Aug 242014

An E Reader is a GREAT Assitive Tool with Text-to-Speech Capabilities

E ReadersIf your child is not yet able to read, having an E Reader can give your child access to hundreds of books.

Kids with reading disabilities like to read the same books their friends are reading, but they can’t. Your child can enjoy all of the popular books if he can have the books read to him by his eBook tablet.

Today’s E Reader tablets have text to speech capabilities. Some of them have built-in read aloud software, but others have an app you can install for the read aloud capability. Either way, if your child has an E Reader equipped with the text to speech function, he can have access to all of the books he wants or needs to read.

E Readers can give kids with reading disabilities of all ages access to books. Providing your child with an E Reader that has text to speech capabilities will open the door to reading that is typically closed for kids with dyslexia or a reading disability.

The Benefits of E Readers for Kids with Reading Disabilities

As mentioned, having equal access can help your child read the same books his friends are reading.  That may not seem like a big benefit, but reading the books will allow your child to talk to friends about popular books.  It will let your child be included socially and be like everyone else. The value of being able to read the same books as everyone else can’t be underestimated.

Having an E Reader let’s your child access educational books and content too. Your child can access the same books other kids access when he’s studying for school. Additionally, textbook publishers are increasingly offering versions of their books for E Reader tablets, especially at the college level.

As a matter of fact, my son’s college INSISTED he have audio textbooks to help him with the quantity of reading, even though my son could read well. Why is that? Because, even after your child CAN read, reading speed is likely to remain slower than for typical readers.

When your child takes literature classes in high school or college, all of the reading can really bog your child down UNLESS he has an E Reader. For higher level science and social studies classes, your child will run into words he can’t pronounce. Having the text to speech ability will let him hear the word.  Then he’ll know the word when his teacher is talking in class, and he may recognize the word when he sees it in print.

How E Readers Work

The read aloud option is usually setting on the E Reader which your child can turn on or off.

In the case where the tablet uses an app, you just start the app to read the book.

There is often a “play” button to start or pause reading.  We use headphones with our text to speech function.  Using noise cancelling headphones help with focus, especially when a child has ADHD.

E Reader Ease of Use

Generally speaking, the text to speech option is quite easy to use.

A middle school or high school child who is adept with technology will have no difficulty turning the text to speech reader on or off.

For an elementary-aged child, you may have to turn the text to speech option on for your child.  Once the reader is turned on, you child should be able to start and stop play without any problem.

E Reader Options:

Kindle Fire is my TOP choice! It’s what I own. There are two options for read aloud books on Kindle. You can use either the text to speech option with the electronic voice or their Whispersync books with simultaneous reading highlighting. The Whispersync titles are more limited, but they are an awesome tool for your child to use whenever the books are available. You can read more about the Kindle Fire as an assistive technology option in our Using the Kindle Tablet for Reading Disabilities or Dyslexia Article.

Nook – The older NOOKs do not have a text-to-speech function. The HD versions of the NOOK have a text-to-speech option, but several user forum questions indicate that the text-to-speech function is not always easy to use. Users like listening to audiobooks on their Nooks, so your child would still have the ability to listen to recorded audiobooks. I imagine the text to speech functionality on the Nook will be improved if Barnes and Noble continues upgrading the Nook.

BOOX – You may find the new Onyx Boox has the most natural text to speech functionality. The Boox uses IVONA Text-To-Speech functionality for smooth reading. As a new advice, the Amazon reviews are mixed. Please read the latest reviews on the model you’re considering. I think the Boox has the potential to become a great, natural E Reader if the glitches are worked out.

iPad – Although the iPad isn’t actually an E Reader, it has the ability to function as a ebook reader via apps. There are a lot of books available in the iTunes store, and iPads are known for their high quality. Using either a full-sized iPad can make visual reading of books easier. However, an iPad mini is often easier for younger kids to handle.
Compare eBook Readers and Prices Available on Amazone reader

Help Your Non-Reader Read Independently With an E Reader

Giving your child a reading tablet with text-to-speech capability could be one of the best assistive technologies you can make on behalf of your child. Most kids want to be able to read independently. Kids develop a love for books when they aren’t frustrated by an inability to read.

You can open up the world of books for your child and help him be more successful in school with a great E Reader.

Check out other Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities

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