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It is Mother’s Day weekend. Reading books together can build strong connections between moms and their daughters, says the popular education and advocacy group that promotes safe technology and media for children.

In fact, Common Sense Media advises that in order to form those bonds a mother-daughter book club is the way to go. I put my special needs lens on this inspiring idea, and the result is: The Mother-Daughter “Accessible” Book Club when either one or both struggles to read print.


The accessible version of the club shifts the format of the reading matter from traditional print to a print alternative. For some readers, print is a proven barrier to learning, including those with learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD, intellectual disabilities and autism. Audiobooks or the audiobooks that are produced with built-in learning supports permit “ear” reading. Learning Ally and Bookshare, AIM-VA’s literacy partners, provide this format at no cost for students whose education teams considered and selected alternative learning materials during Individualized Education Program planning. Students with physical and vision difficulties can also be eligible. 

Exciting, enthralled

The books for the club(s) are suggested by Common Sense Media (opens in a new window) and suited to learners age 8 to 14. Chosen books “have enthralled readers in book clubs, classrooms, and when reading for pleasure at home.” Moreover, the stories are “all bound to spark interesting, thoughtful discussions.” 

Choices range from family stories, memoirs, offbeat romance, science fiction, and fantasy to classics and historical fiction. “Find a title that suits your daughter’s age, reading level, and interest, then dive in together,” the book choosers say. Check out the “Sure-Fire Picks for Your Mother-Daughter Book Club” with descriptions from Common Sense Media, then search Learning Ally (opens in a new window) or Bookshare (opens in a new window) for their accessible versions.

For 8 year olds

For 9 year olds

For 10 year olds


Digital or human narration?

Audiobooks from Learning Ally offer human narration, while Bookshare’s model use synthetic speech and digital voices. Each company has features that may suit individual readers, such as Learning Ally’s VoiceText that highlights words as they are read aloud, or Bookshare’s web reader app that allows access to chosen books on the go with a password and log in from compatible browsers. Eligible students could have free accounts to both services.