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Free Books Online!

Parents can find free books online for their childen with visual impairment from these internet sites.

By Margaret Mary Myers

Many people have worked hard to get classical books onto the internet, so that they will be available to as many people as possible. These are books that are in the public domain. "Public domain" means that a book is past its copyright (usually published in the early 1900's and before).

Librivox provides books that are read orally by readers for your - or your child's - listening pleasure. If your computer is equipped to read an MP3 file, you can simply click and read. Alternatively, if you wish, you can download a file onto your hard drive.

If your student can use a computer with the aide of a screenreader, screen magnification, or refreshable Braille, you may also like the more plentiful options available in text at Or you can copy the stories and Braille them yourself, print them for your child to read with a video magnifier, or use them in any educational way you wish. This site provides: Kid's Classics, Short Stories, Novels, Nonfiction, and Poems. For your older child or yourself, you may be interested particuarly in the Autobiography of Helen Keller. Also available is Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington.

Another resource I would like to share is the Gutenberg Project. These are files that you download onto your computer. I haven't tried them yet, as I had an overloaded computer until very recently; so I got used to using only things that we could just "click and read"; but the advantage here is the scope. The Gutenberg Project has 20,000 free books available. If you like the Gutenberg Project, you may like some of the curriculum suggestions of Miss Maggie at her Old Fashioned Education website.

Another resource where downloading is required is At this site, they will be happy to sell you downloads to your MP3 or other personal player; however, they also offer free downloads to your computer.

Is your child a user of the Library of Congress, National Library Service Talking Books, which are available on specially formatted tapes? And the many Braille books they offer?

Did you know that you can look for specific books and you can also look for specific categories of books? The Library of Congress search page for this has a drop-down box where you can choose Audio, Braille, or both. Once you find out what books are available, you can request them from your local NLS library by phone or by email.

For those who are eligible, these books are completely free! They ship them out, and you mail them back, using Free Matter for the Blind mail. The Library of Congress books are available to the "blind and physically handicapped". (However, visually impaired children on the L.O.C. Talking Books at school can't get them in both places.) For questions about certification, just check with the website above.

Margaret Mary Myers homeschools her legally blind teenage son in Baltimore, Maryland. She shares snippets of her experiences and resources at her VIP-Homeschooler Blog.


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