It is a little-known fact that UK law requires the publishers of school text books to provide the electronic version of their text books for those who have a print disability.
It makes sense that when schools purchase text books they will have students who struggle to read them. Often publishers of textbooks do not consider how to make their books ‘dyslexia friendly’ even though at least 10 % of the school population will be likely to experience challenges with reading printed materials due to dyslexia.
When I look through a modern-day text book, in a bid to be more engaging, the print will be in differing sizes and colours, often some of the text will be orientated in ways that are difficult for a dyslexic reader and the overall format can be distracting or uncomfortable to read.
The benefit of being able to have a text book in a PDF, or electronic format, is that this means that a range of technological approaches to reading the text book can be employed.
For example, on an iPad, the pinch to zoom can be used to enlarge the text. On a laptop, the ability to utilise text-to-speech (software that reads out text) can be used so that the student can listen to the text.
Obviously, navigating these electronic text books can mean that the approach is very different to that of simply thumbing through a text book but many assistive technology products that work with text make this easy.
Below is a video of how TextAid is used to navigate electronic text books.
How can text books be read using text-to-speech technology?
In the video below, Mary Wilcox from our team at Aventido demonstrates how TextAid reads out text with electronic textbooks.
Where can I get electronic copies of my child’s text books for school?
Here in the UK, approximately 15% of our schools are aware of a service that provides electronic versions of text books for use in schools for children with a print disability such as dyslexia. It is amazing that there are not more schools aware of the RNIB Bookshare Service.
Whilst the RNIB has its roots within the Visual Impairment space, it has developed a service that makes available some 790 thousand electronic format books for educational purposes.
For pupils to use this service and to download all their textbooks in electronic format, they will need to have some kind of ‘print disability' such as dyslexia and be known to their SENCO within their school. The SENCO will then set up a membership of the RNIB Bookshare Service for the student and then download all the text books that they are likely to use. Once downloaded the student can then use whatever software works for them that provides access to the text.
Want to know more about how to utilise electronic text books using text to speech? Contact our specialist Mary Wilcox by clicking the banner below.