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Talking Word Processors

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Reading Sources

Reading Skills Development

Reading Sources

Materials for High Interest/Low Reading Level | CD-ROM Story Books | Online Books | Reading Curricula

There are a wide variety of resources and software programs designed to promote literacy development. Some encourage exploration of words, sounds and relationships, others focus on specific curricular skills areas associated with literacy and reading; many incorporate read aloud features.

Several authors have created scales for determining the readability level of text: Dale-Chall, Fry, Flesch and Spache. A free resource using the Fry Formula that will give you general grade level of any written information can be found on Kathy Schrock's site. It includes directions for using Edward Fry's Readability Graph.


link to: reading sources pdf
High Interest / Low Reading Level Books (pdf)

Materials for High Interest/Low Reading Level

These books are designed to motivate students who read on lower levels by combining interesting reading information with low vocabulary. Literacy resources include many books which can be scanned into the computer to be read aloud with special software programs.

Other sources include software series such as Start-to-Finish (Don Johnston, Inc) books that offer their stories in three formats: CD-ROM for a "talking" computer book, paperback book and audiocassette to provide different levels of reading intervention and support to promote independent reading. Over 60 titles are available in two reading levels 2/3 grade and 4/5 grade.


CD-ROM Story Books

The Cat in the Hat screen shot
The Cat in the Hat
(Living Books: Broderbund)

For early readers, these programs provide an opportunity to hear a popular story read page by page. Words are highlighted as they are read. These programs also allow the user to interact with words and objects to amuse and further strengthen the development of language and labeling skills. Several offer word explanation or definition.

Several resources exist:

Ukandu Series (Don Johnston, Inc.)

Living Books (Broderbund)

Story Time Tales (P. King De-Baun)

Web LINK: Project LITT
This project gives profiles of over 200 Talking StoryBook software programs.

Are Talking Storybook Programs Effective? (pdf)
Article: Rena Lewis, in 1999-2000 issue of Closing the Gap.



link to: reading sources pdf
Reading Resources (pdf)

Online Books

The Internet is another resource for stories and books for elementary students. Some sites offer stories at various reading levels to download. Some of them are "classics" or well-known eBooks; others can be found only online.

These stories can be read aloud with a screen reader or by importing them (with copy and paste commands) into talking word processing programs.


Online Book Page

Kids Domain

Traditional Stories Online

Children's Literature Web Guide

101 Fairy Tales and Fables

Classics for Young People

Story Plus
StoryPlus is an online children's publisher offering a large choice of stories. Some books are free, others have minimal charges (i.e. $1.00- $3.50). Format options in clued text only, text with audio, illustrated text and audio with illustrated text.

TumbleBooks™ are animated picture books, complete with text, music, sound and narration, for children five to eight years old. Purchase and download stories from the web. TumbleReader allows you to read the books on your computer or Pocket PC.

Project Intersect
The project offers digitized books and support materials to support comprehension and extend reading strategies. Includes subject archives and suggestions for curriculum integration.

Subcription Sites

Websites exist that require subscription opportunities to "users with print disabilities" to legally share books in specialized formats, including braille, audio or digitized text. Organizations that serve individuals with print disabilities may sponsor subscriptions for their students or clients.

"... it is not an infringement of copyright for an authorized entity to reproduce or to distribute copies of a previously published, non-dramatic literary work if such copies are reproduced or distributed in specialized formats exclusively for use by blind or other persons with disabilities." [Copyright Law, Chaffee Amendment, 17 U.S.C. § 121]

Site offers thousands of books for download by members in accessible digital formats. With wide range of current books, subscription available only to U.S. residents who have a visual or other print disability or to organizations that serve individuals with print disabilities. Go to the Demo page for book examples and reader features.

Accessible Book Collection
A collection of e-books where the reading level has been determined along with an interest level and the # of words. Includes Picture Books; where the pictures can be used in creating your own storybooks- subscribe for $49.95 per school year per school!

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Reading Curricula

Several publishers offer series of computerized books and/or complete reading programs which offer literacy opportunities for students at different interest and reading levels. The programs often combine interactive software, quality print materials, with take-home materials. Digital versions lend themselves to easy adaptation for students with disabilities.

Software Resources

WiggleWorks (K-2); Literacy Place (K-6) Solares (Spanish K-6) Scholastic

Breakthrough to Literacy (K-2) Wright Groups

Start To Finish Books Series (high interest/low reading level) Don Johnston, Inc.
· Classic Adventures
· Nick Ford Mysteries

Ukandu Little Books (K-2) Don Johnston, Inc.

Stories & More (K-1) Riverdeep
Well-known children's storybooks are electronically reproduced and available with related activities.

Earobics (Pre-K - 3) Cognitive Concepts
Earobics Literacy Launch is a research-based early literacy solution designed to ensure that all students have the foundational skills they need to be successful readers.

Balanced Literacy (K-1) (IntelliTools)
This nine-unit program provides a complete year of literacy instruction at a first grade skill level. Over 117 story, pattern, and letter books provide ample opportunities for students to read


Literacy Resources

Technology in Literacy Resource
A print and online publication of the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group of the International Reading Association. Provides articles, print & web resources and suggested uses of technology in the classroom on balanced literacy.

Reading Online Journal
The journal focuses on literacy practice and research in K-12 classrooms, including print, digital and visual uses. It looks to support professionals as they integrate technology in the classroom. We have included 2 articles for review:

Research on Children's Literature
A Chapter Summary from the Handbook of Reading Research
by Gwynne Ellen Ash, Bernice E. Cullinan and Lee Galda
(Posted April 2001)

Our Children's Future: Changing the Focus of Literacy and Literacy Instruction
Dr. Donald J. Leu presents foundational principles to guide educators as we transition from books to new forms of literacy and learning.
(Posted March 2000)

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