In all of his years teaching high school English, Mr. Keurig doesn’t remember a more diverse class. As always, the group includes all kinds of learners with all kinds of needs. But this year, Mr. Keurig will have a new experience: He’ll be teaching Bonita, a student with a physical disability, and Steven, a student with a visual disability. Mr. Keurig has been told that these students have difficulty using books: Bonita has difficulty holding a book and turning the pages, and Steven is not able to read standard print. Because he plans to assign a lot of reading, Mr. Keurig knows he will have to make accommodations to ensure that they can access the course content. Reading the IEPs that were developed for Bonita and Steven, Mr. Keurig notes that both list accommodations that include assistive technology and alternate formats for text. The problem is that Mr. Keurig has only limited experience with assistive technology and the recommended accommodations. Mr. Keurig is really looking forward to teaching The Scarlet Letter and other novels, but he worries that he won’t be able to find versions that Bonita and Steven can access.
In search of answers, Mr. Keurig seeks the advice of Mrs. Shell, the students’ IEP case manager. During their brief chat, Mrs. Shell confirmed that both students will need to access text in alternate formats, something that can be managed through the use of assistive technology. She goes on to explain that an organization called Bookshare provides a variety of reading materials in alternate formats for students who qualify for their services. Mrs. Shell and Mr. Keurig schedule a time to further discuss these students’ needs in greater detail.
Here is your Challenge:
If you were Mr. Keurig, what would you want to know about students who have difficulty accessing print?
Mrs. Shell mentioned an organization called Bookshare that provides text in alternate formats. What do you think alternate formats are? What further information would you want about this service?
What classroom considerations should Mr. Keurig take into account in order to meet the needs of his students who use alternate text formats?