Research on the efficacy of digital books supporting literacy development for young children is overwhelmingly positive for children with and without disabilities. Electronic books can support literacy development in the areas of phonological awareness skills, alphabetic knowledge, and vocabulary development (Salmon, 2013).
Even with the knowledge of benefits children derive from electronic books, the absence of eBooks in classrooms is apparent. According to IDEA 2004, IEP teams must consider whether the child needs assistive technology (Mittler, 2007). Once AT is determined as a need for a student to access the English/Language Arts Curriculum or other content areas, educators implement assistive technology tools for children with disabilities in order to provide access to books. Unfortunately, survey numbers show that students usually receive tools depending on the educational environment where they are served and it is rarely in the general education classroom (Quinn, Behrmann, Mastropieri, and Chung, 2009). Technology enhanced learning should be prevalent. Providing technology for all students will make classrooms become inclusive and support positive academic outcomes.
Consider accessing the following free online children’s books to read:
- Tarheel Reader from UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies
- Children’s Storybooks Online
- Children’s Library
- Students who are bilingual can access books in different languages from Rosetta
- Books read by author Anna Dewdney (e.g. Llama, Llama) YouTube Playlist of Digital Books for Young Children
Mittler, J. (2007). Assistive technology and IDEA. In C. Warger (Ed.), Technology integration: Providing access to the curriculum for students with disabilities. Arlington, VA: Technology and Media Division (TAM).
Quinn, B. S., Behrmann, M., Mastropieri, M., & Chung, Y. (2009). Who is using assistive technology in schools? Journal of Special Education Technology, 24(1), 1-13.
Salmon, L. G. (2013). Factors that affect emergent literacy development when engaging with electronic books. EarlyChildhood Education Journal, 1-8.