Using assistive technology to read digital material to a student has many titles. Among a few are: Audio Supported Reading, Auditory Learning, Text to Speech and Reading by Ear. What this refers to is having the words read out loud with the support of highlighted text.
Let’s talk UDL! What was once a negative is now a positive. In the past it has been hard on teachers and students when assistance has been given to one student but not all others. Who hasn’t heard, “Why does he get that and I don’t? I want that too!” and “I don’t want to look different.” Audio Assisted Reading has many plusses for all! For instance: You want to assign your students research on the process of presidential elections. The articles on the internet will contain words that not all good readers will understand. This is the point of learning. It is supposed to contain some things that are new to you! By using a text reader for some of the more difficult words, a student can avoid skimming over them and missing the deeper understanding of the topic. I used it to read the CAST article cited below. It helps me concentrate and read slower so that I can focus on the content and meaning instead of just finishing the article. I also used it to read this blog post out loud to me to help proofread.
The following article is a good beginning for understanding the basis in research and Education Law for the use of Audio Supported Reading:
- Audio Supported Reading - CAST Jackson, R.M. & Karger, J. (2015). Audio-supported reading and students with learning disabilities. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessible Educational Materials. Retrieved on 5/31/2016 from http://aem.cast.org/about/publications/2015/audio-supported-reading-learning-disabilities-asr-ld.html
Another good read on this subject can be found in this 4-part article. http://www.readspeaker.com/does-text-to-speech-technology-help-students-learn/
Some of my favorite crutches are:
- Read&Write for Google Chrome
- Read: OutLoud
- Snap&Read and Snap&Read Universal
- Readium (Chrome for ePubs)
- Voice Dream Reader iPad
There are many more, including some that come standard as a part of the computer or tablet!
Some internet sites have it built in. Look for symbols like these: