As an English pre-service teacher, I am always learning and researching about how to make my classroom universally designed. Recently in one of my special education courses, we came realized that we never go over the kinds of universal technology that help our readers and writers. I took it upon myself to find a resource that helps students who may be slow readers, have trouble pronouncing words, or have visual impairments or dyslexia. Here is what I found:
Learning Ally is nonprofit organization that provides a collection of over 80,000 human-narrated books to help readers improve comprehension, confidence, and performance. The content they offer is centered on the core-curriculum, featuring text along with the professional recordings. The program works on computers, tablets, and many mobile devices, making it easy to use and a personalized experience. There are two programs: 1) $49/quarterly for four audiobooks or 2) $119/year for unlimited audiobooks. The first program would fit nicely into any school unit, because the books for that semester’s curricular could be downloaded and used in class. The site features many success stories and celebrates readers from all backgrounds. However, the program is only licensed to those with a documented disability.
Like Learning Ally, many other programs and tablets have read aloud features that can help struggling readers. The great thing about tablet readers are that the benefit and are open to ALL students rather than just accommodating for those with diagnosed disabilities. By giving every student the choice to use assistive tech, no one will feel different, disabled, or given unfair advantages.
Here is a link to the Learning Ally website: Learning Ally
Below is a descriptive video featured on LEarning Ally's website and YouTube channel:
Photo by Brian Moore, "Using more iPod Book" on Flickr