The development of computer related technologies to assist readers who have fluency or decoding problems is certainly a recent development. However, in the last several years, the technology and sophistication of some of the software programs designed to assist individuals with reading difficulties have been truly revolutionary.

The Kurzweil 3000 reading program (Kurzweiledu.com) is a software package that enables readers to scan in text from any book they are reading, and then reads the text aloud in a modulated voice. In addition, the text is highlighted, and definitions and synonyms of any word in the text is offered. In addition, the program has functions that include syllabification, spelling of various words, as well as reading text at different rates of speed. Study skills include virtual sticky notes, different colored marks that allow students to highlight salient information, and the ability to extract this data in a separate document. The Kurzweil program also has some powerful writing enhancement strategies including a word predictor function and editing tools that sharpen and develop writing skills. Lastly, the Kurzweil program allows for the downloading of thousands of audio books and the aural reading of text contained in many websites.

The Lexia Reading Program is another software package that is specialized to work in a compatible manner with many phonologically based tutoring programs designed to assist readers increase the accuracy of their decoding, and the fluency of their reading skills. Lexia is a graduated program that works with readers to increase phonemic awareness through syllabification, tasks utilizing elision, reading of non-sense words or phonologs, as well as rhyming and other pronunciation tasks.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, which is a website where recorded books on CD can be borrowed, is a very valuable resource as well, as it provides a large lending library for those students who might benefit from listening to books. This resource should never replace the development of reading skills, but can be an invaluable tool in increasing reading comprehension and improving academic performance. More information on this website can be obtained at rfbd.org.

The development of computer related technologies to assist readers who have fluency or decoding problems is certainly a recent development. However, in the last several years, the technology and sophistication of some of the software programs designed to assist individuals with reading difficulties have been truly revolutionary.