Reading

Voice Dream App

This app is ideal for students with language based learning disabilities.  It provides access to books with visual and auditory supports, while provided tools to annotate, take notes, and customize the reading experience.  It integrates seamlessly with Bookshare, a service that provides free books to those identified with learning disabilities.

“Voice Dream Reader is by far the most feature rich mobile TTS reader. Best of all, the features are organized in an uncluttered, intuitive, highly usable way, so that what you need is always at your finger tips. All features are fully accessible with VoiceOver.” 

Claro Scan Pen

Every time I demo this app to students (and parents) it’s the “ah ha!” moment of why this app is worth its cost.  Claro has been known for their assistive technology for some time, and this app is simple and wonderful in meeting the needs of LD learners.  The app utilizes the iPad camera to take a screen shot of printed text and the text appears on the screen all ready to be read to the user.  This is a home run for providing students with independence in accessing printed text all with the touch of one button.

Newsela

Newsela is a site to access non-fiction stories and current events for a range of student ages, while being able to easily have the same content differentiated for reading level by teacher and student.  Newsela is free and articles can be printed, while there is a premium paid subscription to access more features.  Most articles also have common-core aligned quiz questions and writing prompts.  On an iPad, Newsela can be accessed through Safari, or by using their app.

Front Row

Front Row has free and premium levels of adaptive practice in reading and math.  For reading, each student initially completes a diagnostic that provides an informal level at which the student is comprehending independently.  Then, as the student selects articles, the content is automatically leveled for them.  If a teacher assigns content, the teacher can select the reading level.  There are quiz questions and writing assignments to correspond with the articles.  Articles can be selected by interest, anchor skills, and genres. With paid features, teachers can get more information within the reporting.  Additionally, there is a Word Study feature that begins with a diagnostic to place the student as they then work through skills.  This is a newer area and does not provide the teacher with information about strengths and weaknesses. On an iPad, Front Row can be accessed through Safari, or by using their app.  What I love about this is the enticement to earn the coins, it takes a significant amount of work to get the “Piggy Store” to open, and there is a time limit for how long the student has access to the store with each visit.