Disability & Accessibility Resources

Division of Student Life

Alternative Format Materials

Students who are eligible for alternative format materials as an accommodation at Reed may request their course reading materials (books, course packets, e-reserves, etc) in an accessible electronic format. In most cases, this will be a PDF or Word document in which text can be enlarged, annotated, and read aloud by screen readers and text-to-speech software.

Students are encouraged to first determine if their book is available through the resources listed below. If an accessible format is not available, DAR will assist the student in acquiring an accessible text.

Students are also welcome to use SensusAccess, our self-service document converter, to convert their documents into accessible formats.

Before you submit a request to DAR

  1. Consider purchasing your book as an e-book, audio book, or other preferred format, rather than purchasing a printed version. 
  2. Check Bookshare and Learning Ally to see if your book is available. If you do not have a membership yet, please contact the Accommodations Coordinator.
  3. If your book is not available through Bookshare or Learning Ally, you will need to purchase or rent a printed copy of the book and save your receipt. If buying a used copy, please select one that is as unmarked as possible, as the hard copy may be used to create a scanned digital copy.

How to request a text in an alternative format

If you are unable to locate an accessible text using the resources listed above, you may request your materials through DAR by following the steps below.

For books and textbooks

  1. Sign an alternative format user agreement. We ask students to review and sign this document once a year, to ensure compliance with copyright law. To do so, log in to the DAR student portal and go to "E-Form Agreements." 
  2. Submit a request form for each book: Log in to your DAR student portal and go to "Alternative Format Texts" using the menu on the left. Submit a separate request for each book/text. We recommend that you submit your requests 2-4 weeks in advance to ensure timely delivery of materials.
  3. Provide proof of ownership/rental. In order to comply with copyright law, students must submit proof of ownership or rental for each text. You may upload your purchase or rental receipt through the DAR portal, in the "Alternative Format Texts" section. If you do not have a receipt for a particular book, you may upload a signed Declaration of Ownership to the DAR portal, in lieu of a receipt.

For articles and handouts:

  • Provide the document to DAR. For electronic documents, email the document directly to the Accommodations Coordinator. If your document is a printed hard copy, please drop it off to our office in the Dorothy Johansen House. Please allow up to 5 business days for conversion of these smaller documents.

What happens next?

After your book request has been submitted, DAR will contact the publisher to request an accessible e-text version of your text. Once our office receives the digital file, we will format it and provide it to you via File Robot or a Google docs folder.

If the publisher does not respond within 5 business days, we will ask you to drop off a hard copy of your book so we can remove the book’s binding, scan and format the pages, and re-bind the book. We will then return your re-bound book and provide you with an accessible PDF of the book. The Reed Bookstore has agreed to buy back used spiral-bound books at a comparable rate to books with original bindings.

The DAR office strives to convert and format books within 7-10 business days once we receive the printed book or the publisher file. Requests may take longer at certain times of year (such as the beginning of the semester, when DAR receives a high volume of requests) or if the text requires specialized formatting of charts, graphs, specialized characters, etc. Requests will be processed in the order in which they are received.

Text-to-speech (TTS) resources

  • Capti: Capti is an excellent (and free!) text-to-speech program that is available for Mac, PC, iOS systems. Users can save a playlist that can be accessed online, and Capti makes it especially easy to read books acquired through Bookshare.
  • Natural Reader: Free TTS reader for both Mac and Windows. Has continuous reading and text tracking features.
  • Central Access Reader: Free TTS reader for both Mac and Windows. Has continuous reading and text tracking features.
  • Balabolka: Free TTS reader for Windows. Has continuous reading and text tracking features.
  • Mac text-to-speech: Free, built-in Mac accessibility feature. Reads highlighted text aloud.
  • Voice Dream Reader: For iPhone and iPad. Read PDF, ePub, DAISY, Word, and Text files. Listen to audiobooks in DAISY or ZIP format. $9.99-$14.99.
  • Moon Reader: For Android. E-book reader that supports multiple formats and online e-book sites. $4.99
  • Ghost Reader: For Mac. Similar functionality to Voice Dream. $24.99. Free trial download.
  • Read&Write: For Windows, Mac, iPad, and Google. Full-featured text-to-speech and literacy software that integrates reading, writing, studying, and research support tools. Free 30-day trial.
  • Kurzweil: For Windows, Mac, iPad, and web. Full-featured text-to-speech and literacy software that integrates reading, writing, studying, and research support tools. Free 30-day trial.
  • VoiceOver: Free, built-in screenreader for Mac.
  • NVDA: Free screenreader for Windows.

Find Existing E-books

  • Accessible Textbook Finder: Searches multiple resources and vendors by ISBN or title, and provides the combined results with links to the source.
  • Bookshare: Membership required (but it’s free!). Provides e-books and DAISY books for students with reading-related disabilities.
  • Learning Ally: Membership required (but it’s free for Reedies!). Provides audiobooks for students with reading-related disabilities.
  • Manybooks: Free e-texts of many books in the public domain and the Project Gutenberg catalog.
  • Librivox: Free public domain audio books. Files must be downloaded and are available for offline listening.
  • VitalSource: E-textbooks for purchase; offline reading available.
  • Audible: Subscription-based access to digital audio books.
  • The Audiobook Store: Audio books available for purchase. First purchase is free.
  • iTunes Audiobooks: Audiobooks; mostly for purchase, but some classic books are free.
  • National Library Service: People with a vision disability or reading disability may be eligible to access a free library of audio and braille books. Application required.