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 within education 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 and providing technology for all students will help classrooms become inclusive while supporting positive academic outcomes.
Consider accessing the following resources.
- If you live in Virginia, you can get TumbleBooks free. http://www.lva.virginia.gov/lib-edu/ldnd/tumblebooks.htm
- Tarheel Reader from UNC Center for Literacy and Disability Studies http://tarheelreader.org/
- Children’s Storybooks Online http://www.magickeys.com/books/
- Free Online Children’s Books to Read https://www.firstbook.org
- Students who are bilingual can access books in different languages http://en.childrenslibrary.org/
- My YouTube Playlist of Digital Books for Young Children http://goo.gl/H1QDXx
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.