Six apps to help with reading & comprehension

April 12, 2017 by JoLynne Lyon

Do you have resources for people with learning disabilities?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I hear at public events when I’m representing the  Utah Assistive Technology Program. We recently addressed the question in a webinar featuring Kent Remund of the Utah Center for Assistive Technology. Here are some resources and short videos on apps for reading and comprehension.

Prices vary and features change, so please, do your own research before you buy.

Read & Write for Google

Price varies. Free 30-day trial, after which a subscription is needed for premium features. At last check it was $129 per year for private use, less expensive in schools. More information at the texthelp web page.

This is a Chrome extension, available in the Chrome store; it works on a PC, Mac or Chromebook.

Features:

  • Reads what’s on the page out loud for visual and auditory feedback to improve comprehension
  • Integrates with Google Docs to play back documents
  • Predicts words as you type them in
  • “Understands” phonetic spelling
  • Built-in dictionary
  • Allows dictation of documents
  • Collects highlighted passages and assembles them into a separate document

LiveScribe Echo Smartpen

$130 on Amazon

  • Pen records audio, has a camera that detects where the pen is on its specialized paper
  • Plays back the audio when the pen touches the paper where the notes were taken
  • Must be used with specialized paper
  • Can attach a headset
  • Notes can be dropped into a free program that stores all audio and text
  • Can be used as a calculator
  • Best for motivated students in secondary ed and college

Notability

$9.99 in App Store

  • Can type or hand-write notes on an iPad
  • Touch on the screen and audio will play back
  • Features similar to smartpen, but it’s an iPad app

CoWriter

$34.99 in App Store

  • Predicts text
  • Reads back what the student has written
  • Predicts words that are spelled phonetically
  • Looks for information on educational websites to predict text that is relevant to the topic
  • Can be customized for students.

Claro ScanPen 

$6.99

  • Can take a picture of a document and read it back
  •  Can change speed rate

Prizmo

$9.99

Scans page, allows people to add notes, can translate and read back. 

Claro ScanPen and Prizmo are both featured in the short video below.

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