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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A free online graphic organizer for students to create a visual representation of text to assist in comprehension.

Free online graphic organizer can help students create a visual representation of text to assist in comprehension.
Literacy Support Pictures™

A free resource of pictures from Slater Software. Simply enter the word into the search window. Copy the picture and insert it into the document for picture supported text.
News-2-You ®

A weekly online newsletter with picture supports. Subscribers can download newsletters with differing degrees of difficulty and pictorial support.
Symbol World

Everything has symbols attached to it. Newsletters, stories (for older students also), Nursery Rhymes, personal care and more.

A free online visual dictionary. Diagrams demonstrate word meanings and associations with other words and concepts.
Visual Thesaurus ®

A dictionary and thesaurus with an intuitive interface that encourages exploration and learning.
Electronic Text
Accessible Book Collection

A non-profit corporation that provides high interest/low vocabulary and other digital books to qualified individuals and schools for a modest fee.
Assistive Technology Training Online

This module identifies software features and programs that enhance independent reading opportunities. Includes descriptions, resources, links to programs, e-text and more.

Actors read stories which can be loaded to MP3/Ipod. There is a fee for the books

AudioBooks for Free

MP3 and DVD audiobooks (adventures, detectives, horrors, classics, children, non-fictions, philosophy, etc.) for you to download. You can listen to their mp3 audio books on your computer, SmartPhone, PDA, CD-MP3 or portable MP3 player. Convert their mp3-files into ordinary CD-audiotracks. Some packages are available for a cost.
Baen Books

A publisher of science fiction, will provide its books to “fans who are blind, paralyzed, or dyslexic, or are amputees, in electronic form free of charge.” Application for the free ebooks will be processed by ReadAssist , a volunteer group devoted to helping disabled readers find the books they want in the form they need.

This site contains many of the classics, like Little Women, poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and even full-text Shakespeare. Since the content is purely textual, it is easily accessible for students with sensory impairments or learning disabilities who are using screen readers, text readers, or simply text-to-speech software programs.
BookShare.Org gives print disabled people in the United States legal access to over 31,000 books and 150 periodicals that are converted to Braille, large print or text to speech audio files. As of Fall 08, registered users will be able to download Read:OutLoud, a text reader with study/comprehension supports.
Digital Content in the Classroom

A resource page available at the CAST website. An extensive list of links to digital text resources.
DMFC - Daisy Multi Format Converter

The Daisy Multi Format Converter allows conversion of DAISY books between different formats.
E-text Resources

This site is through Freedom Scientific & lists all sorts of electronic text resources, free and subscription based.

HighTech Redwoods

This website is dedicated to creating accessible documents of all types. This link has tips and the process for creating accessible podcasts.
International Children’s Digital Library

A digital library of outstanding children's books from around the world.
Just Free Books

JustFreeBooks searches the content of more than 450 web sites. With JustFreeBooks you can find public domain texts, open books, free audio books, ad-supported books and more

Librivox uses volunteers to record chapters of books in the public domain, and then release the audio files back onto the net (podcast and catalog). Their objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. They are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.

All of the Gutenburg books available in Mp3, html and pdf format.So, you can listen and read the book at the same time! It nicely done with great chapter summaries.

Literactive provides reading material for pre-school, kindergarten and grade 1 students online. The program is comprised of carefully leveled guided readers, comprehensive phonic activities and a wealth of supplemental reading material which gradually develop a child's reading skills in a sequential manner. Developed and approved by teachers and parents across the United States. Many of the "talking books" can be read with a mouse click. All the material is available for free from this site but you need to register.
Microsoft ® Reader

Create eBooks from Microsoft ® Word version 2002 or 2003 files. The Reader in Microsoft ® Reader (RMR) add-in enables you to convert any Word document into a Microsoft ® Reader format eBook. It is free and has many features found in more expensive programs: text to speech, alter font sizes, annotations color coded bookmarks, notes, colored highlighting, extraction of annotations.

National Center for Supported Electronic Text

The Center has created a Delicious site:

This list has been vetted and has descriptions to help you locate text.
One More Story

An online library (subscription) with contemporary and classic children’s literature. Professionally narrated, highlights word by word, or student can use “I can read it mode” to only hear individual words read as needed.
Project Gutenberg

E-texts and e-books that are over fifty years old and are part of public domain. There is no charge for these books.
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ®

RFB & D is the nation’s largest audio textbook library. They offer audio books for school, recreation and professional reading in addition to playback equipment and software. Schools pay a fee and must provide documentation of student’s print disability.
Resource Room Hi-Lo Reading

Lists of books which librarians & publishers have gathered 'for reluctant readers,' and sites with books specifically written with "hi-low" readers in mind.
Route 66

A beginning reading instructional tool for adolescent and adult learners, particularly those with significant developmental disabilities. Access features as well as essential components of literacy development are built into the program.
Storyline Online

Well known actors read books using different voices for characters, good expression and more. The books are in a movie format so you hear the actor reading but you see pictures from the books, however the words to the books are not shown.
Teacher Taps: Electronic Books and Online Reading

A comprehensive listing of sites for electronic books. It lists sites for age levels Pre-Adult. It also includes a legend identifying which sites are easy readers, have audio, require Macromedia Flash, etc.

