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Using Computers for Reading

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Using Computers for Reading: Reading Sources


Adapting Books | Highlighters | Electronic Text

Reading can be particularly difficult for students with learning disabilities. See the Reading and Writing Modules for more suggestions.

Adapting Books

When books are adapted, they can making reading more successful and enjoyable for children. Adaptations can include making book easier to use (turning pages, holding), text easier to read (simplify, change) and to remember. The Boston Public Schools Access Technology Center addressed this need in a workshop, Recipe for Adapting Books, that offers a systematic approach to the process of adapting books.



When using hard copy books, try applying color coding to emphasize key points. To do this, use

  • Pens, markers, hightlighter tape, folders, etc.
  • Sticky notes for headings, labels, etc.
  • Sentence strips; story sequence, retelling (manipulatives)

Re-written Text
Text can be re-written in a lower reading level, printed out on re-useable labels and adhered to the pages of a book to make text more accessible for all students in a class.


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Electronic Text

There are an increasing number of books available in e-text format. Benefits of this format includes the ability to change how the text appears. How a student sees the text can impact her ability to read and comprehend. Cluttered pages with little white space and small print makes reading more difficult. With e-text, try resizing the font and controlling the color contrast of the text and background to make onscreen reading easier.

Studies show that when a student can listen to text being read as they follow along, comprehension may be enhanced. Try using books on tape or CD or digitizing text by using scanners and text-to-speech software programs. Several textbook publishers are working towards e-text versions:

Prentice Hall SuccessNet Several Middle and High School textbooks are now available in electronic format. These "iText" versions include the complete textbook which has been enhanced certain images with videos, slide shows and other multi-media elements.

WizeUp.Com works together with publishing companies to create digital versions of college textbooks. Original textbooks are provided in full, page-by-page, graphic-by-graphic—while providing interactive experiences.



Start to Finish Books
These books have been re-written for 2/3 and 4/5 level readers. Over 60 titles are available and come in 3 formats: audiocassette, hardcover book and CD book. Software features include enhancing text with definitions and explanations of text, bookmarked pages, and audible reading.

Project Intersect
Project Intersect is creating a set of digital books, available to be read via the Internet. These books are infused with a wide variety of resources to support comprehension, extend reading strategies, provide background information, improve content area achievement, and to help students meet state standards. Available books include:
Diary of Opal Whiteley
On The Run
Your Genes
Juan Bautista de Anza
American History SourceBook
Gettysburg Address
Mayflower Compact
Poe Short Stories
Letters of Virginia Reed
Romeo & Juliet
Origin of the Species
Huckleberry Finn

Accessible Books Collection (subscription required)

BookShare.Org (subscription required)

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