For millions of students with learning disabilities like dyslexia, reading is often greatly improved when they can hear and see the printed word at the same time.
Specialists report that listening to Audiobooks while following the printed text allows many of these readers to take in information and enjoy learning without struggling over each word.
Paul B. Yellin, M.D., founder of The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education, describes the process: “Many children understand language that they hear at a higher level than language they read on their own. Audiobooks allow children to access information at this higher level. And very often, reading skills are best improved if the listener follows along with the written text.”
Dr. Yellin points to new formats like VOICEtext from Learning Ally, which highlights each sentence on-screen as a human narrator reads it, making it easier for readers to follow along.
“Having the ability to actually see a word highlighted while hearing it read allows a child to access content by reinforcing the linkage between ‘how a word looks’ with ‘how a word sounds’ and supports the development of independent reading skills,” he says.
Whitney D. Hall, Ph.D., a psychologist specializing in cognitive assessment, agrees, saying, “The benefit of adding on-screen text that is highlighted in synch with the narration is that this more closely simulates the act of reading. Following along while hearing the material narrated allows a child to practice using their reading skills.”
How text synched with audio improves reading
• Improves skills for decoding each sound in a word
• Enforces letter-sound associations
• Improves sight word recognition
• Enhances vocabulary
• Increases comprehension
Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, maintains the world’s largest library of human-narrated audio textbooks for students with disabilities. More than 80,000 titles (including almost 2,000 of its most popular selections in the new VOICEtext format) are downloadable to smartphones, tablets and computers that students use every day.
“Combining human speech with synchronized text in an audiobook is ideal for many students’ particular learning profile,” says Dr. Yellin. “And by using narrators who provide accurate tone and inflection throughout the book, Learning Ally audiobooks can improve understanding for the reader.”
For information on Learning Ally’s affordable memberships for families and schools, visit www.LearningAlly.org/Join. North American Precis Syndicate