“My child doesn’t like to read. Is there technology out there to help my child when they have to read for school?”

Deena Seifert, MS, CCC-SLP

I hear this question more times than I can count in my private practice. Some students prefer to read rather than listen to audiobooks. Some like to be read to while they follow along in their book. Still others are auditory learners and prefer only to hear the passages. The first step is to determine which of these scenarios applies to your student or child.

Audiobooks

You have several options if the student prefers to hear with or without following along in the book. Bookshare.org is an initiative from Benetech, a non-profit company, that feels people with print disabilities “deserve to enjoy reading as much as other readers.” This on-line library of digital books allows people with print disabilities to access copyrighted materials. Many publishers donate their print material to this great organization, as well. This service is free for U.S. students with a print disability. You can apply for a school or an individual membership and have a qualified professional (educational consultant, psychologist, speech-language pathologist) sign off on the application. It works with a computer or a tablet. Read2Go is the Apple app and Go Read! is the android app. The Text-to-Speech feature is well done.  Finally, the Overdrive app allows you to “borrow” books from your local library  for free.  A great way to read e-books without the extra cost.

Book Readers

Kindle Paperwhite

There are many book readers on the market: Kindle, Nook, and iPad to name a few. The only dedicated reader with Text-to-Speech is the Kindle (with the exception of the new Kindle Paperwhite which does not have Text-to-Speech). You can choose a male or female voice, slow, medium or fast rate.

While these are great tools, if a student is having trouble understanding what is being read please consult a speech-language pathologist that uses strategies like Lindamood Bell’s Visualizing & Verbalizing Program to help him/her make movies in his/her head to recall details, and make inferences and predictions.