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Supporting Improved Reading Comprehension

            As technology continues to become a staple of every-day learning, educators continue to integrate Assistive Technology (AT) tools into the classroom. Incorporating AT into the curriculum can provide for the student multiple means to complete their work and focus on achieving academic success. In the case of computer-based instruction, powerful applications can be used to complement the curriculum. AT provides a method to collect and analyze data, provide immediate feedback, and provide individualized instruction on the basis of the student's ability level and specific needs. .
             Students with special educational needs are being educated in inclusive classrooms where grade-level performance is expected. As a result, educators are turning to AT as a means to deliver individualized instruction to students with diverse learning needs, abilities, and disabilities. Inclusion of a strategic AT program should be targeted towards assisting all students, regardless of subject area or age/grade level. Literacy is the gateway to all learning; Assistive Technology improves reading comprehension for students, while building confidence, independence, and self-directedness. .
             What is Assistive Technology?.
             Assistive Technology is the use of "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities" (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 1994). AT reading tools, or text-to-speech tools, include hardware and software designed to make text-based materials more accessible for individuals who experience difficulty with reading. Common features of AT reading tools include scanning, reformatting, navigating, or speaking of text out loud. .
             Assistive Technology Reading Tools.
             The most common AT reading tools come in the form of text-to-speech (TTS) recognition.

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