Learning Disabilities – Reading

Many resources are available for individuals with learning disabilities.  For example, you may have a child who has difficulty learning to read.  Reading and Literacy Strategies from the PBS Parents advise teaching literacy to children with learning disabilities through systematic phonics-based instruction and comprehension.  They remind parents that you can help your child learn phonics and comprehension skills, but it’s most important that you and your child share in the joy of reading together.

If you are considering Assistive Technology options for your students, the  SETT framework resources by Joy Smiley Zabala, Ed.D.,  the resources from WATI (Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative), and GPAT (Georgia Project for Assistive Technology) will help you to determine your students’ needs in technology.   I included some suggested Assistive Technology Tool options (Low-tech, Mid-tech, High-tech) in Reading from WATI.


 Standard text

  • Use reading strategies & tools
  • Color
    –     Highlighters
    –     Highlighting tape
    –     Colored overlays or reading strips

Books adapted for access

  • Page fluffers
  • Flip Page Turner –  www.ablenetinc.com
  • Visual Modifications
    –      Enlargement
    –      Increased spacing
    –      Hand-held or bar magnifiers
  • Low Tech Modifications to text
    –      Modify vocabulary (use Wite-0ut® to replace wording)
    –      Use visual cues for trouble words, where to start reading, etc.
    –      Language Master to read  trouble words

Mid Tech

Handheld device to read individual words

Use of Pictures/Symbols with Text

–   Hearing Impairments
–   Sign Language Avatars – http://www.vcom3d.com/language/sign-4-me/
–   Visual Impairments
–   Use accessibility features in computer control panel
–  Enlarge text on web browser
–  Work with teacher of Visually Impaired

High Tech

Text Readers as part of the computer OS

Spoken User Interface (control panel)
Text Edit (application included with Macs) Windows OS
WordTalk plug-in (MS Word 2007 for old MS Word)

  • Free downloadable Text Readers

Acrobat Reader – (built into Adobe Reader) – www.adobe.com/AcrobatReader
Balabolka – www.cross-plus-a.com/balabolka.htm
Natural Reader – http://naturalreaders.com
ReadPlease – https://readplease.en.softonic.com/
WordTalk – www.wordtalk.org.uk

  • Web based Text readers

 CLiCk, Speak (works with Firefox browser)– http://clickspeak.clcworld.net
 Read the Words – www.readthewords.com

  • Commercial Text Readers

 TextAloud – www.ablereader.com
 Read: OutLoud – www.donjohnston.com

  • Scanning Software with OCR and Text Reader

ClaroRead – www.clarosoftware.com
Kurzweil – www.kurzweiledu.com
Premier Assistive Technology – www.readingmadeez.com
Read and Write Gold – www.readwritegold.com
WYNN – www.freedomscientific.com