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Readers for ebooks

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Reading Skills Development

Readers for ebooks

E-Readers are the applications used to view available e-books that are often enhanced with music, external links, simulations and sound effects. Many offer additional features such as the ability to highlight text, bookmark a page, search a book for for a word or a name or look up an unfamiliar work in a dictionary.

Students who are blind or have learning disabilities use computers for reading text in an accessible format through a screen reading device and/or software that speaks words produced on the computer screen. E-Reader features include text-to-speech so that any e-book can be read aloud.

E-books are able to provide information in alternate formats to diverse learners, effectively reducing the "Digital Divide" that exists for students with disabilities. They are going to change how education is delivered and may reduce the cost of textbooks and print materials. Although e-books have great educational potential, publishers have been reluctant (due to intellectual property and industry standards) to move to this format. Recent legislation requiring instructional materials to be provided in alternate formats may encourage publishers to move quickly to resolve these issues.

eReader screen shot- click to enlarge
enlarge image

In using the e-book version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, as a student clicks on a word on a page several options become available: hearing the word, adding a highlight, copying the text or looking up its meaning.

No need to actually turn a page or look through an index. Finding other occurrences of a word is immediately available!


There are several popular free eReaders that can be downloaded to your computer to read any text file or e-book. Some include graphics, offer a 2-page view and provide ways to draw and take notes.

  • Microsoft Reader (2.0) is a free e-book reader that will read any available e-book on your Windows computer and Pocket PC. After the Reader is installed, add the Text-to-Speech option to hear any eBook read aloud. In addition, you can create eBooks from any MS Word file by installing the Add-in feature; an icon on the Word toolbar will provide the means to do this. Using this feature, you can locate any e-text file (e.g. from Project Gutenberg website), copy/paste/save it as a MS Word file. Click the new toolbar button and the file is converted into the eBook format for Microsoft Reader; it is added to its library.
  • Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader
    This free eReader allows you to read with 1 or 2 page format and brings in clear graphics. eBook publishers determine if a book can be printed or read aloud. Has both PC and Mac versions.

Comparing eBook Readers (Barnes & Noble)


E-text sources

eBook Sources

...and eBooks for all
Site provides updated information and resources to electronically published books.

Audible.com makes it possible to download or buy audio books, lectures, public radio programs, newspapers and more, to listen to at your desktop computer or with a portable device.

eBook Connections
Directory of e-book related sites including guides and reviews.

Knowledge Rush Book Directory
This directory of e-books is a work in progress and a community effort. It encourages users to contribute their favorite books and sites.


Lambropoulos, Dinos. A Virtual Paradise for Readers in E-link Newsletter Archives. Offers information on books for e-readers. November, 2002.

Meyer, A. & Rose, D. (2000). Learning to Read in the Computer Age. CAST Website: http://www.cast.org/udl/index.cfm?i=18

O'Neill, Jennifer (February 06, 2001). Book Industry Takes Lessons From Napster: Publishers try to deliver what you want in a digital book, but still turn a profit. PC World.

EBook Add-In Reader for Office 2000: Make any Word 2000 document into an EBook-format document. PC World, Apr 23, 2001

Poftak, Amy (April, 2001). Getting a Read on E-Books. Technology and Learning Network.

Sly, Rudolph (July, 2000). eReaders for Handheld and Palm-size PCs. PocketPC Magazine



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