Reading Solutions for Dyslexia Using Audio WITH Text

May 21, 2024
Reading Solutions for Dyslexia Using Audio WITH Text

 Dyslexic kids often need different ways to read as they develop their reading skills.  Even teens and adults with dyslexia find that they need alternatives to eye reading to get through books more efficiently. Imagine trying to get through the textbooks required in high school or college if you are a slow text reader?  What if you’re reading challenging text like Mody Dick, where any level of reader would need to re-read the text many times to fully understand what Herman Melville is telling us. Having dyslexia and reading text like this might feel impossible if you have a looming deadline.. 

Audiobooks can be a great way for a dyslexic brain to read.  For children, it’s common for listening comprehension to be ahead of reading comprehension, therefore audiobooks can be a more effective way to learn as well as a more relaxing way to take in a story for pleasure.


Let’s get clear about something.  Listening to audiobooks = reading.  It’s not an alternative to reading, it IS reading. It’s simply reading with your ears instead of your eyes. 


That being said, when a young reader is working on decoding, building their vocabulary and learning to spell it can also be helpful if they can see the words while they listen. How can we make this happen? 

READING SOLUTIONS THAT ALLOW BOTH AUDIO AND TEXT:

  1. Text-to-speech technology. Unfortunately, many of text-to-speech (TTS) software options can have very robotic voices reading the text. In my personal experience, listening to these voices can lull you to sleep, and my daughter whole-heartedly agrees. Also, the TTS often mis-pronounces names of people or places. My daughter and I would laugh hysterically every time a TTS robot said “Sacagawea”. There is no doubt that we would all prefer to listen to a real human voice who reads the book with emotion and dramatic pauses in the right places. 

 

  1. Learning Ally is an excellent tool with human readers. Learning Ally is a non-profit company focused on providing literacy support. You can apply for a membership if you have proof of a reading disability. The membership costs $11.25/month.  Learning Ally also collaborates with schools, so it’s possible your school might cover the cost of the membership for your child. Click for more about Learning Ally and talk to your Special Education coordinator at school.

 

  1. Audible + Kindle by Amazon.  Depending on how often you buy a new book, this could get expensive because it requires two separate purchases.  If you think your child will want books often ,or you think other family members might use the apps as well, then subscriptions to Kindle and Audible might be the way to go.  I signed up for both subscriptions, and it came to $27.89 per month ($15.90/month for Audible and $11.99/month for Kindle Unlimited).  It’s important to note that not every book available on Kindle is available through the Kindle Unlimited subscription, and not every book is available on Audible. Sign Up for Kindle Unlimited   Sign Up for Audible



Above is a screenshot of the latest edition of the Dory Fantasmagory series, one of our favorites. You can see that although I have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, it’s not available there so I have to pay $9.99 to get a Kindle version of the book. Just below the “Buy now with 1-Click" button there is a small checkbox that says “Add an audiobook with Audible narration”.  Voila!  Now, as you listen to the audiobook, the Kindle version with highlight the words as they are being read.

 Learning how utilize one of these tools can make reading more efficient, allow kids to explore books that are above their "eye reading level" but still allows them to see the words to gain familiarity with them. It's a win-win-win!

Let me know if you have another solution that you've found helpful. 

IG: @parentingdyslexia360

Email: [email protected]

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