Announcing the Ashley Tapparo Memorial Bookshare Subscription Award

By Shareef Phillips, posted on
Two headshots of Ashley Tapparo with a birds eye view of the ocean waves splashing against the brown sand.

Free Bookshare subscriptions to be awarded to high school graduates in the US with a qualifying disability to help them pursue post-secondary and continuing education  

Ashley Tapparo was a bright young woman, talented artist, and beloved daughter, sister, and friend who dreamed of attending college and studying marine biology. In spite of Ashley’s best efforts, she was unable to fulfill all of her dreams due to her passing last June at the age of 18 after a long battle with cancer. In the course of her treatment, Ashley utilized Bookshare’s accessible ebook library to obtain books for her classes and for pleasure reading.    

Dear Bookshare: Thank you for being such a big part of keeping my daughter Ashley engaged in school during her multiple battles with cancer. She unfortunately passed away last June, and I just wanted you to know how much your organization made a difference in Ashley’s life.  

Sara Tapparo, Ashley’s mother 

Ashley’s mother, Sara, wants other students who face reading barriers such as learning or physical challenges to have the same resources and support that Ashley had in order to make their educational goals a reality. To honor Ashley’s life, giving spirit and legacy, Benetech is awarding up to ten annual Bookshare subscriptions in her name. See below for the submission form, timeline and criteria.  

Check out a Special Collection of Ashley’s favorite books in Bookshare!

Timeline and Application for Submission Process  

  • June 30th, 2023 – Ashley Tapparo Memorial Award is officially announced; Online application form available here.
  • August 31st, 2023 – Deadline to submit application at 12AM midnight PST.
  • September 1st – 25th, 2023 – Award committee reviews applications and selects winners.  
  • September 25th, 2023 – Winners are announced .
  • November 13th, 2023 – Subscriptions begin on Ashley’s birthday. 

Benetech is honored to offer this award in memory of Ashley, with the support of her mother Sara, and the rest of her family, to celebrate and ensure lifelong learning for other aspiring students.  

Who Should Apply for the Award  

Are you a high school senior or recent graduate with plans to continue your education but it was interrupted due to a health crisis, chronic illness, or disability? Are you a student with a learning, visual, or physical disability who is unable to attend a traditional college or vocational school and needs accessible educational materials to continue your education? If either of those or similar scenarios apply to you where you don’t already have access to a free membership, we encourage you to apply for the award.  

Students who are interested in applying for this award should meet this eligibility criteria:  

  • – US high school students who are preparing to graduate and continue their education whether in higher ed or other pursuits of continuing education, but have taken or plan to take a gap year due to health reasons.  
  • – Existing Bookshare members who are transitioning from free school accounts sponsored by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to paid adult accounts after they graduate from high school.  
  • – Students who are new to Bookshare and have a qualifying reading or perceptual disability, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works.  
  • – Candidates must complete and submit an online form by August 31, 2023. 
  • – Candidates should be prepared to explain their educational goals and how they plan to use the Bookshare subscription to achieve their goals. 

Bookshare is only available for individuals who have a qualifying reading or perceptual disability, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works. Bookshare brings people from all backgrounds together through technology that makes reading easier. Learn more at