February 1, 2014
Whether you’re the parent of a child with a reading disability or an educator that works with learning disabled students on a daily basis, you’re undoubtedly always looking for new tools to help these bright young kids meet their potential and work through their disability. While there are numerous technologies out there that can help, perhaps one of the richest is the iPad, which offers dozens of applications designed to meet the needs of learning disabled kids and beginning readers alike. Here, we highlight just a few of the amazing apps out there that can help students with a reading disability improve their skills not only in reading, writing, and spelling, but also get a boost in confidence and learn to see school as a fun, engaging activity, not a struggle.
These tools are useful for both educators and students with reading disabilities alike, aiding in everything from looking up a correct spelling to reading text out loud.
Speak It!: Speak It! is a great text-to-speech solution that can allow students with reading disabilities to get a little help with reading when they need it.
Talk to Me: Talk to Me is another text to speech application. It can be used to read words out loud as they are typed, which can help students to better correlate the letters and words with how they’re pronounced.
Dragon Dictation: Dragon Dictation works in reverse of the two apps we just listed. Instead of reading text out loud, the application writes down spoken text. For students who struggle with writing, it can be a great way for them to jot down ideas or get help learning.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: If spelling is a problem, it’s always a good idea to have a really great dictionary on hand. This app from Merriam-Webster can provide that.
Ditionary.com: If Dictionary.com is your go-to place for definitions and spelling help, this app can be a great way to bring that functionality to your iPad or iPhone.
Prizmo: With Prizmo, users can scan in any kind of text document and have the program read it out loud, which can be a big help to those who struggle with reading.
Flashcards for iPad: This app makes it easy to study words, spelling, and other things that young and LD readers might need help with.
Soundnote: Using Soundnote, you can record drawings, notes, and audio all at once, balancing reading-based skills with those that are auditory and visual.
These apps help teach the fundamentals of reading, writing, and spelling to any young learner, but can be especially helpful for those who are struggling.
Alphabet Zoo: Alphabet Zoo is a great tool for helping young readers to recognize letter sounds. Using text and pictures of animals, kids can build their reading skills while having fun.
First Words Sampler: Preschoolers with a reading disability can get a head start on improving their skills with this app that teaches them about letters and words using fun graphics and sounds.
Montessori Crosswords: Embrace the Montessori method by using this app to help youngsters improve their spelling and reading skills through engaging phonics-based exercises.
Read & Write :Students can practice reading and writing letters using this application. Users can trace letters, learn letter sounds, and get illustrations to go along with each part of the alphabet.
Sound Literacy: With a portion of the proceeds from this app going to the Dyslexia Association, there’s no reason not to sign on. Even better, the app is incredibly useful, employing the Orton-Gillingham method to help students recognize the spellings of English phonemes.
weesay ABC: Using pictures, words, and sounds, this application makes it easy for young students to practice and learn their ABCs.
abc PocketPhonics: This app is a great tool for teaching reading disabled students the fundamentals of letter sounds and shapes.
The Writing Machine: By correlating pictures and words, reading text, sounding out letters, this tool helps students develop early literacy abilities with greater ease.
WordSort: One of the top educational apps out there, this game helps kids to learn how to identify parts of speech, like nouns, adverbs, and verbs, as well as emphasizing grammar skills.
ABC Phonics Word Families: Using analogy phonics (or word families) this application teaches young learners to see and hear the patterns of commonality in a set of words. With flashcards, spelling words, scrambled words, and games, this app is a must-have for helping students.
These excellent iPad apps can be a big help to reading disabled students who need a little extra support when trying to read.
Blio: Blio offers all the same features of any basic e-reader, and also a few things that make it unique. Through synchronized highlighting and a serial presentation view, the app helps those with reading disabilities make sense of the text, something many other similar apps don’t offer.
Read 2 Me: For those who have difficulty reading, apps like Read 2 Me can be a godsend. The app comes complete with an entire library of texts, all of which can be read out loud.
Read2Go: If you use DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) books in your classroom, Read2Go is one of the best and most accessible ways to read those books on iOS.
AppWriter: Designed with reading and writing disabilities in mind, this text editor for iPad integrates numerous accessibility features into standard text editing functionality.
