For many students, listening to audiobooks can help bridge the gap between decoding words and assigning meaning. Receiving information both visually and audibly reinforces word recognition, improves fluency, builds vocabulary and supports the development of comprehension skills. Audiobooks help students by allowing them to focus on the meaning of what they’re reading rather than decoding words on a page. A student’s listening comprehension may be stronger than his/her reading comprehension. By listening to text, students access content that’s above their current reading levels making learning more efficient. Audiobooks ease frustration, boost confidence and make reading much more enjoyable by allowing students to independently access text and keep up with peers on both content area reading and pleasure reading. Audiobooks help students learn to enjoy literature and build a diverse knowledge base.
There are many sources of audiobook reviews readily available online, such as KidsReads.com. Also available online are free audiobooks of older children’s titles such as the Beatrix Potter books at Wired for Books and the Wizard of Oz stories at Audiobooks for Free.
What Is It?
Bookshare is a federally-funded program that provides free downloadable audiobooks for students who meet certain criteria. They offer a library of over 300,000 titles, including popular fiction books, textbook selections, newspapers, and magazines. Books can be downloaded and digitally read on:
- Personal computers or laptops (using Windows or Mac platforms)
Bookshare is available free-of-charge to US residents who cannot read traditional print books because of a visual impairment, physical disability, or severe learning disability.
How Do I Access Bookshare?
Ask an Academic Skills teacher if your child qualifies to use Bookshare. If he/she does, simply complete the online registration form at www.bookshare.org to sign up. Indicate the Skills teacher as the competent authority to confirm that the child’s learning disability significantly interferes with reading. Bookshare will send an email to the teacher, and she will complete the registration. You will then receive an email from Bookshare saying you are authorized to use the program. It’s that easy!
For more information, contact www.bookshare.org.
What Is It?
Learning Ally is the world’s largest producer of audio textbooks. Membership includes access to bestseller audiobooks too. Approximately 80,000 audiobooks are enhanced with VOICEtext, which allows highlighted synchronized text to accompany the human narration. Through a Learning Ally membership, simply select the book you need, and listen to it on:
- Smartphones (iPhone or Android device)
- Personal computers or laptops (PC or Mac)
- iPod Touch devices
Learning Ally services are limited to individuals with documented learning disabilities, vision impairment, or physical disabilities that impede the ability to process standard print.
How Do I Access Learning Ally?
Your child’s Academic Skills teacher can confirm that a learning disability interferes with reading. If interested, contact your child’s Skills teacher.
Is There a Cost?
Yes, Learning Ally charges an annual fee of $119 with a 14-day risk-free money back guarantee.
What Is Included in a Learning Ally Membership?
- Up to four phone consultations with a highly-trained parent support team
- Unlimited use of audiobooks and textbooks
- Access to virtual conferences
- Hosted and impromptu online conversations with like-minded parents who can help you connect to local resources and provide a community of support
- Eligibility for Learning Ally Scholarships are awarded to outstanding student members and can help defray costs of college or graduate school
- Exclusive ‘member only’ webinars led by industry leaders
- Both basic and advanced level online seminars with experts across a wide range of disciplines in the learning disabilities field. You get priority seating and the opportunity to interact and ask questions with some of the industry’s leaders
- Discounted rates for other special events and courses
- Virtual training and community events throughout the year with special rates for members
For more information check out: www.learningally.org.
How Do Audiobook Providers Compare?
|| dyslexic, LD, blind/visually impaired, physically disabled
||dyslexic, LD, blind/visually impaired, physically disabled
| Title Collection
|| 65% textbooks, 35% popular
||0% textbooks, 100% popular
|| 5% textbooks, 95% popular/magazines
|| human-read by subject matter experts
||read by authors and celebrities
||read by machine
|| yes (direct page access)
||yes (shared bookmarking across multiple devices)
||yes (direct page access)
|Highlighted Text with Audio
|| yes, on 2000+ titles (at paragraph and sentence level)
||yes, on Kindle only
|| yes (requires app purchase, but basic navigation app at no cost)
||$19.99 (free “lite” app also available)
|Live Customer Service
|| annual fee of $119
||varies per book
||free (exception: purchase of app for certain devices)
Image taken from http://techpp.com/2013/07/18/free-audiobooks/