Last August, I was excited to become the Program Coordinator for BridgingApps, one of the many programs of Easter Seals Greater Houston. Before joining the BridgingApps team, I worked as a special education teacher in a variety of classrooms including resource, co-teach, inclusion, and adaptive behavior settings. As a former special education teacher, helping students with disabilities and their families remains close to my heart. Being a part of the BridgingApps team has allowed me to find and share creative ways of using technology to improve all students’ learning opportunities with my fellow educators.
As school starts up again, I wanted to share a bit about a term you may have heard lately- “Ear Reading”.
What in the world is “ear reading”? You have probably done it, but did not realize or know how helpful it can be for people of all abilities. Remember reading aloud as a child? Ever listen to an audiobook? Educators used to be taught that all children have to learn to “eye read” and maybe even inadvertently given the impression that students who were unable to do so weren’t as smart as their peers.
Dyslexia specialists and interventionists, however, have known otherwise for years!
According to their website, the International Dyslexia Association defines ear reading as a process where “rather than the written words being taken in through the eyes and processed in the brain, the verbal words are heard through the ears and then processed in the brain.”
So, how can this help in the classroom and what does it have to do with technology? I have seen first-hand the positive effects that read-alouds have on comprehension, predicting, and many other necessary reading skills. Technology has allowed us to have the power to essentially provide an appropriate level read-aloud for every child in the class (or at least for the number of electronic devices- tablets, laptops, etc. available in the classroom). It also allows those students who may not have been able to fully participate in a group discussion of a book due to their lower reading level to listen to that book and have meaningful discussions about it.
Listen to the Podcast here!
Hoopla Podcast Feature
Below are a few of the apps for ear reading that you can find in our app search tool at https://search.bridgingapps.org/dashboard:
Audiobooks.com (free app for iOs and Android, free trial period and then $14.95 per month- 1 book per month)
Kids A to Z – free to download, but requires a subscription to use
Audible – free to download, but requires a subscription to listen to books
Sign in using library card:
Libby, by Overdrive
Services that your students might be eligible dependent on their diagnosis:
BARD Mobile (eligible patrons of the NLS- National Library Service, can borrow audio and braille books to use along with a braille reader on an iPad)
Bookshare: Web-based service that is free for US students with qualifying diagnoses and offered as a subscription for others.
Voice Dream Reader app can be used to access Bookshare service
The apps below allow users to take pictures of books, documents, etc. using their device and then have it read to them:
Avaz Reader – currently $29.99 to download the app
Speechify – free
Amy Fuchs, Easter Seals Greater Houston, BridgingApps Program Coordinator