The Key

The Key is a newspaper written for new but not beginning older readers. It provides reading material for adults with limited reading skills. These include adults who have not completed their high school educations, those learning English and those with learning disabilities. All material in The Key is copyright free for nonprofit, education purposes.
Modified Electronic Text

Use this free site to create, read, and share digital books for students. Your universally designed books can engage and support diverse learners according to their individual needs, interests, and skills.
Classic Book Shelf

An awesome collection of the classics. Choose your best font, size, even color with a mouse click and the book redraws itself at once using the new font. Do you like parallel margins? Justify or don't, it's up to you. Each time you change an option or turn a page the book redraws itself. It bookmarks where you are in the book when you stop reading and will send you an email with a link that takes you right back into the book and retains your color and size changes.

A simple means for assembling text, picture and sound files into an e-story that supports multiple access means.

Available as downloadable freeware from Switch in Time. It enables users to convert all standard books into electronic documents that can be highlighted, magnified, colored, and speech-synthesized.

This is an open source program that flashes one word or a chunk of text on the screen at a user-determined rate. The appearance is completely customizable. It can be set up to cover the full screen with giant words in whatever font or color preferences needed. WordFlashReader allows the user to pause, rewind, fast-forward...all very important if the reader needs to review for comprehension or just because they blinked or had to look away from the screen. For emerging or fluent readers who want to increase their reading speed.
Text Reader
Adobe ® Reader

Use Adobe Reader to read pdf documents. These are documents that are frequently downloaded from web sites. Once the document is open in Adobe Reader, go to the View menu then to Read Out Loud.

AMIS is a free software program that you can use to read DAISY books. AMIS is a multilingual player for reading books complying with DAISY standards.
Awesome Talking Library

Awesome Talkster combines a browser, directory, search engine, and text-to-voice technology. This allows you to select online text and have it read to you. Children can have the Web pages read to them slowly, but adults can have pages read at normal speed.
Click, Speak

A free download extension that enables text to speech in the Firefox ® web browser


A free Text-to-Speech program (Windows) that allows you to save the output as a .WAV or .MP3 file. You can select from different voices.
Google™ Directory of Desktop Readers

A directory with links and brief descriptions of simple text readers.
HELP Read™

HELP Read™ is FREE software that reads along with you while you do the reading.

Orca is a free, open source, flexible, and extensible screen reader that provides access to the graphical desktop via user-customizable combinations of speech, braille, and/or magnification.

The free version of this text reader uses Microsoft ® voices. The fee version uses natural “human” voices.


Free download for reading PowerPoint ® slideshows/books. You can add in page-forward buttons requiring an action from the reader (switches, touch screen, mouse, headmouse) or leave it to "flip pages" on its own.

A free and versatile online text-to-speech service which allows the user to enter text with the keyboard, to copy and paste it, or to upload text files in a variety of formats from the computer or from other websites. Speech is generated quickly, with a choice from 15 high quality voices whose reading rate can be varied easily. Users can listen online, download an mp3 file for use offline. offers text-to-speech in French and Spanish as well as in English.

A free text reader (also one for purchase) for Windows. Reads any text out loud that you can select and highlight.
Spoken Text

This free resource allows you to record PDF, Word, plain text, PowerPoint files, RSS news feeds, emails and web pages, and convert them to speech. You can download your recording as an iPod book or mp3 file. Every member gets a personal podcast URL , which they can use to download recordings to iTunes or their iPods.

Free download that works with MS Word. It highlights each word as it is read, and it has a talking spellchecker and talking thesaurus.

A web-based, self-voicing web browser that enables blind or other print disabled web users to access the web from almost any computer that can produce sound without installing new software.
Scanner with OCR with Text Reader
Badger Accessibility Services

This service at UW-Madison offers a scanning service for a fee. They will convert with or without “optimization”. Quick turnaround for small amounts of text.

PACER Simon Technology Center

The PACER Simon Technology Center has compared four scan and read software programs to help consumers and families choose which program best suits their needs. This information is current as of November 2008, but is subject to change. It is not intended to endorse one product over the other.

Offer a scanning service where they will copy and make text files "Kurzweil ready," offering a proofing and editing service. This includes spell checking the underlying text as well as zone editing the documents. TechSolutions has also started a library of scanned documents, making some books readily available. For more information call (1-866-538-9984) or go to
Text Reader with Study Skill Support
Talking Dictionary

Talking Dictionary is a speech enabled encyclopedic dictionary that can be used with or without a screen reader. This free talking dictionary is based on the Wordnet 2.1 database and contains over 250,000 words.
UDL Editions by CAST

Cast has combined digital text with the Texthelp Toolbar to provide text to speech, highlighters, other study skills and leveled supported reading strategies.

