Q:

I have heard that textbooks can come in an audio version. Where can I get these textbooks for my son? I think that he'd do a lot better in school if he didn't struggle so much trying to read his textbooks. -- Wants to Listen

A:

Audio textbooks are available through several organizations for students who have been identified by a recognized authority as having a print disability that prevents them from being able to read and comprehend classroom textbooks. The Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic organization was an early provider of audiobooks. It is now known as Learning Ally and can be found at www.

learningally.org. There is a membership fee for the organization's books, unless a school has funding that covers these charges. Another organization offering textbooks and other materials (popular books, magazines and newspapers) is Bookshare. There is no charge for these books -- elementary through college. You can learn more about Bookshare at www.bookshare.org.

Note: In order for your son to access books from either of the above organizations, he must have an Individual Education Plan, 504 Plan or be documented by a recognized authority as having a print disability. If your child has not been identified with a print disability, you will need to research to find audio textbooks for him. Kindle (www.amazon.com) has come out with some textbooks that can be used on your computer or mobile devices. Also, online at www.barnesandnoble.com, you will be able to find some e-textbooks. Another possibility is simply to use a search engine to find "audio textbooks." Finally, if you cannot find the textbooks that you want in an audio version, you can scan a book and use text-to-speech software.

Audio textbooks can be very helpful for poor readers. Their comprehension will improve because they will not have to spend so much time figuring out each word, causing them to forget what they have read. Hearing material read correctly also will help the children learn to read at the correct pace and with good phrasing and expression. Plus, audio books can develop children's sight vocabulary.