Overcoming reading barriers

About 10 million K-12 students have trouble reading print content, according to Learning Ally, a non-profit organization that helps students with print disabilities such as blindness, visual impairment and dyslexia. The organization offers programs around reading and student empowerment.

This week’s Tech Tip comes from Tyler Davis, an eighth-grade student in Utah and an ambassador for Learning Ally’s Yes! Program. Tyler explains how audiobooks helped him overcome reading barriers caused by dyslexia. The content has been edited for length and clarity.

I read more. [Learning Ally] has helped me read more books because it reads at a faster pace than I do. It doesn’t have to stop to sound out a word, like I might have to. The books also show the text on my screen and highlight sentences while they’re read. Highlighting words helps me connect the visual and verbal together.

I’m building my vocabulary. The audiobooks have also helped me to increase my vocabulary. When I hear a [new] word I can listen to the whole sentence to figure out what it means. [I’m learning] the right way to use words.

I keep up better. [Learning Ally] has a website where I choose books and download them to my library. I then use the Learning Ally app to access the books on my iPad (you can use other devices, too). If I have extra time in class I can pull out my iPad and headphones and read without disturbing the other students. I can now keep up with my class. It makes me feel good knowing I can read at the same rate as everyone else.

I enjoy reading. Since starting with Learning Ally I have read more books than ever before. They’re more interesting. The books are human-narrated instead of computer-narrated so voices match characters. I have tried different kinds of books and enjoyed every book I’ve read. Reading now seems more like entertainment; it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore. It is so much more relaxing for me.

Tyler Davis is an eighth-grade student in Utah and a Yes! Ambassador for Learning Ally. The Yes! Program lets older students serve as mentors for younger students who have learning differences.

Tech Tips is a content collaboration between SmartBrief Education and GreyED Solutions. Have a tech tip to share? Contact us at techtips@greyedsolutions.com

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