, a physical disability, or a learning disability like severe dyslexia and are often at risk of poor grades and dropping out of school simply because they cannot keep up with reading assignments.
This year, Eldre volunteered as a mentor teacher agreeing to help other teachers and students in the district learn about Bookshare and digital-accessible books. Her service included teaching workshops about Bookshare, ensuring that all qualified students were signed up for memberships and had accessible versions of their textbooks, as well as two pleasure reading books, and equipping all eligible students with individual memberships, opening up the world of books for independent reading on any topic.
Over 190,000 U.S. students with print disabilities currently use Bookshare. These students read digital-accessible books (e-books) using software, mobile apps or tools that read words out loud and highlight them at the same time, or in Braille on specialized Braille devices.
The result often is better grades, independent reading, and staying in school. When given Bookshare individual memberships, many students who were previously nonreaders turn into readers and explore the 140,000 eBooks in the library finding and reading books on any topic of interest.
“Volunteer mentor teachers give selflessly of their time, over and above their teaching responsibilities, to give all students an equal educational opportunity regardless of their learning and reading needs,” said Betsy Beaumon, vice president and general manager, Literacy Program at Benetech, the nonprofit organization that operates Bookshare. “The mentor teacher program is one of our most valuable programs, because our dedicated mentors are close to the teachers and students in their districts, and know what it takes for their students to succeed.”
The Bookshare library has textbooks, reference books and popular literature. Bookshare memberships and books are completely free for all qualified U.S. students, thanks to an award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.