Bookshare

Website review by
ADK AccessAbility, Common Sense Media
Bookshare Website Poster Image
Welcome kids with print disabilities to the world of books.

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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value
Once they qualify for a membership and have access to the entire library at their fingertips, kids can learn absolutely anything. Bookshare’s selection has nearly everything a standard library does, from astronomy to zebras, and kids can explore their favorite subjects with ease. This level of accessibility can rekindle enthusiasm for many kids who struggle with reading traditionally, including those with learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, physical limitations or vision-related issues. Bookshare is an incredible digital library service that provides a powerful sense of independence for many kids.
Violence & Scariness
Bookshare is a digital library containing books of all types including those with violent content. These are tagged "adult content". Members under the age of 18 can only download books with adult content on the written request of their parent or guardian.
Sexy Stuff
Bookshare is a digital library containing books of all types including those with sexual content. These are tagged "adult content". Members under the age of 18 can only download books with adult content on the written request of their parent or guardian.
Language
Bookshare is a digital library containing books of all types including those with adult language. These are tagged "adult content". Members under the age of 18 can only download books with adult content on the written request of their parent or guardian.
Consumerism
There's nothing for sale except Bookshare's initial membership, which is free for the majority of kids using it.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bookshare is a library containing books of all types including those with adult content. These are tagged "adult content". Members under the age of 18 can only download books with adult content on the written request of their parent or guardian.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bookshare is an outstanding online library of digital books for kids with print disabilities. Bookshare membership is available to kids who provide proof of their print disability, such as blindness or low vision, a learning disability, or a physical disability that makes it difficult or impossible to read standard print. Downloaded books (including textbooks, kid-friendly novels, and more) can be read with a Web browser, free computer applications, or mobile device apps. Used with these tools, Bookshare allows kids to independently read more than 200,000 titles that they may not have been able to access otherwise. 

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What's it about?

Bookshare is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. Once membership is set up (which is free for all qualifying kids), logging in and learning to use the Bookshare website is straightforward. Kids will use their mobile device or computer to browse a huge library of books and choose one to download to read or have it read to them when and how they want. Books come in two file formats, DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) and BRF (Braille Refreshable Format); you'll need corresponding programs to read each type. There's a Getting Started section that covers how to find, download, and read books, as well as reading tools available.

Is it any good?

Bookshare is a fantastic resource and the only digital library of its kind. There are other sources of digital textbooks and educational material out there, but Bookshare opens the door to all types of reading, even the fun stuff. New books and publications are added frequently, so kids won't feel behind their peers on the latest addition to the Percy Jackson or Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Plus, thanks to a Department of Education grant, it's totally free for kids who qualify. This digital equivalent of the public library really levels the playing field for kids with print disabilities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Turn your kid's school onto Bookshare so it can get an organizational membership.
  • Help your kid find books on their favorite subjects; they'll be excited to browse the wide selection.

Website details

  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, personal growth, working efficiently
  • Genre: Educational
  • Price: Free (students); $50/month (individual use)
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free ($50 per year plus a $25 setup fee.)

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