Saturday, February 23, 2013

Read OutLoud – Support for Struggling Readers and Writers

Our blogger today is Karen Osborne, Assistive Technology Consultant for the West lake Special Education Cooperative.

How fortunate we are in this great state of Indiana!!! Read:OutLoud was chosen as the text reader for every school in Indiana!

Don Johnston and his company has made this all possible!

We have access to this great resource that can assist all students who struggle with reading, writing, and comprehension. This great software tool can help teachers to differentiate their instruction as well. It is truly the complete package! Where do we start? Read further to see our adventure in getting this up and running in our districts!

Your technology department is key!
As the Assistive Technology coordinator for our cooperative, I was met with the challenge of getting this resource into the hands of staff and students in two school districts. With one district on a 1:1 initiative with laptop computers and the other on a more traditional model with computer labs and staff and student classroom computers, the respective technology departments did a tremendous job of getting us set-up.

Your administration is key!
Release time was provided for 1 and ½ hour in-service training to our staff working with those students identified as struggling readers. In some cases, general education teachers attended as well. This was set-up in computer labs. We invited our Northwest Indiana PATINS Promoting coordinator to do this training. It was great to have the software readily available as those trained were able to go back to their buildings and have access to the software immediately.

Your students are key!
As the staff began to show students a particular feature of this software (Note-taking), they began to be curious about how it works and incorporate it into their writing assignments. They asked to use this tool and wanted to know about other features:
  • It offers highlighted text as it reads at adjustable paces.
  • It offers outlining in various formats.
  • It offers a bibliographer. (Known to be used by staff working on Master’s degrees!)
  • It easily saves to the desktop for easy accessibility the next time it is needed.
Of course, there was the opportunity to go to the website and view 5 min. video demonstrations on How-to use the features and you can print step-by-step guides to help with your personal learning curve and to share with students.

Your technology mentors/trainers are key!
This is our second year with district wide use of this technology. We continue to look at how we can provide access to the students at home as there are take home rights! We are doing more student training in sub-groups in classrooms to continue to train them on this type of technology. We encourage them to use the features that can best meet the needs of their learning style.

The Challenge:
Click here to learn more about Read:Outloud. Get on-board with this great software program and see the difference in your student’s learning!

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