Amare Leggette, an energetic eight-year-old from Eastover Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina just finished as a top ten finalist in the 2016 National Braille Challenge.
Blind since birth, Amare read at the age of two and soon after learned his multiplication tables. Today, he is number six in the nation after competing in skills such as spelling, braille contractions, timed reading, comprehension and proofreading.
His mother, Teresa Peterson, a science and math teacher for Piedmont IB Middle School, NC, said, “Amare is very curious. He always wants to learn something new.”
Mrs. Peterson credits Holly Jeffries, a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, NC for recommending a Bookshare individual membership to support her son’s interests and thirst for knowledge.
Ms. Jeffries said, “Amare read twelve braille books in his first week of school. This is one third of the entire school’s collection. When you have a student who can read a book in one night, you have to meet that demand. Through Bookshare, students get the accessible books they need. I feel good about maximizing their learning opportunities. During the competition, Amare was poised, brave and determined to do well and he succeeded!”
To join Bookshare, U.S. students must have a qualifying print disability that prevents them from reading print books, such as blindness, low vision, a physical disability or a learning disability. The online accessible library is free for U.S. schools and students who qualify with awards from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education.
Student members can enjoy unlimited access to ebooks and free reading tools for computers, Chromebooks, tablets, and smartphones. They can listen to words read aloud, follow along with highlighted text, read in large fonts and in braille.
There are over 450,000 titles, including K12 etextbooks, Common Core materials, children’s literature, popular teen books, bestsellers, college prep materials, and titles in Spanish and other languages. English language books can be accessed in contracted or uncontracted braille, in either Unified English Braille (UEB) or English Braille, American Edition (EBAE).
Bookshare Helps Kids Experience Life!
“Bookshare is a wonderful educational resource,” adds Mrs. Peterson. “Amare has tremendous recall. As a parent and an educator, I am always searching for solutions that can truly benefit my son, or my students. Through Bookshare, Amare reads independently. We find all types of ebooks that support his interests. It works well for him and for others like him.”
Back in school, Amare is reading and studying fifth grade math. He loves to swim and listen to music. He can tell you about historic events like the Titanic, shark attacks and Pearl Harbor from the I Survived collection by Lauren Tarshis that he read through Bookshare. He can tell you about his favorite book, Magic Tree House.
“Amare is already thinking about next year’s braille competition,” says Mrs. Peterson. “He tells me that Bookshare is a special library for kids like him who are smart and want to be like everyone else. It is a challenge to keep up with my curious little boy, but I believe that successful readers become high achievers, and so I’m glad that he can use Bookshare to experience life as fully as possible.”
Accessible books can make a world of difference academically and socially for children and young adults with print disabilities. Bookshare is an effective and cost-saving online accessible educational library for U.S. schools and students who qualify to promote reading equality and reading skill improvement.
Learn more at www.bookshare.org.