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Audio-Assisted Reading

Audio-Assisted Reading allows a user to listen to a spoken version of text while looking at screen-displayed print or touching braille.

A girl wearing headphones reads a braille paperWhat is Audio-Supported or Audio-Assisted Reading?

Audio-supported reading (ASR) can be defined as “a technology-based approach for accessing and working with text presented in either braille or enlarged (magnified) print. This approach allows a user to listen to a spoken version of text while looking at screen-displayed print or touching braille. In ASR, both the rate of information pick up and the portion of attention paid to braille or print—in combination with speech—can be controlled by the user. With sufficient practice, both braille readers and magnified print readers can greatly increase the rate at which they move through text using ASR.” according to Dr. Richard Jackson.

How Should Audio-Supported Reading be Taught?

There is evidence that providing audio-supported or audio-assisted reading as a component of literacy instruction can help to develop fluency for students with print disabilities.  A web training by Karen Norvol from Bookshare outlines how this strategy supports both fluency and reading comprehension.  Dr. Richard Jackson and Ike Presley (AFB) presented a paper to the National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials (2012) in which they argue that audio assisted reading should be taught along with instruction in AT and braille/print reading to help students with visual impairment read more efficiently.  

ASR Instructional Strategies

Ike Presley offers sample wording for recommending audio-assisted reading in this document.
Sample Wording document

Additional Resources

Audio-Supported Reading for Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

Audio-Supported Reading (ASR)

Changing Channels – AudioAssisted Reading: Access to Curriculum for Students with Print Disabilities
This article by Carol Evans describes a technique for using recorded materials along with text to enhance reading skills.

Collage of audio-assisted reading

Little girl smiling with books in front of her that says, "Never Stop Learning"
Tips and guides

Verbalizing Information for Learners Who are Visually Impaired

Reader's Digest Partners for sight foundation logo with an abstract eye

Helping to Foster the Independence of People Who are Blind and Visually Impaired: Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation

Screen shot of a YouTube video showing the number 6 with touch math concepts
Lessons and materials

YouTube Learning Videos for Students with Visual Impairments