You don’t have to be a Tar Heel fan to enjoy a site created by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Center for Literacy and Disability Studies (although it couldn’t hurt!). From their website, you can access a variety of resources for students with significant disabilities. One of their free resources is the Tar Heel Reader. This large, open source collection of books ranging from kindergarten through 12th grade has been created by teachers, parents, and students from the US, Canada, and other English-speaking countries. However, the books are also translated into seven other languages, as well. Tar Heel Reader addresses a need to find simple books that appeal to a wide audience, especially older students. These books may be read online or downloaded. A nice feature of these books is their accessibility through switches and other technology. Tips for access can be found at this link. One caution: Some of the books may include content that is not appropriate for all students. The website organizers suggest that adults select books for students by creating sets of “favorites.”
Tar Heel Reader may be accessed from two directions. The easiest is the home site, which allows readers to select or write a book. This page also links readers to tech supports. Click on Find a Book to select from 17 topics, ranging from math and science to folk tales. You may also limit your search for books which have been reviewed (there is a three star system which any reader can access). Under the settings icon, you may select an audio feature, choosing from child, male, or female voices. Books may also be accessed through the Dynamic Learning Maps Exemplar Texts, which are listed in “bands” of grades through 12th grade (such as 2-3 or 4-5).
Here’s a sample page from a biography on Dr. King in The March on Washington by NahHyung Kim:
Register to add your own stories for beginning readers! It’s a perfect opportunity for you to showcase your kids’ writing- and your own!