Audiobooks: Sometimes students with reading disabilities might just want a break from reading books the old fashioned way. That’s why this amazing collection of free audiobooks can come in handy, offering access to classics like Romeo and Juliet and Treasure Island.
Bob’s Books: Bob’s Books uses phonics-based interactive games to help kids learn how to read. Activities will help young learners to sound out words, spell, and make connections between letters and sounds.
iStoryTime: There are numerous titles to choose from in the iStoryTime series, all of which allow kids to have the book read to them or to get help reading it themselves.
MeeGenius! Kids’ Books: MeeGenius is another series that’s perfect for practicing reading skills. Those with trouble reading can use illustrations and helpful word highlighting to get help, or just have the book read to them until they’re confident enough to do it on their own.
Reading Trainer: While this app is designed to help average readers boost their reading speed and ability, it can be useful to those who struggle as well, as many of the skills taught can help just about anyone become a more confident reader.
See Read Say: This application will help to ensure that young learners are familiar with all of the Dolch sight words (the most common words), using games, activities, and tons of practice.
Stories2Learn: Why use existing stories to help troubled readers when you can build your own? This application lets you develop your own text and audio stories, including messages, topics, and other things that can help keep kids interested.
eReading series: The eReading series from Brain Integration LLC, helps young readers at all levels of proficiency learn about topics like Greek Mythology andGulliver’s Travels. Users can have the book read to them, or practice reading without the help, too.
For those with reading disabilities, sometimes writing can also be a trying task. Here are some apps that can help teach, assist, and make writing more fun.
iWrite Words: Named by The Washington Post as one of the best apps for special needs kids, this game-based program helps youngsters learn to write their letters through a fun and engaging setup that uses illustrations and animations to keep things interesting.
AlphaWriter: Using Montessori-based learning methods, this application helps kids to learn how to read, write, and spell phonetically. It also teaches lessons on consonants and vowels, letter sounds, writing stories, and much more.
Sentence Builder: Through this application, elementary school children will learn how to build grammatically correct sentences, with a special focus on using connector words.
Story Builder: After kids are done learning how to build sentences, they can move onto this app which combines those sentences into one coherent story, complete with illustrations.
Writing Prompts: Having trouble thinking of things for students to write about? This app removes that roadblock and offers up numerous ideas for short writing assignments.
Idea Sketch: This mind-mapping app can help learning disabled students make sense of their ideas and organize them in ways that they can easily translate into written work.
Storyrobe: Teachers and students can build and share their own unique stories through this application. Integration with YouTube and email makes it easy to share and revise, too.
These applications can be excellent tools for improving spelling skills.
American Wordspeller: Looking up a word in a dictionary isn’t that simple if you have no idea how to spell it. This app removes that problem and employs a method that lets you much more easily pinpoint how to spell just about any word.
Word Magic: Created by the parents of a five-year-old, this app for young learners help kids learn words and how to spell them correctly. It uses lots of positive reinforcement, rewards, and fun pictures to keep things interesting to learners.
Typ-O: Poor spellers can rejoice over this great application that help you spell words correctly in any typing-related program on your iPhone or iPad.
A1 Spelling App: This application is a great way to help poor spellers begin to learn the correct spelling of common words, increasing difficulty as kids master words.
iSpell Word: iSpell Word is designed to help kids learn the spellings of simple English words. It uses games to teach, with each level of the game employing more difficult words so kids are always challenged.
Jumbline: If you’re looking to make reading, writing, and spelling into a game, this app can help. It’s full of word games that ask players to use speed, smarts, pattern recognition, and spelling skills to win.
Spelling Bee Challenge: Kids can have fun taking part in a mock spelling bee using this application that boosts both spelling and vocab skills.
Word Fall: In this educational game, words fall from the sky and players must collect letters to form basic words.
WordLadder: This highly challenging word game will get older readers thinking about how words are spelled and how they can be connected and changed to form new words.
ACT Spell: Developed especially for learners with disabilities and special needs, this tool helps develop motor control, word recognition, spelling, and reading skills.
Word Wizard: Lauded by The New York Times, this word-focused app lets kids hear the sounds of letters and words through a movable alphabet while also engaging them in spelling practice and games.