Free Digital Library Promotes Reading Independence for Middle School Student

By Chernek, Valerie | The Exceptional Parent, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Free Digital Library Promotes Reading Independence for Middle School Student


Chernek, Valerie, The Exceptional Parent


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Kurtis Broeg (pictured above), special education teacher and learning strategist in Williamsburg, Iowa, uses Bookshare to provide access to digital books for qualified 9th-12th graders with reading and learning disabilities. Mr. Broeg said, "The Bookshare library has brought reading independence into the life of my 9th grade student, Megan Krapfl and more harmony for her family."

In 2008, Mr. Broeg worked side by side with his general education english teacher to identify appropriate reading strategies and assistive technology tools that would assist students with learning disabilities who read below grade level. He discovered Bookshare after attending a local community meeting. Over the past year, he has downloaded over 30 books from the online library. "Required reading assignments in junior and senior high school can be long and difficult for average readers," he said. "For struggling readers, it can be nearly impossible to have a successful reading experience. Bookshare has transformed my students' reading experience and has saved me countless hours of searching and locating required books."

The Bookshare online accessible library helps school administrators comply with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) requiring schools to provide accessible reading materials to students who qualify with print disabilities. Using a digitized version of a book and ebook reader software, Mr. Broeg can quickly manipulate the text and add questions from the English teacher to customize a reading experience for each student. "Using Bookshare, I request a novel or textbook and within days I receive it in digital text. We can prepare lessons in advance to add comprehension questions and create a unique study guide to address a student's particular learning challenge," said Broeg. …

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