What are accessible E-books?
Many students experience difficulty with reading a paper copy of a book that is assigned in class or one that they want to read on their own. They might have a visual impairment, attention issue, print disorder, or a physical challenge (inability to hold a book.) They may need the book to be read aloud to them, and technology can help by offering a read-aloud or text-to-speech option of a digitized book or eBook. This is different from an audio book, which is just an audio file of a book that is read by a person, not a computer.
Thousands of eBooks have been created over the years- some for free and others for purchase. Below, you will see both options: standard eBooks and accessible eBooks as well as audio books, which are human-read books with no visible text.
Bookshare information is provided here-it is a resource for qualified students who have print, visual or physical disabilities. Most eBooks that are assigned in the district are available here, but not all students who could benefit from the books, qualify for Bookshare.
Audio Book information is listed below the Bookshare instructions.
Newsela is located at the end of this page. It is a collection of current news stories for students of various ages and reading levels, and can be read aloud with technology. Excellent resource and widely used in 4J.
Bookshare – free eBooks with audio for qualified students
Bookshare is an organization that offers students with “qualifying disabilities” alternative formats to access assigned novels and also some textbooks. What does this mean? Books can be downloaded from the website and put into a text reader on a computer or tablet/phone-it is then read to the student in a digitized voice. The student can also see the text as it is read and each word can be highlighted. There are many voices that can be downloaded. Font size and color can be changed to accommodate students with vision issues. This is a free service for qualified students.
How can I sign my students up for Bookshare?
Contact Jordan Gentzkow or Kelley (Wilson) Moriarty for help. They manage the accounts and help teachers set up the systems in their schools. NOTE: students must be on an IEP or 504 and have a print disorder, visual impairment, or physical disability. If you are unsure if your student qualifies, send an email.
Computer Access – two options:
- Bookshare Web Reader is the simplest way to read books and works very well. This video is a good introduction: video NOTE: The default voice may not work on our Macs-go into settings and find a different voice Set up iPad to read text aloud: https://youtu.be/3hdShcAhZtA
- iBooks Application on a Mac -This video demonstrates how Bookshare members with “Organizational”-level Bookshare accounts can log in to Bookshare, find assigned books, download, and then read them in the iBooks application on a Mac computer. This is a nice option to keep the books handy without having to log into an account to read each time. The text-to-speech feature built into the Mac can read the book out loud and there are other great features such as bookmarks, highlights, and notes. video
Tablet/phone Access – four options. (Bookshare app is coming fall ’22)
- Bookshare Web Reader: This video demonstrates how to log into Bookshare on an iPad using the Safari web browser to read assigned books with the Bookshare Web Reader tool. For more voice options, “Speak Selection” -iOS accessibility feature- is also demonstrated. Both tools permit book content to be read out loud on the iPad. video. NOTE: web reader has been updated in 2022, so will look different than in this video.
- Voice Dream Reader-paid app: Works on Androids and iPads/phones and will read Bookshare books and also scanned PDFs video
- Dolphin Easy Reader-free works on Androids and iPads/phones. video
- Books App -Free- Works on iPads/iPhones. video
Bookshare instructions-Home use -setting up an individual membership
This is helpful if parents want to download books for their children from home. Jordan or Kelley can help you through this if you have trouble. They will add a parent’s email address into the Bookshare website, prompting Bookshare to send the parent an email, explaining how to set up a user name and password. See link below.
What does Bookshare offer to students who do not qualify?
Bookshare has many free books that can be downloaded from the Bookshare site: https://www.bookshare.org/myReadingLists/368172
On either an iPad or MacBook, go to the site (link above) and look through the list of books. When you find one, click or tap on Daisy with Images and choose EPUB.
Then download it. When you see Available, tap or click on it and it will download.
On a MacBook, open the download and it will open in Books. Students can use the text-to-speech tool on the Mac to read the book aloud. (See Mac Accessibility page of this site)
On an iPad, locate the download. It will open in the Books app and text-to-speech will read the book aloud to the student (see iPad Accessibility page on this site)
Free resources for students-eBooks and audio books
Public Library sources. Sora, Libby, Hoopla
Audibooks are found in numerous ways. The public library offers many titles that can be downloaded through apps such as Libby and Hoopla. These are human-read and are audio-only. If parents want to do this on their own, these two apps will work well. The district uses a different app for school devices: Sora. No library card is needed for Sora.
Important: If a student does not have a library card, their parent can call (541)682-5450 and gain access to all digitized materials, all over the phone. To check out physical books and also have the digitized library, a student and parent must come into the library with a student ID and will be given a free library card.
Our district supports SORA. It is a collection of free and purchased ebooks & audiobooks from the Sora collection and also the Eugene Public Library. There are limited titles and copies, just like when you try to check out a book. The collection is growing and specific requests can be made. Students can check out eBooks and audio Books on their iPads or their MacBooks. They can even check out books on their personal devices.
Students do not need a library card to access these books through the Sora app on their school iPads, personal devices or on their MacBooks!
On a school iPad, find the Sora app and sign into Eugene School District and use the student’s 4J user name and password. Tap on the binoculars icon to search for a book. If your book is there, tap on borrow. You will see audiobooks and eBooks. For an eBook, you will have font choices and colors. (NOTE: you cannot use accessibility features on your iPad/Phone to have the eBook text read to you)
Important: On an iPad, you may already have access to both libraries. Check both lists to find a book.
If you don’t have both libraries, you can link the Sora collection to the Eugene Public Library collection. See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT-bb3kFjOU
MacBooks and Sora: Go to the Sora site: https://soraapp.com/home
Locate Eugene School District and sign in with your 4J user name and password. Watch this introductory video by Amy Page https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT-bb3kFjOU
NOTE: We encourage students with attention or reading challenges to read along on a hard copy of the book, while listening to an audio book. This can improve reading skills and comprehension.
Some schools have purchased a subscription to Epic! for younger students, which offers some titles in audio format and some with audio and highlighting of the text that a child can read along with. These are human voices. For the free version, go to getepic.com/students
Class code is ntx5425
Note: not available weekends or before/after normal school hours for free version
Tumblebooks: This is a great resource for eBooks and audio books for younger students. Many of them show students the visible text while the words are being read aloud in human voices. It is available through some schools which have purchased it, or free from the Eugene Public Library. There are books in Spanish and French as well! There is also an app for iPads.
Storyline Online: Collection of YouTube videos of celebrities reading books for younger children. There is an app for the books. https://www.youtube.com/c/StorylineOnlineSAF/featured
Free eBooks : classics and books in the public domain
Project Gutenberg: Gutenberg offers free downloads of over 60,000 eBooks . They can be read aloud with iPads/phones and laptops.
There are no sign-in requirements. Very easy to use.
Go to: https://www.gutenberg.org/
This is an amazing resource for students of varying reading/comprehension levels. There are hundreds of high-interest articles in many subject areas and each article has several reading levels to choose from. There are quizzes at the end and screen-reading technology will read the text aloud if needed. https://newsela.com/
School staff can create free accounts to use Newsela as a teaching tool on a projector or in a Zoom session with students. Alternatively, staff can create lessons from their free account and share them via Google Drive. The articles can be added to your Drive with or without the multiple choice questions and staff can also save the answers to the questions for grading purposes. See video:
How to make assignments from Newsela articles on a laptop.
Using Newsela on an iPad.
Adding Books icon in order to share/send Newsela article to Books app on iPad
This Google Doc will get you started if you have a paid Newsela account: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mlD_p7C5LRLD_sosRF7fmpZ4Jeq3USkD6fw3iXqINr8/edit