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Tar Heel Reader screenshotAbout Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Reader is a website designed to help teachers make accessible, beginner-level books for children with disabilities and adults learning to read, using WordPress as a publishing platform and Creative Commons images from Flickr.

Tar Heel Reader is a collaborative project involving Professor Gary Bishop of the Department of Computer Science and Professor Karen Erickson of the Center for Literacy & Disabilities Studies.

The Tar Heel Reader library now includes more than 50 thousand books in 27 languages. Books on Tar Heel Reader have been read by users in 203 countries and insular/overseas territories.


The site hit 2 million books read within 1,000 days of launching.

Tar Heel Reader hit 10 million books read in January 2017.

An article was written about how Tar Heel Reader helped beginning readers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About Dr. Gary Bishop

Dr. Gary Bishop is a professor and the associate chair for academic affairs in the Department of Computer Science. He specializes in enabling technology research, which means he and his students develops software to enable people with disabilities to participate fully in education, literacy, and play. In addition to Tar Heel Reader, Dr. Bishop and his students have built Hark the Sound, a collection of sound-based games for children with visual impairments; Tar Heel Typer, text generation software using a variety of input and output methods for those who cannot use a conventional pencil; and Accessible YouTube, a switch-accessible interface for browsing the video hosting website YouTube. He is also the driving force behind Maze Day, an annual event in Sitterson Hall for visually impaired children. Read more about his research on his personal website.

Dr. Bishop was one of the first four professors chosen to be a Faculty Engaged Scholar, named by the Carolina Center for Public Service and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Service to conduct projects that connect faculty work and community needs. He is also the student organization advisor for the UNC Enabling Technology Club.