In essence, dyslexia is a learning difficulty. It’s behind problems such as having a hard time reading, writing, and spelling. Due to its nature, it can prevent people from studying like all others, as reading and writing is essential for that process. Nevertheless, dyslexic children don’t have lower intelligence, unlike those with learning disabilities.
To overcome this difficulty, many struggling readers use audiobooks. These are audio interpretations of certain written material, and they can be anything. From fiction bestsellers to children’s books to non-fiction study material. The latter is what we call audio textbooks, as they revolve around education.
You can find them on subscription-based platforms like Audible, Spotify, Bookshare, as well as many others. Then again, if you want free audiobooks, there are nonprofit online public libraries like LibriVox and Project Gutenberg.
In the following few paragraphs, we’ll introduce you to them, as well as to a way to make all your written material listenable.
Assistive technology for dyslexics
Assistive technology (AT) refers to programs and devices that make daily life for people with reading disabilities easier. As such, AT for dyslexics can be almost anything that improves reading level, spelling, and reading comprehension.
Most schools, colleges, and universities in the United States provide this technology to students who need it. This means that it’s free of charge. However, the results of school-provided tech aren’t always top-notch, so students have to manage themselves.
Choosing the right AT comes down to personal preference. If you’re having trouble reading, you’ll be better off with audiobooks. On the other hand, if you can’t quite put down the words you want, it’s best to use speech-to-text AT. It all comes down to you.
Helpful tools for dyslexics students
Nowadays, dyslexic students can benefit from using numerous hardware and software specially designed for their needs. These devices and programs all come under an umbrella term—assistive technology. The following three are the most popular.
- Speech recognition: This piece of software listens to you talk and transcribes it into text. People also refer to it as speech-to-text software. The main idea behind speech recognition is to make it easier for dyslexics to write emails, chat, or do any other type of writing on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet device.
- Spell checkers: Although everyone uses them, spell checkers are originally designed for dyslexics, as they automatically correct spelling errors when writing text, emails, and other documents on electronic devices.
- Text-to-speech: Opposite to speech recognition, text-to-speech (TTS) apps transcribe written words into audio. They can turn any e-book into a full-on audio one with additional options such as narration voice, speed, and tone controls.
What is a TTS reader?
Since we’ve mentioned TTS apps, it’s only fair to expand on what they actually are. At their core, these are assistive technology tools. The whole idea behind them is to help people with reading difficulties like dyslexia and vision impairment enjoy written content, just like all others do.
Most high-end text-to-speech readers use optical character recognition technology. This allows the tool letter, symbol, and word decoding, which the artificial voice reads. They also use artificial intelligence as well as machine learning for better efficiency.
Nevertheless, it’s not just people with learning difficulties that use this type of software. It’s popular with everyone as it allows for multitasking. Turning your Kindle title into an audiobook provides you with a chance to consume it while doing other activities too.
There are many TTS apps online. The most popular ones are definitely Amazon’s Polly app, Google Speech Services, and Speechify. TTS apps have their pros and cons, meaning they might not suit your needs. Well, that’s apart from Speechify.
Like all great text-to-speech apps, Speechify uses optical character recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to turn written words into audio. With these three components, it can quickly transcribe any digital title into an audiobook.
Speechify also allows you to snap photos of physical writing, which the OCR will turn into speech in a matter of moments. This is why it’s popular among students, as it can turn their notes into audio when it comes time to study for exams.
But that’s not all. Aside from creating personal audio textbooks, Speechify can transcribe emails and other types of documents. As such, it truly does make life easier for students and people who struggle with dyslexia and similar forms of reading difficulties.
It’s an easy-to-use piece of software that includes more than 30 reading voices and more than 15 different tongues that can benefit foreign language learners. Furthermore, you can fiddle with controls and adjust the reading speed of your narrator to your liking.
Another reason why it’s the number one rated app online is the fact that Speechify is available across all popular platforms. You can use it on your Windows-based PC or macOS laptop as a plug-in for Google Chrome and Safari browsers. Then again, if you want it on your mobile device, you just download it from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.
Are audiobooks good for dyslexics?
An average dyslexic student reads below grade level. Nevertheless, they have the aptitude to improve greatly. They can do so through audiobooks by simultaneously listening and reading the same material.
Does dyslexia go away?
Impacting more than just basic reading skills, dyslexia is a lifelong brain-based issue that doesn’t go away. People who have it need to find ways around it (e.g., using audiobooks), as there’s no way of permanently eliminating it.
Do digital books help with dyslexia?
The September 18 issue of PLOS One scientific journal suggests that e-readers can greatly benefit people with dyslexia. Namely, if we set them up to display only a few words per line, dyslexics will have an easier time reading it both quickly and with better comprehension.
Are there audio versions of textbooks?
Numerous platforms offer non-fiction books in audio format. You can listen to them using your computer, tablet, or smartphone device. They work similarly to podcasts, as they offer self-education as well as an additional option for all students and their teachers.