District: Lone Oak High School • Location: Paducah, Kentucky
Leaders: Elaine Farris, Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers at Lone Oak High School in Paducah, Kentucky spend weeks and sometimes months rewriting required literature to accommodate students with multiple disabilities. Now they use Start-to-Finish accessible books with professional narration.
Kentucky Teens with Disabilities Use Computer eBooks to Learn Alternative High School Curriculum
…Text-to-Speech Technology and Human Narrated Voices Read Content Aloud
Each year, special education teachers at Lone Oak High School in Paducah, Kentucky spend weeks and sometimes months rewriting required literature to accommodate students with multiple disabilities. This arduous activity takes extra teaching staff and planning time. When the teachers finish this yearly task, their students have one or maybe two more books that meet their reading comprehension levels.
Elaine Farris, Special Education Teacher said, “We wanted to find a reading solution that could accommodate our students’ diverse reading abilities and challenges, and serve as our adaptive high school reading curriculum. Today, we use Start-to-Finish Core Content and Library. These computer eBooks and paperbacks support students with text-to-speech and human narration. The content is written and formatted for students who read on a beginning 2nd/3rd grade level. In the two years we’ve used the books, students’ alternative portfolio scores rose.”
Each year, students in the multiple disabilities unit at Lone Oak High School work toward a Certificate of Attainment. They are tested on five alternative reading standards about a story’s main idea, author’s purpose of 10th grade level text, vocabulary and jargon, paraphrasing level text, and making predictions.
“Huckleberry Finn, Prince and the Pauper, Romeo and Juliet, and Treasure Island all align to Kentucky core standards,” said Elaine. “Students listen to the human narration aloud, see the text highlighted on the screen and understand the meaning of the story. It’s a win-win for teachers and students!”
Instead of rewriting literature, Elaine’s team plans new reading extension activities for students who all have laptops which the district is proud of. This year, students did a research project on King Henry the 8th and developed a PowerPoint presentation with text and images. “They loved the computer book and the project,” adds Elaine.
This school also has a peer tutoring program now using the computer eBooks where students from the general education high school come to a reading class to work with students with disabilities. Students read the same story and talk about it with their schoolmates. “They can now relate their ideas to each other,” said Elaine. “They feel more independent. That’s a good thing for students who function or read at lower levels. They are excited to start a new book now and get down to the business of reading and improving their achievement skills.”