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Assistive Reading Tools


By: Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Assistive Reading Tools

Reading is perhaps one of the most important learned skills we teach our children…

Every single aspect of life involves reading!

However, it is NOT an easy skill to learn. In fact, for some… it can be VERY difficult!

I’d like to discuss some expert tips to help parents more effectively teach their children how to read.

After all, as a parent, you spend WAY more time with your child than any teacher does…

Frequency and repetition are vital to helping children master this skill…

Reading is a multifaceted academic undertaking that entails a multitude of skills.

Try saying that ten times fast…

Simply put, reading involves a lot of different skills which need to be brought together.

It’s sort of like a full orchestra with each participant playing their own instrument…

Individually they sound good, but not complete… together the music turns to magic!

A few of the skills a child needs to learn to complete their orchestra are the capabilities to;

  • Decode
  • Maintain A Sizeable Vocabulary
  • Excellent Reading Comprehension Skills

Not grasping or altogether missing one or more of these areas can affect a child’s ability to read proficiently.

However, each of these areas can be assisted by the use of assistive technology tools.

Assistive Technology Tools For Reading 

Let’s start by understanding a little bit about Decoding…


Decoding is the capability to use phonetic awareness to sound out and identify words and read words at a sufficient pace and correctly.

Decoding is really the first step a child needs to accomplish when attempting to read a;

  • Word
  • Paragraph or
  • Sentence

Assistive technologies can help children translate written words that may be unfamiliar to them into more easily understood words.

Maintain A Sizeable Vocabulary

Another essential step in becoming a capable reader is one’s own vocabulary or how efficiently they can define the meaning of words.

After decoding a word, the word won’t make much sense without knowing the word’s meaning.

A small vocabulary bank can restrict how well a child will comprehend the material they are reading.

There are a ton of technologies available to help kids with a small vocabulary bank, including:

  • Electronic Dictionaries
  • Scalable Vocabulary Tools
  • Visual Dictionaries

Excellent Reading Comprehension Skills

To become a great reader, a child should have excellent Reading Comprehension skills.

Comprehension skills relate to a child’s ability to understand an author’s message entirely. To help with weak comprehension abilities, you could try using either;

  • Auto-Summary Technology (this tool helps to recognize the themes or central ideas included in a passage),
  • Study Tools (tools that help students to become ‘active readers’).

Children need a proper skill level in all three of the areas mentioned to be competent readers.

Weakness in one or more of these areas will weaken their ability to read and comprehend texts effectively.

While the technology mentioned above may not enhance a child’s ability to read independently, they will help struggling readers to gain the meaning of text among other classroom materials.

Online Highlighting

Another assistive technology is online highlighting. One online highlighter is Diigo.

This tool highlights text from web pages and then gathers these highlights from several pages and arranges it in one place to make it easier to read.

A second online highlighter is Snap and Read Universal. This tool allows children to copy any highlighted text from a website such as a Google Doc, or PDF and receive an outline that accurately references its original source.

Text To Speech (TTS)

Lastly, another assistive technology that helps struggling readers is Text To Speech (TTS).

TTS reads text digital text aloud.

Digital text are words presented on;

  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Almost all digital devices

With just a click of a button, TTS can read words from a computer, tablet, or smartphone and transform these words into audio.

TTS is excellent for anyone who has difficulty with reading. However, it can also be helpful for folks in areas of;

  • Editing
  • Writing
  • Even Maintaining Focus

The bottom line is NOT to be afraid of technology when it comes to helping children read!

Embrace it, use it, and learn it yourself…

The technology exists to help children AND adults reach their excellence…

What type of technology have you successfully used for reading? Please let me know in the comments below!

Thank you,


This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019 at 5:51 pm and is filed under Special Education Tips and tagged as , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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