Tell Us Your Story: "An Appreciative Member"

Finalist 6 of 14

In thinking about how Bookshare has impacted my life, I initially thought of my students first. What a tremendous writing assignment with built-in motivators! The more I contemplated the idea of having them participate in this project, the more I thought that I owed Bookshare my perspective as well.

As a teacher, I naturally have an enormous amount of reading to do — especially since my position at the time of my vision loss was that of a language arts teacher in a resource room. After teaching for ten years without issue, it was disconcerting to me when I found myself struggling to read the print of the books that I was assigning my students. As the print became less and less accessible, my future as a teacher became more and more questionable. I still had the knowledge and passion, but I was lost for the means in which I could perform to the standards that I expected of myself. Frustration and tedium of getting through a book with the students spelling aloud the words in which they were unfamiliar was counterproductive, to say the least. For someone who was trying to instill the love of reading, I found my self and my students avoiding the whole situation. I knew that there was no way that I could slight my students, so I wrestled with alternatives. This is when I discovered Bookshare. I learned that I could read whatever my students were reading; I could listen to the books in order to create my tests and lesson plans electronically; and I could download the BRF files to read on a refreshable Braille Display to monitor their oral reading. No longer did they need to spell out every other word!

As I have grown in my repertoire of skills; Bookshare has also continued to grow. Two features of Bookshare that I have found most beneficial is the inclusion of professional books. I have been able to advance and refine my career using these features. Now with the incorporation of NIMAC books, even more avenues are opening up for me professionally. While career is important to me, the joy of being able to talk with friends about books and share ideas has been one of those social life rafts. There are many things that I do not participate in socially but Bookshare has left this avenue open for me.

For all these things, Bookshare has proven to be an irreplaceable part of my life!

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