Lauren Coen-Iltis

Age to introduce Bookshare

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At what age do teachers typically introduce audio supported reading and Bookshare tools to students? I am guessing it varies greatly on the student and their learning needs, but in general do teachers/reading specialists reccomend waiting until a student has phonemic awareness and has begun to decode? Or is ok to start prior to that? 

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Hello Lauren, I have found that it does really depend on not only the student and their learning needs but also the skills and dedication of the literacy specialist involved. Each specialist covers two schools at the same grade level and split their time between the two schools. A lot of these teachers are new to the position and this can greatly impact on their ability to deliver services. As a general rule I try to get my students exposed to Bookshare as soon as possible and I commonly have at least one Bookshare objective in every assistive tech goal I write. Every year I get involved in more 504 discussions and I try to recommend Bookshare to as many qualifying students as I can. The more kiddos I get involved the more teachers get involved and we are starting to grow a good knowledge base to help all those that qualify.

Mike 

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Lauren, I agree with Mike. It depends on the individual student. This is why it is so important to look at assessment data. Students with severe reading disabilities, such as Dyslexia, often respond very well to direct, systematic, intensive instruction. Many of these students experience phonological deficits, deficits in processing speed/orthographic processing, and deficits in language comprehension, or a combination of these. Double deficits are often more challenging to remediate. I believe that many students with reading disabilities who receive early direct intensive intervention on phoneme awareness, phonics, and decoding can make dramatic gains in word recognition and decoding. However, no two students with learning disabilities are exactly alike. Due to neurobiological causes, some students I’ve worked with had significant difficulties from the start with decoding, fluency, and spelling. Others lost their ability to decode after surgery to remove brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, or other conditions. Other students, especially those with autism, were hyperlexic; they decoded wonderfully, but didn’t comprehend what they decoded. In addition, the huge amounts of physical and mental energy that students with severe learning disabilities have to expend while reading can be exhausting. Many students will continue to struggle with literacy skills despite the provision of intensive high quality expert instruction. This is why comprehensive assessment is so critical. When teams have this information, they are in a much better position to make appropriate decisions about audio-supported reading for students with disabilities.

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Hi all,  I work with students who are visually impaired and sometimes have a learning disability as well.  I have started my students on Bookshare as young as 1st grade, primarily for leisure reading.  To me, it's like having mom or dad read a book to you.  You can hear mom/dad's voice and follow the print that they are pointing to with their finger.  In that way, using Bookshare seems the same.  And, with more books being produced with images, some of my students are now able to see the pictures in detail and enjoy the book more like their peers are.  If Bookshare had more preschool level/picture books, I would have my preschoolers and Kinders using Bookshare.  For right now, the selection seems a bit limited.

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Lauren- Everyone above me has excellent points. I agree that it totally depends on the student.  However, that being said, I have found teachers and parents more on board from 4th grade on for my students with reading disabiliteis.  I am not sure why.  It could be because of the jump in academic expectations for 4th graders.  Unfortunately,  if parents and teachers are not on board it is really hard to get a student to use Bookshare with any consistency.  

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