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Download Books for Students and Use Text Reader Software to Read them

Understanding the Bookshare format

When you download a book from Bookshare, you will get a compressed file, sometimes called a ZIP file. Before you can use the book, you'll need to extract the files or "unzip" the file. The result will be a folder with several files in it.

You will need your Bookshare "download" password in order to extract the files. will prompt you to set up a separate "download" password and will remind you of what it is when you download the zip file.

Once you've extracted the files in the downloaded book, don't delete any of them, even though they don't appear to do anything on their own. The XML and OPF files in that folder rely on the other files for graphics and formatting information.

Where to download the book

Because the book is copyrighted, you should not save the book to a public folder. Every MCPS school has a Copyrighted Text folder within the Students drive on the network. This folder is secure and you may save the Bookshare files there. You can also save a book to the student's "My Documents" folder because only that student will have access to it.

Remember that only the students whose names were provided to the ITSS in step 3 will have access to the Copyrighted Text folder.

How to read the book

The file from Bookshare provides the full digital text of the book, but you still need to use text reader software to have the book read aloud. Most MCPS schools use Kurzweil 3000 for this purpose. You could also use SOLO Read:OutLoud, Natural Reader or WordQ. Students using Bookshare at home will need to download their own text reader software. provides two text readers for download for free to Bookshare members.

Learn more about incoporating text readers into the school day in step 5.

Learn more about using Bookshare at home in step 6.


[<-- step 3: Identify those who need access]   [step 5: Incorporate time for digital reading-->]

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