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Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

"Pokémon GO" Heats Up Summer: A Great Op for Librarians to Promote Accessible Pokémon Books

July 28, 2016

Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO, the mobile game for smartphones, is so popular that daily usage data from SimilarWeb show it beats popular services like Twitter, NetFlix, and Spotify. Now, librarians are getting in the game with book displays and more. 

Best formats 

Teachers and parents of children with Individualized Education Programs are hoping librarians will raise awareness about versions of Pokémon books in accessible formats that best suit and invite children with print disabilities to read frequently. 

Llibrarians who mount displays have an opportunity to mention accessible no-cost reading materials that come in audio, braille, large print and digital formats under federal special education law for eligible students. 

Quirky quests 

Pokémon GO combines video and the 1990's Pokémon TV series with augmented reality, GPS, and a camera. When the colorful creature appears super-imposed on local backgrounds, players can "catch" it by throwing a Poké Ball. 

"Though Pokémon GO is still new, libraries are already joining in the fun and connecting with enthusiastic patrons," says an academic librarian in Boston. Carli Spina cites what's happening in Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know? on the School Library Journal website. Here are some ways that school librarians are getting involved in this phenomenon.  

Accessible books 

"Emerging tech creates opportunities for libraries to connect with and educate patrons in unexpected ways," Spina says. To add to what Spina finds, librarians could expand the library's digital reach by raising awareness about accessible book versions for eligible students with Individualized Education Program plans. Students whose school teams considered and checked Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) or Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) can go online and download books from Bookshare, a national partner providing AEM. Here are available titles:

Books by Tracey West:

  1. Pokémon The Lost Riolu
  2. The Power of Three (Pokémon of Galactic Battles) 

Pokémon GO outreach efforts that include AEM would welcome to library settings children with physical, sensory, and learning disabilities including dyslexia. Such efforts could increase acceptance of the many ways that children with print disabilities read for pleasure.

And then there is Siri

Apple's "intelligent voice assistant," Siri, another option that supports students with print disabilities, uses the audio format to answer questions about this magical world. Check out this Newsweek story, To Catch 'Em All, Ask Siri About Pokémon, by Margarita Noriega. Who knew Siri has a hidden Pokémon library?

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"Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. " — Neil Gaiman