Over the years, I've seen many students 'fake-it' by carrying around a book they cannot read but they want to look like their peers, so they do. When someone asks about the book or attempts to carry on a conversation, the whily dyslexic tries to skillfully avert the details, sometimes they make it through unscathed, other times it is painfully obvious they don't know what they are talking about and someone gains more information about him than he/she wishes. Having access to audio versions of books gives a life-gift to kids with reading challenges. This passed March, for March is Reading Month, I got together with our librarian and PTO organization to purchase 12 audio books, 12 portable CD players with headphones, rechargable batteries and a charging station. The kids are chomping at the bit to check them out!! The CD players allow kids to take the book to their classroom or even home so they can listen at their leisure. It doesn't do much good if they check out a book without a way to listen to it. Although it may be an expensive risk to let the CD players go home, a $50 bill if the book and player don't come back, it is more important to the kids to feel like they are a step closer to their peers. This is worth the cost of replacing a few a year.
Bookshare is available thru schools and is free for those with a reading disabiltity. You can't beat FREE!!!! With an iPad, we can download the Daisy version which shows the text on the screen and highlights the words as they are being read. My son uses this system, he can see and hear the text which keeps him more focused. He enjoys seeing the words and reading along with the story. The exhaustive nature of reading is markedly diminished allowing him to plow thru novels and keep up in conversations with his friends about the latest greatest books.
The company, Learning Ally is an amazing resource for parents, teachers and those with reading challenges. They not only offer digital books, but also audio books, read by a person AND textbooks in audio format which is huge for high school and college kids! They are a non-profit company that is growing in leaps and bounds! They offer high-quality webinars, teacher training, parent resources and more! Their annual fees are doable for most. Imagine the possibilities for kids who have a high interest in a higher-level subject area---they could essentially learn engineering or marine biology or a host of other subject matters auditorily & independently! If you are of the means and wish to make a substantial difference in your local community, consider sponsoring a school or entire district's access to Learning Ally, especially for the textbook access to so many kids with IEP's and 504 plans can level the playing field by Ear Reading.