A Boatload of Accessible "Banned Books," Others Await Virginia Students Who Struggle to Read Print
Read Right Now Banned Books week may be controversial, but access to literacy is not. Thanks to Virginia teachers there is a "boatload" of accessible books both on and off banned booklists that are ready to order, download, and/or be delivered free to eligible students in the Commonwealth. Accessible editions give students with print disabilities the chance to read what their peers read. Accessible books and good teaching practices boost literacy and increase chances for successful inclusion.
Book conversions happen when students with a print disability need "accessible educational materials" (AEM) under federal special education law and an exception to federal copyright law. AEM operates nationwide. Schools or families of eligible children incur no costs.
Taking Literacy Seriously Converting books from print results from actions by special education teams, including general educators and school administrators, on behalf of individual students. There is a proud record at some Virginia schools of putting AEM in place because print books and inaccessible digital print both fail. Eligible students have physical, vision, and learning disabiltiies, including dyslexia. It is a mystery as to why more schools are not participating since all digital text is not accessible, including more recent purchases by schools of electronic textbooks.
Books converted from print in one state, however, stay in that state due to restrictions by publishers. AIM-VA's track record over time means there is a continually growing list of available textbooks and of trade books that a school owns. One impressive example is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Thanks to teacher requests, the following editions are available:
Large Print, PDF: Accessible, Nimas, RTF, HTML, PDF: Fully Accessible, Word, ePub. An audiobook version is available from AIM-VA partner, Bookshare. Students can have more than one version of a book as needed for use at school and/or for homework. The AIM-VA Bookfinder identifies converted book and each format is explained on the website.
We Are AIM-VA Find more information on eligibility, services, and free training related to print disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Start on the AIM-VA home page for students in Virginia. In other states, contact a special education teacher or school administrator to explore AEM or download the list of AEM state contacts..