Assistive Technology for Reading
Hasselbring and Bausch
In this article, Hasselbring and Bausch describe software designed to help students with learning disabilities read independently. Ideal assistive technology for reading should help students understand the text that they are reading as well as improve their reading skills. Hasselbring and Bausch give examples of successful assistive technology software.
Text-reader software highlights text as a synthetic voice reads it aloud. Read & Write Gold is a type of text-reader software that allows students to adjust whether individual words, sentences or paragraphs are highlighted as well as the gender, speed and pitch of the voice reading the text. It also helps students write by predicting what word students are typing, either by the first few letters typed, or the context of the story. Read & Write Gold also has a feature which will read aloud what the student has written, helping them in the composing and editing processes of writing.
READ 180 is another assistive technology for reading. Prior to reading the text, READ 180 gives students background information about the topic in the form of a short video. As students read, they are given tools to help decode, bread into small parts, define, pronounce, translate, and spell words. One year after beginning to use READ 180, eighteen percent of its users no longer need special education for reading.
In conclusion, Hasselbring and Bausch point out that this technology is not some miracle cure for reading problems, but a tool that teachers need to be aware of.