Monday, November 26, 2018

Accessing BookShare Texts

My last blog post was all about Bookshare - who qualifies, how to enroll students, how to use the digital text repository (now with over 671, 000 books!), and how to provide your students with their own "library" of preferred books within the website. It is important to know what options there are to access the digital text. The website offers information here.

I would like to point out a few features and tips that you may miss if you are unfamiliar with the read-aloud tools. The first option is the Bookshare Web Reader. This is a quick and easy way for a student to get immediate access to their customized bookshelf created by a teacher using the Read Now feature. Many schools offer students access to Chromebooks. Unfortunately, the text to speech voices installed in Chromebooks are often not the highest quality. Instead, use the Read & Write for Google Chrome Extension combined with the Bookshare WebReader.  There are excellent
voices available using this free tool which offers dual color highlighting for students as they follow along with the text. It is possible to change the voice and voice rate setting. This method can work well during silent reading time (with earbuds).

Voice Dream Reader icon

A more comfortable option, if you like to curl up with an iPad, is the use of either the Voice Dream Reader ($14.99) or Dolphin Easy Reader (free, with in-app voice purchases) apps. Voice Dream Reader is absolutely the best option due to it's numerous customizable features and advanced visual settings. You can learn more here. In addition, it is possible to highlight text and add notes and extract the highlights and notes to a Google Doc or other app. This can be especially helpful when students are looking for evidence within text.
Dolphin Easy Reader icon
Dolphin Easy Reader has many customizable features and is an excellent choice as well. One of the options it offers which is unique when considering read aloud/text to speech tools is the ability to add text notes AND voice notes. This can work well for students who want to leave a quick comment or reminder or use other active reading strategies.

I hope this information helps you in providing students what they need.

No comments: