Audiobooks, Assistive Software, and Adaptations: Inclusive and Accessible Online Literacy Resources
BY ALEXANDRA LAMPP BERGLUND
Tales2Go is an online audiobook service for readers of all ages, which provides instant and unlimited access to over 10,000 book titles. These audiobooks can be accessed on a desktop computer, laptop, and mobile device. While facilitating online learning, educators can use these audiobooks to engage in lessons that work to build comprehension, fluency, and phonemic awareness, explore new vocabulary and more, depending on grade level. For instance, in an early childhood setting, after selecting a text, students can listen to the audiobook at their own pace. When finished, students can be asked to recount the story, in their own words, through whatever means of communication your digital classroom uses (Google Classroom, email, FlipGrid, Seesaw, etc.). After subsequent listens and additional prompts, students can also create story maps, complete graphic organizers, or devise their own version of the story that follows the same narrative structure.
While creating lessons like these using Tales2Go can be fun and impactful for your digital classroom, using only one app or service isn’t feasible. Print texts will need to be implemented in numerous and similarly beneficial ways. When doing so, it is crucial to use or share other modifications for this type of media. Text to speech software can convert many text files and webpages directly into audio and is readily available on different devices, under Settings or within the Control Panel. This includes Apple products (MacBooks, iPads, and iPhones), technology that uses Windows software, Android devices, and Chromebooks. Additionally, dictation or speech recognition software, found within word processing programs and on mobile devices, can assist students in expressing themselves through speech, without writing by hand or with a keyboard or worrying about spelling or grammar.
Providing audio material by using apps like Tales2Go and other resources such as text to speech software or sharing how to create audio materials with students are just a few small steps in making online literacy learning accessible to students with (dis)abilities, but they are important ones. Accessibility is essential, as we continue to navigate this digital landscape together, as educators, students, and family and community members. Together, we can all make small adaptations that make big differences in our online classrooms which we continually strive to make inclusive for all learners.
Alexandra Lampp Berglund is the Chair of the CLA student committee. She is a doctoral student in Language and Literacy Education at The University of Georgia.
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