Digital Stories for Greater Comprehension for Children with Special Needs

Interactive E-Books have been shown to be helpful for comprehension for those with language processing problems.

The best digital stories for comprehension for children with special needs have: Full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, and, preferably, highlighted text as the narrator reads.

from Amy Price, “Digital Sensory Storytime: Part 2: Interactive eBooks”

Amy Price, former librarian at Oakstone Academy in Westerville, Ohio conducted a LSTA-funded project at Oakstone Academy in 2010 which indicated that children with sensory processing issues benefit from the use of interactive digital books, for reading. All students involved with the project demonstrated an increase in comprehension using interactive eBooks.

Find Interactive eBooks

BookFlix

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    BookFlix has classic and beloved characters and authors like Strega Nona, Mo Willems’ Pigeon, Maurice Sendak and Eric Carle
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, it’s a website
  • Fee-based or Free?
    Ohio students can access this via INFOhio which is a digital library available to all Ohio preK-12 students. You will will need the school’s login credentials or INFOhio’s statewide user login. Contact your school or INFOhio for more information. Some Northeast Ohio public libraries offer access to BookFlix with a library card.
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    Yes
  • Other features?
    All BookFlix titles are paired with a non-fiction text. Each pairing has unique educational features associated with the subject.

Hoopla

Available with Your Westlake Library Card!

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    Since Hoopla is a digital media service for public libraries, thousands of titles are available, including popular and perennial favorites
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, it’s a website and an app that works on a variety of devices
  • Fee-based or Free?
    To access Hoopla, all you need is a login you obtain with your Westlake library card; access titles directly from Hoopla or from the library catalog
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    Yes, for books called “Read-Alongs,” not for all eBooks.
  • Other features?
    Parents should note that some titles contain animation and background music which cannot be turned off; preview the title first if it is distracting for your children

iStorytime

Search your favorite app store to find this resource.

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    Yes, such as the Smurfs, Biscuit, and Ice Age
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, as an app
  • Fee-based or Free?
    Fee-based, but the app includes four free full length Read Aloud storybooks
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    No highlighted text
  • Other features?
    iStorytime claims that kids can enjoy already purchased stories in their library, without being tempted by un-purchased books

Oceanhouse Media

Search your favorite app store to find this resource.

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    Yes, such as Dr. Seuss characters, Litter Critter, Berenstain Bears, and Tacky the Penguin
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, as an app
  • Fee-based or Free?
    Fee-based
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    Yes, for all, plus other useful interactive features
  • Other features?
    Parents should note that there is animation and background music which can be turned off

Oxford Owl

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    Not really, but some classic stories are featured, such as The Frog Prince
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, it’s a website and you can download the eBooks to tablets
  • Fee-based or Free?
    Fee-based, but they have a large library of free eBooks and claim they are adding hundreds during the pandemic, for a limited time
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    Not all books have an audio feature, but many do. No highlighted text.
  • Other features?
    Oxford Owl has its own leveled, learn to read series. These books focus on phonics and have other educational features.

TumbleBooks

Available with Your Westlake Library Card!

  • Titles features favorite characters?
    Some popular titles and TV characters, but most would be more familiar to educators or librarians; popular authors are featured, including Kate DiCamillo
  • Works on a variety of devices?
    Yes, it’s a website and you can download the ebooks to tablets
  • Fee-based or Free?
    Access Tumblebooks with your Westlake library card; Tumblebooks is offering their collections for free through August 31, 2020
  • Has full color pictures, an audio “read to me” feature, highlighted text is as the narrator reads?
    Yes; text highlights by the sentence, not with each word; chapter books may not contain full color pictures
  • Other features?
    Quizzes and other educational features are available; parents should note that some titles contain animation and background music which cannot be turned off; preview the title first if it is distracting for your children

Natalie Bota

Miss Natalie is the Special Needs Librarian at Westlake Porter Public Library. She enjoys working with patrons of all ages and can usually be found in the Youth Services Department or the Reading Garden. She enjoys reading picture books and poetry, baseball, writing, cooking, and travel. She loves spending time with her pets, family, and friends.