Thursday, September 13, 2012

Read a Book!

Time and again, educators encounter students who struggle with the decoding process of reading. The comprehension is there, they just can't get the words. Historically we've turned to books-on-tape, or more current, books-on-CD. This is a great way to help students hear literature, but it doesn't really support the acquisition of reading skills.

Imagine that you download a book (maybe even a NY Times Bestseller) to your computer or iDevice and the device reads the text aloud to you, while highlighting each word as it reads. This happens using Don Johnston's "Read: Outloud" on your computer (PC or Mac), or if you want portability, you use "Read2Go" for your iDevice.

The folks at Bookshare are determined to bring great e-books paired with read-aloud to people with disabilities.  To date, Bookshare offers 161,310 titles in both fiction and nonfiction works.

Bookshare is a free service if your reader has a qualifying disability. Through the service, Don Johnston's Read: Outloud is also free. Read2Go on you iDevice retails for $19.99. Read2Go on the iPad is bigger obviously, but the iTouch is really portable and discrete, especially with headphones.



If your student has a disability that makes it difficult or impossible to read a printed book, she most likely will qualify for Bookshare services. To confirm that she qualifies, you, or the organization representing you, will be asked to provide your Proof of Disability (certified by a qualified professional) during the registration process.

The table titled "Eligibility" provides guidelines for determining what qualifies as a print disability. It also lists examples of professionals qualified to make this assessment.

Selection of Stephan King
Information regarding Membership Options can be found here.  If you are a teacher, it may make sense to have one person at your school get a membership and "manage" your readers. It's really pretty simple, and an incredible service.

One last note, the folks at Don Johnston have compiled a body of research that supports the efficacy of pairing reading instruction and technology. Check it out here. Nothing like "evidenced-based teaching"!

Happy reading!

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