Weblinks for accessible text and eBooks

Images of the CapturaTalk - used to reading aloud downloaded eBooks and to capture text with a smart phone camera and hear instant playbackImage of the Classmate Reader - an innovative option for reading aloud downloaded eBooks

We are often asked about web links to alternative text formats for people who have difficulty accessing traditional printed text. The team here at Spectronics has put together the following web links for accessible, digital text (also sometimes referred to as ebooks). Check out the resources below, and let us know of any websites we have missed. This blog entry will be updated as on a regular basis. Updated 4/3/2010

Digital Text

Books Should Be Free www.booksshouldbefree.com

Books Should Be Free is a provider of free audio books. Books Should Be Free hosts hundreds of free audio books in a wide range of genres. All of the audio books in the collection are either public domain or Creative Commons works. All of the audio books can be downloaded directly from Books Should Be Free and or iTunes. srk-new

100+ Places for Free Books Online www.techsupportalert.com/content/50-places-free-books-online.htm

This is a listing of 193 sites that offer free ebooks for download or for online viewing – from Gizmo’s Freeware Blog

Free Audio Books Online www.techsupportalert.com/content/50-places-free-books-online.htm

This is a listing of 51 sites that offer free audio books for download or for online listening – from Gizmo’s Freeware Blog

Bookshare www.bookshare.org

Bookshare offers an expanding number of accessible books to people all over the world with qualifying print disabilities. Thousands of accessible books are available for download to international Members, based on copyright permissions granted by publishers and authors. Currently Bookshare has over 5,000 books available to Members in 30 countries.

Project Gutenberg Australia http://gutenberg.net.au

Project Gutenberg Australia provides a large number of books which are in the public domain in Australia as free ebooks.

World Public Library http://worldlibrary.net

The World Public Library Association Collection shelves more than 500,000+ PDF eBooks in 100+ languages. Access is via subscription.

Audible www.audible.com

Website for downloading audio books which you can listen to on your computer or on an MP3 player. Links in well with iTunes. Users can download individual books or subscribe to monthly downloads. Most books are high quality and read by “real” people.

Audio Books for Free www.audiobooksforfree.com

MP3, iPOD and DVD audiobooks (adventures, detectives, horrors, classics, children, non-fictions, philosophy, etc.) for download.

PodioBooks www.podiobooks.com/register.phpSerialized

Audiobooks which are distributed via RSS, much like a podcast. Listeners to Podiobooks.com can choose to receive the episodes of their books via an RSS feed or by listening to episodes by directly downloading episodes from this site. Some listeners keep the audio files on their computers, some transfer the book to CD, but most transfer the file on to their MP3 player so they can listen no matter where they are.

The Online Books Page http://digital.library.upenn.edu/books/index.html

The Online Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all.

Free eBooks http://www.e-book.com.au/freebooks.htm

Many books in the public domain may be freely accessed here, as well as some other books under specified conditions. This website lists links to free digital libraries in Australia and New Zealand, and other free ebook websites including religious and sacred texts.

Tar Heel Reader http://tarheelreader.org

Tar Heel Reader is a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. The books may be downloaded as slide shows in PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash format. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens, the IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches

Lite2Go http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go

Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in Mp3 (audiobook) format. Books are also provided on a webpage or PDF so that the listener can read along

LibriVox http://librivox.org

LibriVox provides free audio books from the public domain. There are several options for listening.

WOWIO http://www.wowio.com

WOWIO provides authors with sponsors as the primary source of compensation. Readers get to access the books online for free. Sponsors get opportunities to establish valued relationships with readers. Authors, artists, and their publishers get fair compensation. WOWIO puts it like this – “With WOWIO, you can read complete books online for FREE or pay to download PDF versions of the same ebooks. On occasion, some downloads will be offered FREE to members of WOWIO through commercial sponsorship. With the support of commercial sponsorships, online ads, and your paid downloads, WOWIO is able to compensate authors and publishers with the mission to FREE BOOKS + FREE MINDS”

Children’s Story Books Online http://www.magickeys.com/books

Free online illustrated books for young children, older children and young adults.

International Children’s Digital Library http://en.childrenslibrary.org

The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is a research projectwhich aims to create a digital library of outstanding children’s books from all over the world. The project was introduced at an international celebration at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. in November 2002. The collection’s focus is on identifying materials that help children to understand the world around them and the global society in which they live. The materials in the collection, all presented in the original languages in which they were published, reflect similarities and differences in cultures, societies, interests, and lifestyles of peoples around the world. At the end of the initial research period, it is anticipated that the ICDL collection will include approximately 10,000 materials in at least 100 languages.

Children’s Stories http://www.childrenstory.com

Online children’s stories categorised by Fairy Tales, Nusery Rhymes, Interactice Stories, and Holiday Stroies.

Speakaboos http://www.speakaboos.com/about_us

Speakaboos brings classic children’s entertainment into a digital world. Beloved characters and treasured stories are given new life through amazing celebrity performances, beautiful illustrations, and original music. Speakaboos’ stories fall into six genres: Favourites, fairy tales, fables, folk tales, nursery rhymes, and lullabies.

