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Additional examples of technologies that help students experiencing problems developing reading skills are provided in the following pages. Common problems experienced by many students are presented, and examples of technologies that may provide solutions to the problems are briefly described. Many technologies can be used to solve more than one type of problem. Therefore, it should not be assumed that each of the technologies listed below is only useful in regard to the corresponding problem presented.

Problem: Student cannot read assigned printed material for a content area. Solution: Obtain materials in alternative formats.

  • Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic® (RFB&D). This Web site, www.rfbd.org, provides educational books (academic textbooks) on audiocassette and CD and has materials in all subject areas from Grade 4 to the postgraduate level. An RFB&D application requires a signature either by a medical or psychological professional or an education specialist.

  • Talking Books at the National Library Service (NLS). This free service from the Library of Congress is commonly referred to as Talking Books. The NLS offers leisure materials and magazines on audiocassette or CD. The collection includes popular novels, classic literature, poetry, biographies, and magazines. The Talking Books program is maintained at www.loc.gov/nls/ by the NLS for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress. The service has thousands of titles available or will order what an applicant requests. Talking Books requires signed applications by a medical doctor, not a psychologist.

  • Bookshare. This subscription-based online service at www.bookshare.org provides digital books to persons with disabilities. A user must complete an application and have proof of disability to subscribe and download books. Thousands of books are available. Also, public-domain books in TXT and HTML formats are available to any subscriber who wishes to use text-to-speech software.

Problem: Student cannot read material from a computer screen or from a printed page. Solution: Scan printed material into a computer, and use technology that reads text aloud on the computer screen.

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Text-to-Speech Software. For a computer to “read” material from a hard copy (e.g., books or magazines), one needs a scanner, scanning software, OCR software, text-to-speech software, and a compatible computer. Users scan the material into the computer as an image, much like a photocopy. The OCR software then converts the image of the page into text that can then be read aloud using text-to-speech software (e.g., OmniPage® Pro 14 and Kurzweil 3000 LearnStation for Windows).

  • Web Resources. If a student has OCR and scanning software, many Web sites have public-domain books, stories, and articles for downloading and “reading” by computers.

    • Project Gutenberg. As the largest e-text site, available at promo.net/pg/, the Project Gutenberg Web site has a wealth of materials divided into light literature, heavy literature, and references.

    • Caveat Lector. This site, www.hicom.net/~oedipus/etext.html, has resources on many topics useful to high school and adult populations.

    • The Children’s Literature Web Guide. The University of Calgary maintains this excellent site for children’s literature at www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/.

    • The Internet Public Library Youth Division. This site, www.ipl.org/youth/, has many stories and poems for young readers. Learning Point Associates

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