The Bookshare Web Reader: Part 1 – Finding A Book – TTT Companion

Someone reading braille.

Don’t want to read?

Written By Daniel Geisen

Here at eye.t, Daniel primarily works on providing written resources for TVIs and educators. As an educator himself, Daniel knows how important it is to be able to provide equal opportunities to all learners. This is one of the many reasons, Daniel is all in with eye.t. When Daniel is not working alongside the eye.t team, he really enjoys being outdoors and dabbling in creative writing. P.S. Daniel is also an avid fan of the Cincinnati Reds.

Published on

June 11, 2024

Prerequisites

✔︎ CHECK Before moving on, does your learner have familiarity with navigating the internet with their screen reader? Today, our Tech Tip Tuesday companion will offer a way to access books efficiently via the web. Having basic internet navigation skills is important for the following lesson. If your learner needs either a refresher or guidance to do this, check out our curriculum: Basic Internet Navigation.

Introductory Story: Finding the Ideal Book (part 1)

✔︎ READ the following story aloud to your learner.


Second quarter has just started for Q. So far, his courses have gone well and he is growing more comfortable as a learner in multiple classes. English 7, one of his favorite classes, is about to begin a new project where students will be required to read a book and give a presentation on it next month. His teacher, Ms. T, set forth page-length requirements for the book they can choose and is allowing students to select their favorite genre. Ms. T guides her students to a document on their class webpage that has several options of books from which they can choose.

As he goes down the list, Q’s screenreader lists off a few books that catch his attention. More than other genres, Q knows he wants to read a fiction book for this project. The one book that Q is most interested in reading is “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. In his excitement, he determines that he will read this book and create his presentation on it. 

After class lets out, Q goes to the school library with his TVI to ask if they have an accessible copy of “The Hunger Games.” The librarian regretfully says that they don’t currently have a large print or braille version of the book. However, she does recommend searching the Bookshare database. 

Bookshare does, in fact, have a braille copy of “The Hunger Games,” but the trouble is that it won’t arrive for three weeks! Q is disheartened by this news and wonders if there are any other options he can consider before selecting another book for the project. Today, we are going to discover another solution to Q’s dilemma that can potentially gain him access to the book in a matter of minutes.


✔︎ DISCUSS the guiding question, “How can you access a book quickly and effectively?”

Content

Bookshare

✔︎ PLAY from 0:33-1:07

Teacher’s Notes: Bookshare is an excellent database that provides accessible books to learners with visual impairments or low vision. Rather than just waiting for long periods of time for the print copy to arrive, Bookshare allows for downloads of accessible books. Not only this, but there is an online reader provided by Bookshare that will give your learner the opportunity to read right away. 

Check-in:
  1. Are you familiar with Bookshare? Have you used it to download books before?
  2. What is your experience like with Bookshare so far? Share about that.

To Get Started…

✔︎ PLAY from 1:15-1:50

Teacher’s Notes: As you observed in the video clip above, there are generally three things to keep in mind to start using Bookshare. The first and most important thing is to have your learner set up an account. That will allow them to work with the online reader. The other two things to bear in mind include whether or not your learner will use a screen reader or a mouse and if they have basic internet navigation skills if they use a screen reader. 

Check-in: 
  1. If you are using a screen reader, have you been able to navigate the internet well so far with it? 
  2. What would make internet navigation easier or more manageable?

How to Read a Book on Bookshare

✔︎ PLAY from 1:55-3:36

Teacher’s Notes: Make sure your learner has created their account for Bookshare. You will find further instructions below with the activity called “Try It Out” on how to use the Bookshare online reader. This will include commands that will accompany a screen reader as well as how to find important components in a search.

Conclusion: Finding the Ideal Book (part 2)

✔︎ READ the remainder of the story aloud to your learner.


When we last checked in on Q, he was trying to find a way to do a project on “The Hunger Games” for English 7. The library didn’t have an accessible copy for him and Bookshare wouldn’t be able to provide a braille copy for three weeks. Thankfully, Q’s TVI heard about his dilemma and was able to offer an efficient solution. 

Q was made aware that Bookshare also has an online reading option. He refreshes his internet navigation skills and uses his screen reader to begin the process of searching for an accessible version of “The Hunger Games.” To his surprise, he is finally able to gain access to a copy of the book and start his project. Not only this, but he is able to access the book almost instantly.


Prerequisite Tip: In order to make the most of utilizing Bookshare, give yourself a refresher by watching our Tech Tip Tuesday on Reading Tables.

Activity – Try it Out

In this activity, you will try out the Bookshare online reader for yourself. Here, we will include some instructions for you to read aloud to your learner as they try out Bookshare:

  1. Select a book you either have read or want to read and log in to Bookshare.
  2. Once logged in to Bookshare, go to the search field, which also functions as an edit field. Type in the book title you wish to find.
    • With JAWS/NVDA, do this by pressing E. Chromevox requires you to press “Search” plus E.)
  3. Next, your search results will be placed in a table. To navigate the tables, do the following:
    • With JAWS/NVDA, do this by pressing T. Chromevox requires you to press “Search” plus T.
    • Each row contains different results from your search.
    • Each column contains different information about your search result.
  4. When you have located your desired result, make sure to go to the “Read Now” link in order to get started.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve learned how to find books using the Bookshare Web Reader, keep a lookout for our next Tech Tip Tuesday Companion, where we actually show you how to read a book using it! In the meantime, check out our Screen Reader Curriculum, where you can learn more on how to improve your screen reader usage and instruction! Click here to check out our curriculum!

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