Chapter 7 – Assistive Technology for Reading Introduction 1 Using the sett process 7 Decision Making Guide 8 sett process 9 Reading Continuum 14 Reading Continuum

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As the team completes the SETT process, questions may arise about the student’s ability to perform certain reading tasks. Standardized reading assessments or teacher observations may answer those questions; however, adapted, specialized or alternative assessments are occasionally in order.
Adapted Phonemic Assessment

Phonemic Awareness is the ability to hear, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words. It is an auditory skill and does not involve words in print or sound symbol relationships. However, it is one of the building blocks of beginning reading skills because it involves the isolation and manipulation of sounds. Because it is auditory and oral in nature, phonemic awareness is difficult to assess in students with complex communication needs. Standard phonemic assessments such as The Phonological Awareness Test can be adapted using Boardmaker picture communication symbols. Students are presented with symbols (with no text label) representing words/phonemes that demonstrate a student’s phonemic awareness of segmentation, isolation, deletion, substitution and blending. Students could select the symbol using a preferred selection method (e.g., pointing, picture exchange, eye gaze) instead of vocalizing the sound or word.

Commercial Alternative Assessments

Some skills are more accurately assessed using a commercial product designed for a specific population of students. Stages is a seven-level developmental framework that assesses a student’s cognitive and language abilities. Stages 4, 5 and 7 assess early reading and reading/writing skills. Additionally the program has built in access features such as single switch accessibility. A promising program still under development is the ABC-Link. It asserts that it will be a reliable and valid reading assessment tool for use with students who have complex communication needs (CCN). Students will have to be able to respond yes-no, select from a field of four, and have access to the alphabet. In its final form, ABC-Link will yield individualized instructional plans. The goal is to guide instructional decision-making for students who experience CCN. Standard, percentile, and other types of scores will not be generated as a result of completing the assessment because ABC-Link is intended for use as a guide to good instruction rather than as a tool for accountability, program placement, and/or eligibility. Other reading based programs such as Simon S.I.O.™ and WordMaker® track student progress and identify areas for further work.

Response to Intervention (RtI)

Response to Intervention (RtI) is a general and special education initiative that combines best practices in both fields. As staff work together to analyze those students who continue to struggle to develop reading skills despite skilled differentiated instruction, we should see Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and AT mesh together so that all staff and students use multiple means of expression and representation. That may mean that a school district has a text reader installed on all school computers so that any student can hear digital text read back to them by the computer. It may mean that teachers regularly represent textual facts, characters, timelines, etc. using a graphic organizer and encourage their students to do the same. It may mean that all staff and students know how to manipulate digital text to increase readability by increasing font size, word, line and margin spacing or change background and text color. Talking and standard handheld dictionaries might be available in all classes and media centers. There will still be those students who need more intense and individualized intervention and resources including very specific assistive technology, but our hope is that those distinct lines between students who are using AT and those who are not will start to blur.

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Erickson, K. (2007). Student Success: Progress After All These Years” In Route 66

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Products_Mentioned_in_Chapter_5___Product'>Products Mentioned in Chapter 5




NextUp Technologies, LLC.

Amazon Kindle®

AspireREADER 4.0 ™


AT&T Natural Voices™





AbleNet, Inc.


Don Johnston Incorporated

CAST UDL Book Builder


ClassMate Reader



Crick Software

Crayola® Erasable Markers




CueLine® ED

Onion Mountain Technology

EZC Readers ®

Available online

EZDaisy Talking Book Player


FineReader Pro





AbleNet, Inc.

FP™3 Player


Franklin Talking Dictionaries

Franklin Electronic Publishers

Hefty Tabs

Lee Products Company

Highlighting Tape

Lee Products Company

HyperStudio ®

Sunburst Technology


Cambium Learning

IntelliTools Classroom Suite

Cambium Learning

IntelliTools Reading: Balanced Literacy

Cambium Learning



IRIS Pen series

I.R.I.S. Inc.




