Students with many different disabilities may have difficulty with reading. This may involve having difficulty identifying words in print, understanding printed text or remembering what is read. It can also involve difficulty in holding a book or turning pages. There are many assistive technology tools to help with reading including both hardware and software. The following lists include possible solutions:

Low Tech Adaptations for reading:

  • Standard text at a lower reading level
  • Predictable books
  • Changes in text size, spacing, color, background color
  • Book adapted for page turning (e.g. page fluffers, 3-ring binder)
  • Use of pictures or symbols (rebus) with text
  • Reading Helper
  • Highlighter Tape   Highlight any text, then remove the tape without damage. Use for teaching about highlighting or for color coding.
  • Book Holders
  • Carbonless Notebook
  • Erasable Highlighter Yellow highlighter on one end and 'magic' erasing ink on the other. Use to correct or eliminate what you highlight.
  • Franklin Spelling Ace   Spelling Correction for over 110,000 words and 500,000 synonyms. Also features confusables, personal word lists for use in games, and a crossword puzzle solver.
  • Hefty Tabs Virtually indestructible colored plastic tabs for marking place in books or notes. Also can be written on.
  • Neon Highlighter Set Pack of 6 brightly colored chisel point highlighters with a rectangular grip are easy to hold and allow more precise highlighting of text.
  • Magnifying Bar Magnify map or page images for visual or attention needs. The magnifying bar is lucite with a yellow line through the middle to help with tracking.
  • Note Taking Paper Heavy weight notebook paper with dark blue lines and additional pale blue shading. Helps older students keep writing within the lines. 100 sheet package.
  • Page Up Clever copy holder holds up to 20 sheets of paper in an upright position. Use next to the computer or at the student's desk when a standing copy is needed. Small enough to throw in a backpack or purse or to fit between computers. Assorted colors.
  • Pocket Magnifier Magnify map or page images for visual or attention needs. The pocket magnifier comes with a plastic case and is the size of a credit card.
  • PortaBook Compact lightweight bookstand that opens to 5 different angles, holds books open & stores flat to carry easily. Can also be used to carry papers, pens, and pencils when closed.
  • Plastic Reading Guide
    Heavy duty plastic guide, just the right size for signing credit cards and checks. Also makes a perfect reading guide that won't rip or tear.
  • Post-It Mini Tape Flags
    Thin, flexible, and color coded removable plastic flags to mark important pages or areas of text and notes.
  • Post-It Notes Collection
    Assorted, self-sticking note pads in various colors and sizes, including one larger size ruled pad. Use for organization of notes, to mark important text, to keep assignments, or to insert questions and ideas into text while reading.
  • Reading Helper Set
    Flexible reading guides with built in filters. The set contains one each of red, green, blue, yellow, pink, orange and purple filters. These filters are easy to use and carry around and are valuable for tracking as well as color needs.
  • Red-Light Note-Taking Pen
    With so many lectures and class lessons taking part in darkened rooms for multi-media presentations, this red light pen provides an ideal tool. It also provides an important focusing -color tool- for students with attention problems.
  • Redi-Tag Arrow Page Flags
    Multi-colored, thin, flexible stick and remove plastic arrows to mark specific areas of text in a book or in notes.
  • Transparency Files
    Set of colored plastic files for color coding student work, color filter trials, and making contents visible for easy viewing. 
  • Digital Voice Recorder
    90 seconds of recording time, up to 160 separate messages that can be accessed individually. Great for assignments, short answer tests, short messages.
  • Talking electronic dictionary or computer software to pronounce challenging words
  • Single word scanners
  • Scanner with Optical Character Reading software (OCR) and talking word processor
  • Electronic books Colored Overlays
  • Page Holder 

Handheld Dictionaries and Spellers: 

Speaking dictionaries offer auditory and visual supports for improving vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing.

Digital Audio Book Resources:

E-Text Reading Programs

Literacy Programs:

  • Earobics
  • Edmark Reading Program by Riverdeep
  • Reading Assistant by Soliloquy
  • The Bookworm
    The AbleNet BookWorm provides a simple and friendly way for students with disabilities to "read" their favorite books or classroom worksheets. Adapting each book takes 15 minutes or less.
  • Word Talk – is a free text-to-speech plugin for Microsoft Word. It will speak the text of the document and will highlight it as it goes. It contains a talking dictionary to help decide which word spelling is most appropriate.

Scan and Read Programs:

These programs offer multiple reading and writing supports.

  • Kurzweil 3000
  • Read and Write Gold by TextHelp
  • Reading Pen Basic Edition K-12
    For people with difficulty reading and ESL students. The Reading Pen is a hand-held, pen shaped, high resolution scanner with advanced text-to-speech technology. Scanned sentences are displayed in large font and words are clearly pronounced.

  • Franklin Speaking Language Master
    The Speaking Language Master is specifically designed for more than one user, one can create a study list of words and let a fellow student or family member have their own study list, or use the large screen and display to share a definition or game with a friend. Use Franklin's Dynamic Phonics Guide to hear how letters in a word sound. Includes 130,000 words, 300,000 definitions, over 500.000 synonyms, a Grammar Guide, and much more. Find not only definitions of words, but find words in definitions.

  • Free demos of scan and read programs for low vision and learning disabilities including dyslexia are offered. Also available is a demo of the new Rite N Talk software which reads handwriting back to the writer.


Other Resources: Simon Technology Center

 LoTTIE Kit for Literacy
Onion Mountain Technology provides four types of LoTTIE Kits (Low Tech Tools for Inclusive Education). These kits are collections of low and mid tech tools providing reading, writing, math and organizational aid. They are designed for teachers, classroom aides, and support professionals to use with students (grades K-12) who have special needs.

 LD Online  Suggestions on the use of assistive technology for reading  Check out these links to websites offering free books-on-line, graphics for use on websites or in presentations, downloadable music and videos, and much more.  These are appropriate for students who use the Internet to explore art and entertainment due to limitations on mobility or reliance on computer-based access. Visitors will find free downloads of the BuildAbility Player and accompanying Stories for literacy levels from emergent to intermediate.  They will also find downloads of CoWriter, a word-prediction program, and DraftBuilder, a writing template program plus lots of other good product information.  This site offers a free demo CD of programs that train students with mental impairments on cause and effect, turn-taking, early vocabulary, syntax, cognitive concepts, auditory processing, and reading.  The Laureate Learning product catalog is also available for download.  Teachers will find tips on integrating technology and the Internet into elementary and middle schools. Special attention is given to making adaptations for children with disabilities.

The Switch in Time Website  Scan and Read a program and create your own e-books on a Macintosh

 The Project Gutenburg Website  Digitally re-published literature organized into light and heavy literature and reference materials



We will be looking to add new free and low cost AT alternatives.  If you have a great idea you would like to share, please send it to the following:

AT Committee Site Manager

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