Free reading resources for special needs students

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by Kindy Segovia, OTR
Assistive Technology Coordinator at Kent ISD, Grand Rapids, MI

Kindy Segovia

As millions of students are home from school, teachers and parents are exploring resources that will allow learning to continue. Many technology and education companies are offering resources at no cost during this time.

Digital reading resources can be a powerful way for students with disabilities to engage with literature, nonfiction and content-specific reading. A few free options include:

  • Epic – This digital library has 35,000-plus books, read-to-me and audiobooks, videos and quizzes. Teachers and librarians have always been able to join for free. All that is needed is registration with a school email. Now teachers can stay connected to their students by assigning books or collections and monitoring their progress, also at no cost.
  • Audible Stories – This resource from Audible Books (a subsidiary of Amazon) offers a collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help students continue reading and learning. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Stories are read by real people, with high-quality audio.
  • Scholastic Learn At Home – This online learning dashboard offers day-to-day projects that keep kids learning.
  • CommonLit – Find free digital tools, including an extensive digital library with titles across a variety of genres.
  • Open Culture – This literacy resource is always free, has audiobooks, ebooks and other digital content for students.
  • Tokybook – Find free audiobooks to stream or download (for adults also!)
  • Tumblebooks – Many community libraries offer free access to Tumblebooks for library members. Simply go to your library website, look for the Tumblebooks link, and have your library card number ready!

There are many other sites offering free digital content to support literacy and learning. Many schools and public libraries have posted additional sites and resources – check your local websites for more ideas! And, keep your students reading and listening daily!

Kindy Segovia, OTR, is currently the Assistive Technology Coordinator at Kent Intermediate School District, Grand Rapids, Mich. She has worked as an occupational therapist in both schools and pediatric rehabilitation for over 25 years. She has provided educational training for teachers, parents and administrators over the past 15 years with a focus on adapting curriculum, classroom accommodations, and integrating technology into instruction. She is also an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University. Find out more from Kindy at kindysegovia.com.

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