Freedom Scientific

Key to Access©

Premier Assistive Technology

Kid Pix®

The Learning Company

Kidspiration ®

Inspiration Software, Inc.

Kurzweil 3000™

Cambium Learning

Language Master

2000 Drake Educational Associates Ltd


LeapFrog Enterprises

Literacy Support Pictures™

Slater Software

Little Step-by-Step Communicator

AbleNet, Inc.

MEville to WEville

AbleNet, Inc.

Microsoft Word®


Monkey Business at the Market

Slater Software

My Own Bookshelf





OmniPage Pro


PDF Equalizer

Premier Assistive Technology


Slater Software

Planet Wobble

Crick Software

Playaway® audio books

Follett Library Resources

Post-it Notes

Office supply stores



QuickLink Pen ® Elite

WizCom Technologies LTD

Reading Pens

WizCom Technologies LTD

Read & Write for Mac


Read & Write GOLD





ReadPlease Corporation

Scan 'n Read

Switch in Time

Scan N Talk

Colligo Corporation

Scholar Digital Talking Book Player


Simon S.I.O.

Don Johnston Incorporated

Sign Smith™



Assistive Technology, Incorporated

Start to Finish Books ®

Don Johnston Incorporated

SwitchIt Maker 2

Inclusive TLC

Talking Word Processor©

Premier Assistive Technology


Freedom Scientific


NextUp Technologies, LLC





The Phonological Awareness Test

Lingui Systems

Thinking Reader

Tom Snyder Productions


Somatic Digital Technology

Transparent Post It Notes

Available locally

UKanDu Little Books ®

Don Johnston Incorporated


Available locally

VictorReader® Stream


Visual Thesaurus®

Thinkmap, Inc.



WordMaker ®

Don Johnston Incorporated

Write:OutLoud ®

Don Johnston Incorporated

Writing with Symbols 2000



Freedom Scientific

Internet Reading Resources (based on the Reading Continuum)

Standard Text

Reading A-Z

An excellent source of literacy materials that can be printed or adapted. A free 30 day trial is available. Colored online reading materials from RAZ-Kids.
Starfall Learn to Read

A free website featuring a multitude of stories appropriate for Early Childhood through second grade.
Seussville Story Maker

Users can create a three-scene story selecting from "Dr. Seuss" backgrounds, characters, and music. You add your own text. When the story is played, the text appears in "conversation bubbles" but is not spoken.

An online collection of books for young readers up to middle and high school aged. Picture books have been adapted with sound, music, narration and animation. Those for older students have adjustable text, highlighting options and audio narration. They include chapter books, high interest, classics and English and American literature. Free trials available.
Books Adapted for Access
Accessible Book Collection Wiki

This Wiki has templates from Clicker 5 and IntelliTools Classroom suite that are designed to meet the needs of as many students as possible. Download the templates and books that others have created and share books that you have done.


A Macintosh program. You copy and paste text to makes audio books with chapters and everything! Can be transferred to MP3 files, etc.
Tar Heel Reader

Tar Heel Reader is a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces (i.e. switches, alternative keyboards, touch screens, and dedicated AAC devices). The books may be downloaded as slide shows in PowerPoint, Impress, or Flash format. You may also write your own books using their tools.
Handheld Device for Reading
Children’s Illustrated e Tales

Handheld application of children’s books
iPod eBook creator

Convert text files to iPod Notes, download existing eBooks from the eBook library. Conversion of web pages and copy & pasted texts is available. Conversion of RSS feeds to iPod Notes is available for registered users.
Many Books

Free eBooks for your PDA, iPhone, or eBook reader.

Free ebook titles for Palm
Palm ebook Studio

Creates eBooks that can be read by the eReader and eReader Pro software on Palm OS ® or PocketPC handhelds.
University of Virginia eText Library

Free ebook library for the Microsoft ® Reader and Palm.
Use of Pictures/Symbols with Text
Boardmaker ® Books

A list of many books that have Boardmaker symbols already made for them from the Baltimore City Public School System.

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