I am a HUGE fan of Tar Heel Reader – and have blogged about it before. However, Tar Heel Reader has had a big upgrade and has some great changes that I am going to write about over a few blog posts. Today, I’m going to focus specifically on the ability to put your Tar Heel Reader books into iBooks with speech support as I think this is the most useful new feature!
If you aren’t familiar with Tar Heel Reader then I will quickly explain! The site was created as a collaboration between the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and the department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The aim was to create a free online resource that gave users access to a number of easy-to-read, accessible books. And they have now added an easy way to import these into iBooks on your iPad – with optional speech support.
A user can go into Tar Heel Reader and search for a book on a wide range of topics. I was working in a classroom today that is doing a theme on “People Who Help Us”. The teacher, Christina, was actually using a Tar Heel Reader book to introduce the topic so I am going to use this as my example and take you through the steps to get this book into iBooks.
To find a book to import into iBooks, it is easiest if you do the search directly on your iPad. Please note: before doing this, you need to make sure that you have iBooks installed on your iPad. If you don’t have it installed, then click on this link to go to the App Store and download it. iBooks is a free eBook reader from Apple.
Once you are sure that you have iBooks installed, then use the Safari web browser on your iPad go to www.tarheelreader.org and select the large button that says “Find a book”.
Once you have found the book you want, you need to decide if you want the user to have access to speech support when reading the book in iBooks. If you do, then you need to turn speech on before downloading the book. To do this, you need to go into Settings. The Settings wheel for each book is located on the title page of each book, in the top right corner. If you want to download the book into iBooks and have speech available it is important that you do this before downloading the book.
Now that you have selected your voice (or not) you are ready to download the book into iBooks. Once again you need to go to the Settings button, but this time you need to select Download and then ePub to download it in the format compatible with iTunes.
Once you have selected ePub, you might need to wait for a short while during which the download is prepared. After this short wait, a further window opens asking you where to open the ePub book. You should select “Open in iBooks”.
The ePub book will then open up in the iBooks app. You can now browse it just like any other eBook. If you selected a voice before downloading, then there is a sound bar for each page where you can press play to have the text read out to you!
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Once you have imported a few books, you will find that it is really quick and easy to do. And if you know Tar Heel Reader you’ll realise that this gives you a potential library of thousands of easy to read books (with speech support) in iBooks. Yay!!