Professional Resources


The AAC-RERC is a collaborative research group dedicated to the development of effective AAC technology. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) refers to ways (other than speech) that are used to send a message from one person to another. Research Project R1-A: Literacy Support Technologies for AAC Users has a number of resources outlining types of literacy supports for AAC users.

The concepts important for teaching reading in the classroom have been revealed by decades of research in both education and cognitive psychology. What are they and how can a better understanding of how they connect with one another improve reading instruction?

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology)

A resource for NIMAS, NIMAC, Universal Design for Learning, and a support for school teachers and administrators through professional development, consultation, publications, and online resources.
CAST Strategy Tutor is an online multimedia program that provides adolescent learners with customizable mentoring and support as they conduct Internet research, and teachers with supports for using Web-based resources more effectively in the classroom. Strategy Tutor helps students read, research, collect and understand information better and more efficiently.

Home of the TechMatrix 2.0, an initiative of the National Center for Technology Innovation and the Center for Implementing Technology in Education. Users create a customized matrix by subject and/or learning support such as access to multiple representations of text, notation and symbols or access to electronic resources, means to organize and plan, opportunities to learn concepts and other reading, writing, math and assistive technology supports.

An introduction to DAISY books and what they are.
ECB (Educational Communications Board) Educational Resources: Surf Report

Public resource for Wisconsin Educators. The Literacy Center is full of ideas and strategies for developing literacy skills. There are some e-books, but primarily the site is a good resource for supplemental reading activities which may or may not need adaptations for access.
F.A.C.E.S. (Functional Academic Curriculum for Exceptional Students) Curriculum

The primary purposes of the F.A.C.E.S. curriculum are to teach meaningful, age appropriate skills within school and non-school settings and to systematically evaluate students' progress within those settings. Functional literacy skills are included in the curriculum.
Florida Center for Reading Research

This research site includes a chart that describes types of reading programs (core, supplemental, tech based, remedial, implemented by tutor); reading components; empirical research, and misc. notes. Each of the reviewed programs included a pdf narrative.
Free Reading

An open source Website where teachers can access a free, sequential, research-based reading intervention program for grades K-1. offers a complete intervention program in phonics and phonological awareness for grades K-1 with plans to expand to include vocabulary and comprehension. Teachers can follow the full 40-week scope and sequence of lessons or tailor materials to individual students' learning needs. The expansion and evolution of the site will be guided by an Advisory Board of leading reading researchers.
Learning Through Listening

From Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. Educators can download subject/grade level lesson plans, research articles and other materials for free even if the school doesn’t subscribe to the service.
Literacy Profile for Students with Physical Impairments

The purpose of the Literacy Profile for Students with Physical Impairments is to provide a guide to the teacher of students with orthopedic impairments in making literacy decisions.
Never Too Late: Approaches to Reading Instruction for Secondary Students with Disabilities

Part of OSEP’s IDEAs that Work documents for Instructional Practices. Gives two different models for helping older students with reading disabilities increase their skills. Document can be downloaded & printed
Nonverbal Reading Approach

The Nonverbal Reading Approach is a reading strategy designed for students with severe speech and physical impairments. It provides nonverbal students a strategy to sound out words. It also provides a way for teachers to assess if the student can read targeted words.
Project Forum

Identified 15 critical topics within the field of special education and conducts policy analyses on these topics. NIMAS and Reading First initiatives are topics in 2007.
Project LITT: Literacy Instruction through Technology

Focuses on the role that technology can play in improving the reading skills of students with learning disabilities, specifically “talking books”.
Reading Rockets

From LD online. Takes teachers and parents through a series of questions about a student’s reading problems. Describes the process & explains it from the student, parent and teacher perspective. Then gives tips for all three how to help.

Tech Matrix

NCTI and CITEd sponsor technology matrices that compare different features for a number of products. Search by areas such as “Providing Electronic Resources’ or “Providing text in alternative formats”, etc.) The site also contains a comprehensive literature review of the impacts of technology on students with reading disabilities. “A Review of Technology-Based Approaches for Reading Instruction: Tools for Researchers and Vendors”.
The Industry Profile on Education Technology: Learning Disabilities Technologies and Markets

A comprehensive profile of educational and assistive technology, products for students with learning disabilities in reading, writing and math.

Wayne RESA (Regional Area Service Agency)

Wayne Co., MI resource page has a number of pdf. documents that can be downloaded including digital text lists, online books for reading, tips and supports for struggling readers and writers and more.

A free online file converter for pdf files to documents. With the free version, you submit the pdf file and Zamar emails the document to you, generally within 24 hours.

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