Created by UNC Professors Karen Erickson, director of the UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies and Gary Bishop in Computer Science, the site allows teachers, parents and volunteers to easily create books on topics of interest to readers of all ages. Prior to the creation of Tar Heel Reader, most early reader material was geared toward preschoolers.
Readers with impaired movement can read books using only one or two switches. Readers may also have the book read aloud using text to speech.
Nearly 15,000 books in 15 languages are available on the site. The readers come from 150 different countries and all 50 states. In many countries the site is being used to teach English as a second language.