Tarheelreader.org is a website full of free, easy to read books that are accessible via computer, tablets, touch screens, IntelliKeys and switches.
The awesome thing about this site is that you can write your very own short stories. You may upload your own images or use the large collection from flickr.
Another great thing about tarheelreader.org is the fact that you can save the books to your computer as well as print out books as a powerpoint. This way it can be treated like a real book.
The benefit of having the stories online makes reading a bit easier for those that cannot read. You can pick from different types of voices, though all sound a bit robotic. Most of the time I chose the male voice because my students with Autism respond better to a lower tone voice.
I have used this site multiple times. From the example video below (going to the library) to preparing my kids for the dentist. It’s a great way to help with transition as well as learning new tasks (riding a bike, using the vacuum, etc). It can also be about topics of interest, like the image below.
The biggest thing I love about this site, is the fact that you can create age appropriate books. Meaning, books can be created for an adult with special needs that may be on a 1st grade reading level. If you think about it, there aren’t many books available that discuss high school or adult related topics at lower reading levels.
Back when I taught adults with special needs at the high school level, an english teacher had her regular education students create books for my students. She also had her students read/present the books to my students. There were topics about dating, going to the movies, prom, etc. It was one of the best service learning projects I have ever done with another teacher. Now she had students type the words/sentences and used pictures from magazines glued to paper and laminated them. How much better it would have been if we had know about this program back then. I think it would have been more interactive and professional for both groups of students.
If this gets you interested you’ll need to follow the steps below:
I hope you’ll take the time to try it out. Check out my example video to help prepare and guide you for your future book making. I apologize in advance for the blurry video taping. I’m not as tech savvy as I’d like to be.
Thanks for taking the time to watch my how-to video. I’ll be sharing more programs and apps like this one in the coming months.