Bookshare: Wonderful, Free Assistive Technology Tools

Bookshare ( provides a wide range of free, digital curriculum materials for individuals with print disabilities and those with intensive academic needs. While its features can support reading instruction, Bookshare is neither an intervention nor a replacement for explicit reading instruction. For wraparound evidence-based instructional practices, use the 12 English Language Arts (ELA) Instructional Strategy Guides available in PowerUp What Works in conjunction with Bookshare.

Bookshare provides access to texts in ELA, social studies, science, math and other subjects to ensure that students with print disabilities have the same opportunities for the development of content knowledge as their non-disabled peers. Its use can support the development of reading skills, namely phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Bookshare can be especially helpful for students that

  1. have severe and persistent academic or behavior problems
  2. are not making adequate progress in their current instructional program
  3. present with very low academic achievement and/or high-intensity or high-frequency behavior
  4. have not responded to secondary intervention programs delivered with fidelity

Although a free resource, not everyone is eligible to use Bookshare. Those who are eligible are individuals that have documented

  • severe learning or reading disabilities who struggle to obtain information from print using standard print-based instructional materials
  • evidence that they continue to struggle to access print despite high quality instruction and interventions

Those who are not eligible include

  1. Students receiving initial instruction in reading
  2. English Language Learners who do not have a print-based disability
  3. Students who may be struggling because they have not been exposed to quality instruction
  4. Students who like to hear books read to them

Learn more about eligibility, reading tools, membership and more by watching “Learn it Now” Tutorials

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AIR Informs Episode #6: Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities During COVID-19

Remote learning requires adjustment for all students, but students with disabilities face additional challenges during the COVID-19 quarantine. In the latest episode of AIR Informs, Allison Gandhi, managing researcher and director of AIR’s special education practice area, describes some of these obstacles and shares strategies to help students make the most of this time.