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May 2, 2013 – Reading for All

Written By: Brandi Jordan
X Bookshare - Free Audiobooks for Students

Bookshare - Free Audiobooks for Students

Budgeting within the confines of very limited resources can be extremely challenging – especially for students with learning challenges. is a wonderful program, currently funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education, that provides free reading material to those who have print disabilities. According to their guidelines, anyone with a disability that prevents them from being able to read printed material, such as a physical disability, visual impairment, or documented learning or reading disability, is potentially eligible to use their free digital library.

Bookshare – Free Audiobooks for Students with Disabilities

Students can download copies of text books, newspapers and magazines in a digital format. These digital copies can then be integrated into classroom or home use by playing them on a talking-book program such as the DAISY system and Kurzweil program. They are also available in digital Braille format.

So how do books get on Bookshare? There are a number of ways. Educators can assign books to the site from the NIMAC repository, universities and volunteers can contribute the books that they have scanned, and publishers and authors can grant permission for their books to be used. Teachers can even send in their recommended reading lists!

For more information on how you can help get Bookshare resources for your students, be sure to check out their K-12 Educators resource page. You can also volunteer to upload books or support or sponsor a child for the program. helps all students, regardless of a disability, have access to free digital books. If you know a child in need, see how Bookshare can help.

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  • Becky Kalinski
    May 6, 2012

    Our AT/OT person connected our school with Bookshare. She was able to set up an account so that we have access to this program. We then set up specific student accounts which worked well so that the entire team would be able to assist our student in choosing a book. Then if that book was not read at that time, the student would be able to return right where they left off with another team member. It does work well and the only delays that we found were when we were looking for a specific book and at the most a day’s delay in downloading that book to our student’s account. Get you administrators or AT person to get it done for your school.

  • Michelle Bryant
    March 18, 2012

    This looks like an excellent resource. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cindy Bowser
    October 3, 2010

    I have a student this year who is autistic and I have been trying to find free reading materials. I am going to do more research on bookshare. Thank you

  • Laura
    July 10, 2010

    Thanks for the link. Wish I would have known about this site while I was student teaching. Many of the students in my Middle School Learning Disabilities placement could have benefited greatly from it, as well as the teachers! This site could give a new level of independence to students being “read-to” by teachers due to their disabilities. I’m going to forward this site to all my teacher friends.

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