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All Children Read: Bookshare
In many countries, students who are blind or have other print disabilities face formidable barriers as they pursue their education in the midst of a widespread book famine. In countries with several regional languages, such as India, even when a child with a print disability does receive an accessible text, it is the bare minimum to participate in class—with little or no reading materials to strengthen their learning outside the classroom, and few opportunities to complement their braille learning with other modes, such as audio. Preliminary data from schools for the blind shows very low levels of early grade reading skills, ranging between 10-15%.
Benetech is implementing a two-year pilot project to provide visually impaired students in Maharashtra, India, with mother tongue instruction and reading materials through Bookshare, Benetech’s digital library of accessible books. The project will offer age-appropriate, high-interest books in Marathi in both human-narrated audio and hard-copy braille to students in three schools for the blind. This will allow the students to benefit from a multimodal approach to learning early reading skills, while ensuring that they receive a strong foundation in braille literacy and an early familiarity with assistive technology for educational purposes. URC is providing support in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), including implementation of the early grade reading assessment (EGRA) tool.
- Undertake the necessary design and development work to ingest, host, and distribute human narrated audio content in Marathi.
- Partner with three schools for the blind in Maharashtra to pilot offering comprehensive Bookshare services to their primary school students.
- Deliver a curated collection of locally relevant human narrated audio books, along with braille created from text files.
2015 to 2017
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development partnership - Australian Government