Assistive technology for reading

By Andrew M.I. Lee, JD

Expert reviewed by Jamie Martin

A teacher assists a student in a classroom. The student is using a tablet.

At a glance

  • Technology can help people of all ages work around their reading challenges.

  • Text-to-speech and audiobooks are two examples of assistive technology for reading.

  • Many assistive technology tools work on digital devices, but some of the most useful tools are not digital.

For people who struggle to read text, technology can be a lifeline. An audiobook, for example, allows them to read a story they might not be able to read with a traditional book.

 (AT) tools for reading are inexpensive and easy to find. These tools exist on computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. But there are also low-tech options. Some of the most useful AT tools for reading are not digital.

Keep in mind that using AT doesn’t keep people from learning to read. Experts say audiobooks can actually help kids become better readers. Plus, using AT can help people become more confident and independent.

At the same time, if someone struggles to read, it’s important to get the right teaching to improve. AT tools alone will probably not improve reading skills.

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