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What Reading Tools Are Teachers Using in Their Classrooms?

Here are the most popular apps and assistive tech teachers use with Bookshare to support students with learning differences in their classroom.

Assistive technology (AT) can level the playing field for students with learning differences. There are many effective tools in the market and finding the ones that click with your students can be an exercise of trying some out and seeing which they like the best.

To help with your search, here are some of the most popular apps and AT used by Bookshare members.

Bookshare Reader

Our official reader app, Bookshare Reader, lets students access the Bookshare collection and read on the web, iOS and Android mobile devices, and Alexa-enabled smart speakers.

  • Cost: Free
  • Available on: iOS devices, Android devices, Alexa-enabled devices, and most web browsers
  • Target Audience: Students with dyslexia, low vision, blindness, or physical disabilities.
  • Pro-Tip: With Bookshare Reader, you can stop reading and pick up from your last spot, and also download books and read offline.

Learn about Bookshare Reader

Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Reader is a versatile text-to-speech app that enables users to listen to PDFs, web pages, audiobooks, and various document formats, with a wide range of premium voices and offline functionality.

  • Cost: One-time $29.99 purchase, subject to change
  • Available on: iOS devices
  • Target Audience: Students with dyslexia or visual impairments
  • Pro-Tip: Voice Dream Reader is designed to synchronize the text with the audio seamlessly.  Scroll through text, highlight sections to save for later, and bookmark favorites to immerse yourself in the content.

Learn about Voice Dream Reader

Dolphin EasyReader

EasyReader is a free app that makes books more accessible for people who are visually impaired, have a neurodiverse condition such as dyslexia, or any other print impairment.

  • Cost: Free with premium version available
  • Available on: iOS devices, Android, Fire, and Windows. The Premium version is available on Mac
  • Target Audience: Students with neuro disabilities, visual impairments, or physical disabilities
  • Pro-tip: Readers can access newspaper and magazine subscriptions, Word documents, and web text.

Learn about Dolphin EasyReader

Read&Write from TextHelp

TextHelp’s Read&Write is a literacy support tool that helps with everyday tasks like reading text out loud, understanding unfamiliar words, researching assignments, and proofing written work.

  • Cost: Free for teachers. For broader access, a single student license is $150 per year, a student group license (minimum order of 150) is $15 per student per year, and a district-wide license is $2.25 per student per year.
  • Available on: Windows, Mac, iPad, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Android devices. Also works with Canvas, Schoology and Brightspace.
  • Target Audience: Students with learning differences like dyslexia.
  • Pro-tip: Try the two native dictionaries – a picture dictionary and a standard dictionary – to help visualize words and help with overall comprehension.

Learn about Read&Write from TextHelp


Capti is an all-in-one reading solution that provides accommodations and scaffolding to students with print disabilities and addresses Section 504/IEP compliance. Capti works with many file formats, connects with multiple content sources, and is perfect for both independent use and teacher-led instruction.

  • Cost: Free with premium features available as in-app purchases. Multi-license educational accounts available for schools
  • Available on: iPhone, iPad, most web browsers on any device
  • Target Audience: Students with dyslexia, vision impairments, or blindness.
  • Pro-Tip: Capti enables students to load files like PDF and Word documents and listen to the text, use comprehensive visual modifications, and use active reading tools and scaffolding.

Learn about Capti


BuddyBooks, a National Science Foundation-funded project, helps struggling and reluctant readers from third grade to high school improve their reading skills. It works by students and a computer “buddy” co-reading any Bookshare book, which keeps the students engaged in the story. Meanwhile, the AI in BuddyBooks continuously analyzes the student’s reading, showing the teacher how much time the students spent reading over the past week, how well the students read, and where they made mistakes.  

  • Cost: Priced on a per-student annual subscription, with plans available for both schools and parents
  • Available on: Browser-based app, so it works with most browsers, such as Chrome, and most computers, including Chromebooks and iPads
  • Target Audience: Students with dyslexia or low vision
  • Pro-Tip: BuddyBooks is also used as an accommodation for struggling readers. BuddyBooks enables students to read the same books as their peers in their English Language Arts class.

Learn more about BuddyBooks


HumanWare develops popular braille devices, notetakers, and media players like the Victor Reader Stream that allows students with visual impairments to do their schoolwork and listen to books.

  • Cost: Ranges depending on device
  • Available on: Standalone devices compatible with both Google and iOS platforms
  • Target Audience: Blind and low vision students
  • Pro-Tip: Use the Human Companion software to make transferring Bookshare books to devices easy.

Learn about HumanWare products

BrailleSense by HIMS

HIMS also develops popular braille notetakers used by Bookshare members. The BrailleSense notetaker comes in both a full and mini version.

  • Cost: Ranges depending on device
  • Available on: Standalone devices powered by Android
  • Target Audience: Blind and low vision students

Learn about HIMS products


QRead is an innovative and powerful eText reader for the Windows platform that provides access to a wide range of ebook formats with support for bookmarking, searching, and more.

  • Cost: $30
  • Available on: Windows
  • Target Audience: Blind and low vision students

Learn about QRead

Kurzweil 3000 and 1000

Kurzweil is a proven AT developer that offers comprehensive learning software that allow students to customize their Bookshare reading experience, as well as other features that help with comprehension, writing, and test taking.

  • Cost: Prices vary, free trials available
  • Available on: Windows and Mac computers
  • Target Audience: Students with dyslexia

Learn about Kurzweil products

OpenBook from Freedom Scientific

OpenBook is a scanning and reading system that instantly converts printed materials to speech or large print output on your computer and works with Bookshare books.

  • Cost: Perpetual license costs $1000
  • Available on: Windows computers
  • Target Audience: Blind and low vision students

Learn about OpenBook

This list is not exhaustive and mentions some of the more popular apps and AT used by Bookshare students and educators. There are others, and we would love to hear what you use with your students. Mention them in the comments!

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