Technology for Dyslexic Students

Post written by Lexi Sycamore, USU Student

There currently isn’t any state funding for dyslexia programs but that isn’t stopping a teacher in Caddo Mills, Texas from helping her students to love reading. When Leslie Patterson first became a teacher, she didn’t know anything about dyslexia. Now she’s the certified academic language therapist and licensed dyslexia teacher at Griffis Elementary School.

With the help of Bookshare, the world’s largest digital library, Patterson’s students are accessing books they can read, listen to, and see highlighted text. Bookshare is an online library for people with print disabilities, with more than 820 US and international publishers donating their digital files. A membership is free to US students of any age and school with proof of disability. Non-students and other organizations pay a low fee for access to the digital library.  

“With the practice of reading with eyes and ears, you are learning words because you are seeing the words spelled correctly, you are hearing the word, as your eye is touching it, pronounced correctly, and over time, you are learning words because you are getting practice hearing and seeing them correctly,” Patterson said.

Since Bookshare is online, it’s available almost everywhere, especially with mobile devices. These kids have access to several different reading books and are able to understand them because they’re reading with their eyes and their ears. Patterson hopes that other districts and teachers will start using the program with younger kids so they can utilize the technology. 

“It’s a really important tool to use,” she said. “It’s like glasses. I can’t read without my glasses. It doesn’t make me not smart, it doesn’t mean I’m not trying, but I can’t read without my glasses. And for some individuals, they can’t read without an audiobook.”

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is Director of Technology for the College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. In that role, he also directs The Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center (The YETC) located in room 170 of the Education Building on Utah State University's Logan campus. The YETC is a combination student open­access computer facility, a K­12 curriculum materials library, a NASA Educator Resource Center for Utah, and a technology training center. Nathan served eight years (2004­2012) on the Board of Directors for the Utah Coalition for Education Technology (UCET) He was re­elected in 2014 to serve another two year term on the board. A former elementary school teacher, Nathan has taught students every age from young children to senior citizens. He has had the opportunity beginning in 2011 to train international high school teachers from all over the world about technology in education, through the U.S. State

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