Students who have print disabilities (visual impairments, learning disabilities) affecting their ability to read text may be qualified for alternative forms of textbooks.
First Accessible Textbook Option: Digital eBooks
Varney’s bookstore offers many books for rent in an eBook format, Jumpbooks. Jumpbooks are the preferred delivery method for CouseSmart digital content. This format is accessible with a variety of text-to-speech programs and eliminates the need to request an accessible copy from DSS.
Second Accessible Textbook Option: Request an Accessible File
Students are required to purchase a textbook; however, DSS may be able to find an accessible version to supplement your physical copy. If you receive the accommodation for alternative textbooks, fill out an alternative textbook request or e-mail the office with your request. Request only those books that you need. The necessary information for your request is:
- Class number
- Class title
- Book title and author(s)
- Publication year
- 13 digit ISBN #
Once we have an accessible copy of your book, we will notify you by campus e-mail that your CD is ready to be picked up from the office. You can then use software on your computer (see below) to read your books. If, for some reason, we do not find an alternative copy of your book, we will inform you through campus e-mail. We may be able to scan your book for you and make an accessible PDF file. We can also show you how to scan handouts at the Media Development Center located in Hale Library so that you have easy access to accessible documents.
What kinds of technology are available on my computer to help me read books?
Disability Support Services has had good luck with text-to-speech software called NaturalReader for Windows computers. You can download a free version at www.naturalreaders.com and a “how to” handout is available in our office. For better voices you can also purchase a $50 upgrade.
If you use a Mac computer, iPad, or iPhone, a text-to-speech Mac Reader program is built in. Stop by our office for help setting it up so that you can access your PDFs from your device.
What about other organizations who distribute accessible textbooks?
Commercial Audio Books
Many books can be purchased in audio format instead of the paper version. K-State’s bookstore does not stock many of these but students can order an audio version directly from a publisher or other companies such as amazon.com. Most of the time, these may be textbooks that are typically required in History or English classes.
Learning Ally is a non-profit organization that has many textbooks available in audio format. Students can enroll at a cost of $119 per year. LearningAlly is an online library with a wide range of books available for school or for pleasure reading. Applications are available from Learning Ally by calling at 1-800-221-4792 or visit their website: www.learningally.org.
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
The National Library Service administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail or through the BARD download website. Applications are available from NLS by calling 1-888-657-7323, or visit their website at www.loc.gov/nls.
If you are interested in looking at other options for text-to-speech software you can always stop in and visit with staff.