Lesson 21: Required Reading Requests for Students who are Blind and Low Vision
You will spend a significant amount of time in college reading materials required for your courses. Instructors in college or career school will outline the required readings for your classes in the course syllabus. Because you will need to locate and purchase the materials from a variety of resources, the sooner you have the required reading list, the better your chances are of beginning the semester prepared to keep up with the workload.
Write a letter addressed to either a current teacher or a future college or career school instructor requesting the reading list for the course. Be sure to properly format your letter. Have someone from your personal network, such as your parent, teacher of students who is blind or low vision, or vocational rehabilitation counselor, proofread your letter. Save an electronic copy in your college resource file.
The following are key points you may want to include in your letter:
- Indicate that you are registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities at your college or career school because you have a documented disability. Remember, you are only required to disclose the accommodations you need. It is your choice to disclose you are a student who is blind or low vision.
- Specify the accommodations you are eligible to receive or refer to the accommodation letter the Office for Students with Disabilities gave you. You should attach the accommodation letter to your personal letter or email.
- Request the title, publisher, copyright, and International Standard Book Number (ISBN) number for each book.
- Request a copy of the course syllabus in advance to schedule readers.
- Provide a reasonable time frame for your instructor to send you the required reading list so that you have adequate time to locate and obtain the materials.
- Include your email address and phone number.
Not only should you email a signed letter to your teacher or instructor, but also, take the time to personally introduce yourself and hand-deliver the letter to your instructor. Taking this extra step will give you the opportunity to establish a good working relationship with your instructor.
Read pages 94 through 106 of Chapter 3 in College Bound, A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd Edition, by Ellen Trief.
Take notes of pertinent information to answer the following questions:
- Have most professors had experience with a student who is blind or low vision in their class?
- What are five key points you should cover during your initial meeting with a new professor?
- If a reserved reading is not available online, can you make photo copies of readings to have available for your reader to read to you?