Saturday, February 10, 2007

Route 66 Reading

At the 2002 TASH Conference I attended a workshop on literacy and the learner with multiple special needs. Presented by individuals from the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies, the information was grim, literacy rates were very low and very few people had any idea if and how to teach reading to these learners. Also, if these students did not show some ability to read by age twelve reading instruction was discontinued. The presenters were working on creating web based software that could use the internet and assistive technology to teach both students to read and their teachers to better teach reading.

Apparently this dream finally became a reality at the 2006 Closing the Gap Conference when Route 66 was presented. Route 66 is, "a comprehensive set of literacy content and instructional tools and services for adolescent and adult learners delivered via the Internet. It combines a balanced set of reading, writing and word study at the first and second grade level... ."

The Route 66 is automatically accessible with screen readers, braille displays, switch use, alternative input devices and a variety of other assistive technologies. It is web based, thus it lowers to price of a software purchase (no packaging or inventory control) and does not require any additional hardware beyond the internet connection and whatever assistive tech the student already uses.

There is currently a free demo for students and teacher to try out, which sounds like a great first step (login:initialteacher, password:password).

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