Research Shows How Recorded Textbooks Help LD Students. (We Hear from Readers)

Article excerpt

Blind and dyslexic students fare better on tests when using recorded texts, study suggests

Sue Brooks, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, Princeton, New Jersey: Students with learning disabilities who used digitally recorded textbooks from the national nonprofit Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D) performed better on tests measuring content acquisition than classmates who did not have access to RFB&D's unique accommodation, according to a multi-faceted research study conducted by The Johns Hopkins University and RFB&D.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of RFB&D's AudioPlus digitally recorded textbooks on CD with and without a complementary organizational learning strategy on the acquisition of content--or the process of learning the assigned material--by secondary students with mild cognitive disabilities. Nearly 100 special education students from seven Baltimore County public high schools participated in the eight-week study that focused on the accessibility of the district's 9th-grade American government text. Students were assessed by short-term and long-term comprehension tests to determine increased content acquisition. A pre-test and a post-test, developed by the textbook test maker, were administered to determine impact on content acquisition during the course of the study.

Entire classes of students were assigned randomly to one of three groups:

* Students using RFB&D's AudioPlus textbook on CD for 15 to 20 minutes daily.

* Students using RFB&D's AudioPlus textbook on CD for 15 to 20 minutes daily with a specific organizational learning strategy designed to aid comprehension and knowledge by cueing active listening, directing readers' attention to important text and integrating new information with the students' existing knowledge base.

* A control group that engaged in 15 to 20 minutes of reading daily, using a standard textbook, with no audio text or specialized instruction.

For each of the two experimental conditions, the comparison with the control condition was statistically significant.

Students who had access to the textbook on CD had a 38.1 percent increase in their pre- to post-test scores than their peers in the control group (21.6 percent). …