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Alternative Reading Formats
The following are reading resources for persons with blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, and learning disabilities. Most are free services for people who can show a documented disability.
Learning Ally is a leading provider of audiobooks. The library contains titles in a broad variety of subjects, from literature and history to math and the sciences, at all academic levels, from kindergarten through post-graduate and professional. Anyone with a documented disability-including a visual impairment, learning disability or other physical disability which makes reading standard print difficult or impossible-is eligible to use Learning Ally's audio textbooks. School age and adult learner memberships are available. Proof of a print learning disability is required. A qualified professional in the field of disability services, special education, medicine or psychology can provide proof of a print disability.
Choice Magazine Listening provides audio recordings of memorable articles, stories, interviews, essays and poems from outstanding current magazines. The service is free to blind, visually impaired, physically disabled or dyslexic adults.Experienced editors select from a list of 100 mainstream magazines and literary journals and produce 12 hours of listening quarterly. Professional readers, not volunteers are used. A special digital talking book player is provided free of charge for those who wish to receive the book cartridge by mail. Alternatively, listeners can download the files to a computer thumb drive or a purchased thumb drive. Contact CML by phone, 888-724-6423.
For people with blindness or visual impairments, Chicago Radio Information Service, Inc. (CRIS) is the eyes of Chicagoland. They provide verbatim readings of newspaper and magazine information 24 hours a day, seven days a week from all daily Chicago papers (including a weekly Spanish paper). Featured are job ads, radio dramas, sports, TV listings, and articles from popular magazines. There is also a dial-in service listeners can call to select readings they wish to hear. You must have a special radio to pick up the CRIS Radio sub-frequency; these are provided free of charge to listeners who need them.
The NLS offers the Books on Tape Program, consisting of Braille and recorded books and magazines to more than 850,000 readers (children and adults) through a network of 56 regional and 90 sub-regional libraries throughout the United States and its territories. This cooperative network is made up largely of state and local public libraries that circulate books and playback machines directly to readers.
One of the best ideas ever realized into one program is Bookshare, a program that allows persons with blindness or visual impairments, a physical disability that affects the use of printed materials or a learning disability that also affects use of printed materials. Anyone in the world with a qualifying print disability may join; it is free to U.S. students. People with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, emotional or intellectual disabilities or whose first language is not English generally do not qualify. Digital books can then be read with a text-to-speech reader or talking screen reader. The Bookshare program also offers the option of downloading the digitized text into Braille format with embossed Braille capability. Bookshare.org takes advantage of a special exemption in the U.S. copyright law that permits the reproduction of publications into specialized formats for the disabled.