Aesop’s Fables Online Collection www.aesopfables.com

Online collection of Aesop’s Fables includes a total of 638 Fables, indexed in table format, with morals listed.

Bartleby http://www.bartleby.com

Internet publisher of literature, reference and verse, providing access to books and information on the web, free of charge via a searchable database.

Other Literacy Resources

Daisy Books http://www.daisy.org

The DAISY Consortium was formed in May, 1996 by talking book libraries to lead the worldwide transition from analog to Digital Talking Books. DAISY denotes the Digital Accessible Information SYstem. Members of the Consortium actively promote the DAISY Standard for Digital Talking Books because it promises to revolutionize the reading experience for people who have reading disabilities. Specifically, the Consortium’s vision is that all published information is available to people with print disabilities, at the same time and at no greater cost, in an accessible, feature-rich, navigable format. The DAISY Consortium has established a mission and goals in order to make this vision a reality

UDL Editions of eBooks http://udleditions.cast.org

UDL Editions take advantage of the flexibility of digital media to reach and engage all learners. Leveled supports and the Texthelp Toolbar balance challenge and support for each learner, ages 10 and up.

eLive Magazine http://www.symbolworld.org

eLive Magazine is a monthly publication featuring current world events, movie reviews, geography features and more. The entire magazine is symbolized and is free to download .

List of Dictionaries www.math.uni-paderborn.de/dictionaries

A comprehensive list of online dictionaries.

CAST Bookbuilder http://bookbuilder.cast.org

Use this site to create, share, publish, and read digital books to support diverse learners according to their individual needs, interests, and skills.

Center for Literacy and Disabilities Study www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds

The Center’s mission is to promote literacy and communication for individuals of all ages with disabilities. It is the belief of the CLDS that disabilities are only one of many factors that influence an individuals ability to learn to read and write and to use print throughout their life and across their living environments. All individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, have the right to an opportunity to learn to read and write in order to increase and enhance their educational opportunities, vocational success, communicative competence, self-empowerment capabilities, and independence.

Read, Write, Think www.readwritethink.org

ReadWriteThink, established in April of 2002, is a partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the USA National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Verizon Foundation. NCTE and IRA are working together to provide educators and students with access to the highest quality practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction through free, Internet-based content.

Reading Rockets www.readingrockets.org

Reading Rockets aims to inform and inspire parents, teachers, childcare providers, administrators, and others who touch the life of a child by providing accurate, accessible information on how to teach kids to read and help those who struggle. The project is guided by an advisory panel made up of leading researchers and experts in the field of reading. We produce and distribute research-based PBS television programs, online services, and professional development opportunities, which are available at no cost.

Spark Notes www.sparknotes.com

SparkNotes books and SparkNotes.com help students learn and practice basic skills, write a paper, study for a test and achieve their academic goals. Created by Harvard students for students everywhere and geared to what today’s students need to know, SparkNotes study guides are aids for studying and writing papers. Each guide contains summaries and critical analysis of a large range of subjects including English literature, Shakespeare, History and Math and Science. Study guides are free to read on the web, and many SparkNotes and SparkCharts as downloadable, printable PDFs.


Spectronics Staff

The following sites also have great web links to digital text and ebooks. There are hours of reading and listening waiting for you online: http://atclassroom.blogspot.com http://teachinglearnerswithmultipleneeds.blogspot.com/2006/11/alternate-format-books-and-stories.html http://eduscapes.com/tap/topic93.htm http://www.techsupportalert.com/

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About Greg O'Connor

Greg has been actively involved in supporting the learning of people with diverse learning needs for over 30 years. During this time he has worked as a classroom teacher, school executive, district consultant and regional manager with the New South Wales Department of Education and Training, Australia. Greg’s areas of interest and expertise include supporting people with complex needs, challenging behaviours and autism, and literacy support technologies for people with diverse learning needs. He is passionately committed to the use of inclusive and instructional technologies to support the learning of ALL students in school and post school settings. Greg presents at national and international conferences, provides training and consultancy across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, is currently a committee member of NSW Australian Association of Special Education, and is the Professional and Consultancy Services Manager at Spectronics.

4 Responses to Weblinks for accessible text and eBooks

  1. Rachael Lane says:

    Wow, thank you for this – what a great list! There goes the rest of my week checking them out!

  2. Branko Funda says:

    Thanks so much Greg for putting these sites up. They look great and there are a wealth of resources here that will really help me in my work.
    Am looking forward to exploring these!!


  3. Pamela Holmes says:

    …….and there I was for the last couple of weeks asking all I could find, about books in an alternative format. Where to get them? How they work? and other questions. I should have just asked Spectronics in the first place. I did find some of these sites but now I have more to check out. Thank you for this list. Now we just need to settle the questions about use in the school library and the copyright issues that arise from the loan of ebooks to students that might copy them.

    • Hi Pamela
      Thanks for your positive feedback. We hope to keep this list updated so be sure to keep an eye on this blog.
      The issue of copyright can be a tricky one. The Australian Copyright Council – http://www.copyright.org.au -
      provides guidance under their provisions for organisations assisting people with a print disability, so this would be a good source to check out. For an international copyright perspective go to http://www.pls.org.uk

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