Educational Technology: To Plug or Unplug & Other Questions to Consider When Your Kid Has a Reading Difference

“No more screen time, read a book.” Who hasn’t said that to their kid? However, what do you suggest when your kid can’t easily read for comprehension or pleasure? Go listen to an audiobook. Read an e-book with audio for at least fifteen minutes. Even with the technologies available, my kid doesn’t like to read. Period. It’s a fact, and it may or may not change.

Use it Or Lose It

Everyone has to read. It’s not a debate. As a parent, I need to encourage our daughter to read.  As such, I feel torn about how hard to push technology when it comes to reading, and I’m not consistent. Sometimes I suggest reading a book or a print product, but who am I fooling. Of the books she owns, none have ever been read. Even the graphic novels. I can tell her that the more she practices, the easier it will become, but that still doesn’t mean she will want to read a book-ever!

Listen to an Audio Book or an E-Book

Print or words alone are a really tough sell. I get it. Reading the content takes all of her efforts, so there’s not much joy in the task. Therefore, I would argue that the time is now to promote e-books with audio or just an audiobook. The truth is that I have pretty much given up on print-alone. Since the goal is to consume content and information, I’m all for anything that works.

When words and books have become enemies, anything that makes them less of a foe is positive.

Kids with learning differences need technology to level the playing field, but it’s not always clear when to introduce technology, which technology to use, and then how to use the technology. It’s a moving target. There are instructional technology integration specialists within the schools or school districts, but a lot of the decisions are left to parents and teachers.

Devices, Apps, and Products Oh My!

When our daughter first got assessed with a language difference, I was assured that with all of the technology available, and more being developed every day, technology would be a game-changer for her. With a background in educational publishing and technology, I felt ready and willing to embrace all of the technical solutions. I even had delusions that I was a bit of an expert! What I quickly learned was that to stay current and understand the best devices, apps, and products for kids with reading and learning differences you need to make it your full-time job. Luckily, there are brilliant people out there who have done just that.

Over the next few months, Teach My Kid to Read will be interviewing technology integration coordinators, and other assistive and educational technology experts to examine critical issues related to technology and learning and reading differences. Topics may range from the struggle over alternatives to screen time, figuring out how to digitize homework that is only available in print, or who should pay for some of the assistive technologies.

If you have particular ideas about topics you want more information on, let us know. Meanwhile, stay tuned for further insight from some of the experts…to plug or unplug, not an easy decision.

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