September 11, 2009 – Volo, IL – Don Johnston Incorporated is pleased to announce the release of the Macintosh version of the Read:OutLoud® Bookshare Edition accessible text reader. This text reader is now available for Windows and Macintosh users and is free for all Bookshare members.

Bookshare serves tens of thousands of U.S. students who receive special education services and qualify under the 1996 Chafee Amendment. The Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition accessible text reader provides one-click access to over 50,000 digital talking books in the Bookshare library.

Read:OutLoud reads books aloud with human-sounding speech and enables students to directly access the Internet in an accessible web browser. Students can highlight information, take notes, find word definitions in a Franklin Talking Dictionary and accurately cite research through a helpful bibliography tool.  

Read:OutLoud is known for its reading templates that guide students to use the reading comprehension strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel and Reading Next Report. Reading strategies and instructional supports align with state standards to help students effectively research, capture ideas and study independently. The software is easy to use and teachers can be trained in 30 minutes with a ‘Train in 30 Tutorial.’

In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to provide free access to accessible books and textbooks for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. In March, 2008, Don Johnston, an assistive technology developer, partnered with Bookshare, a nonprofit social enterprise, to make books and other print materials accessible for students with print disabilities. Their goal was to eliminate barriers for students to receive timely access to accessible instructional materials, as required by IDEA 2004 (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

For struggling readers who do not qualify for Bookshare, U.S. school districts have purchased Don Johnston’s Read:OutLoud Unlimited Site License to provide access to a broader range of general curriculum materials in digital formats such as: NIMAS, (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard), PDF, RTF, TXT, XML, HTML and DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). The Unlimited Site Licenses start at just over $1,000 per school for every computer and include take-home privileges.

“For 30 years, our company has served students with special needs through effective assistive technology tools,” said Ruth Ziolkowski, President of Don Johnston. “We are proud to be in our second year partnership with Bookshare and excited that more students will have access to digital books and textbooks using our Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition accessible text reader.” 

 

About Don Johnston Incorporated

Don Johnston, www.donjohnston.com, empowers educators with specialized accessible technologies and supported reading and writing tools for students with cognitive, physical, and learning differences. Since 1980, the company has partnered with literacy experts, assistive technology specialists, speech language pathologists, psychologists, teachers, researchers, universities and scientists to develop over a dozen assistive technology products. The company also publishes Start-to-Finish®, a collection of paperback, audio and computer books for students who read below grade level.

 

About Bookshare

Bookshare, www.bookshare.org, is the world’s largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Through it technology initiatives and partnerships, Bookshare seeks to raise the floor on accessibility issues so that individuals with print disabilities have the same ease of access to print materials as people without disabilities. In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), to provide free access for all U.S. students with a qualified print disability. Bookshare now has over 50,000 books and serves more than 60,000 members. Bookshare is an initiative of Benetech, www.benetech.org, a Palo Alto, CA-based nonprofit that creates sustainable technology to solve pressing social needs.

 

Resource Links:

Learn more about the Read:OutLoud® Bookshare Edition Text Reader

http://www.donjohnston.com/products/rol_bookshare/index.html

 

Bookshare Membership: Bookshare offers a variety of membership options for schools, organizations, qualified students and individuals. Visit www.bookshare.org/signuptype to register.

 

Chafee Amendment: American Foundation for the Blind. Initiated by the late Senator John J. Chafee (R-RI), this copyright amendment enables students with visual and print disabilities to qualify for specialized technology to access print materials. http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=44&TopicID=16&SubTopicID=33&DocumentID=1785

 

NIMAS: (National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard)

Watch NIMAS 101: What Educators Need to Know http://www.donjohnston.com./prof_services/nimas/index.html

 

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