Learning Differences

An introduction and resource page about learning differences.

Audiobooks & eAudio

Subscription and Free Audiobooks & eBooks

Audiobooks are valuable and even fun for most all readers, but for those who have reading difficulties, hearing the text provides many benefits: they help with fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary, enhancing visual imager, and critical thinking skills. If the text can be viewed also, the benefits are multiplied. Besides the books on CD, Playaways, and ebooks through our iBook players that we are familiar with through our usual vendors and bookstores, here are other resources for the school loibrary that students, parents, and teachers value:

Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D)

FREE subscription for certified users, cost of specialized player if needed. School membership as well. This is the largest audio textbook library in the world with over 59,000 titles and is a "national nonprofit, volunteer organization [that] has been the leading accessible audiobook library for students with disabilities such as visual impairment or dyslexia that make reading standard print difficult or impossible...with titles available in every subject area and grade level, RFB&D's digitally recorded audio textbooks on CD and downloadable audio...help students challenged by the printed page."  The application form includes a section where a professional verifies that this type of assisted device is warranted. School textbooks and curriculum-relatred fiction and non-fiction are available, through college level. See PSA.

Reading & Radio Resource

$. "The Recorded Books Program serves children and adults who are either visually or physically disabled, or learning differenced. Listeners may choose from over 3,700 catalog titles in our catalog, or can request that materials be recorded [including textbooks]. Recordings are currently provided on either a standard CD or in an MP3 format, which the listener may copy and keep...contact Kateri Cale." Very reliable and inexpensive for qualified students/schools.

TumbleBook Library, TumbleReadables, TumbleTalking Books,

$. An online audio book library collection for public libraries and schools. A subscription gives your students unlimited remote access to your audio book collection. TumbleBook Library (elementary) also has games, quizzes, puzzles. TumbleReadables (late elementaray to adult) and TumbleTalking Books for secondary to adult.

One More Story

$. "An online library of the best of children's classic and contemporary literature. Through a simple point and click process, children can choose a book, see the illustrations and have the book read to them whenever they want."

Project Gutenberg

FREE. Audobook, human read, "The place where you can download over 30,000 free books to read on your PC, iPhone, Kindle, Sony Reader or other portable device."


FREE. "Audiobooks from the public domain. LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we releasea the audio files back on to the net for free. All our audio is in the public domain, so you may use it for whatever purpose you wish."


FREE. Lit2Go is a free online collection of stories and poems in MP3 format. You can download files to your ploayer and listen on the go or download and listen on your computer. From Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse.  

LearnOutLoud also Kids LearnOutLoud

FREE & $. Scroll down to "Browse Free Audio & Viedo Titles by Category." Also FREE podcasts, such as Founding Fathers, Great Speeches, Philosophy readings.


FREE. "Committed to delivering public domain literature paired with high quality audio performances. We pair together great literature and accompanying audiol Putting the text and audio together, readers can learn spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure by listening and reading masterpieces of the written word. Read and listen via your web browser or on your MP3 player"  

Maria Lectrix

FREE. A "public domain audiobook podcast--for people with catholic tastes." Novels, religious books, essays, folk tales, humor, love, poetry, plays, science fiction, short stories, Church Fathers.

Miette's Bedtime Story Podcast

Short stories can be listened to or downloaded. Search by author--wonderful selection of literature not always found on other sites. Some adult content. A blog format.


$ & FREE through participating Public Library. "Students install free softward on their computers, browse the secure website for curriculum-based or recreational titles, check out their selections with an existing library card (or other ID), then download audiobooks and eBooks to their desktop or laptop PC. They can even transfer most titles to supported mobile devices."



Applications, Software, Freeware

Students with learning differences are best taught using multisensory methods.  With access to computers and software programs, subscription services, and free resources, even more can be accomplished. Organizational strategies are often critical and life-changing for students. Their freedom to use various formats for presenting their knowledge is essential, and will contribute to their sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.  Let them use their best modalities to present their knowledge. New applications are being developed constantly. A brief sampling:

Inspiration (6-12) and Kidspiration (K-5)

$ “The essential tool to visualize, think, organize and learn. Inspiration® is the essential visual thinking and learning tool students rely on to plan, research and complete projects successfully. With the integrated Diagram and Outline Views, learners create graphic organizers and expand topics into writing. This powerful combination encourages learning in multiple modes. As a result, students gain and retain a better understanding of concepts and demonstrate knowledge, improving their performance across the curriculum.”


FREE. Real-time collaborative brainstorming & organization. See also Robin Good's Collaborative Map.


FREE. Mind maps, organization, lesson plans. "SpicyNodes is a way to visualize online information that mimics the way that people look for things in the real world. Bits of information--such as text, links, photos, and other media--are placed into "nodes," which are then linked together in an appealing interface that invites exploration."


FREE & $. "Glogster EDU is your original educational resource for innovative and interactive learning. Glogster EDU was conceived to imaginatively, productively, and collaboratively respond to the dynamic educational landscape and exceed the needs of today’s educators and learners. We value the participation of educators and strive to assimilate their contributions to Glogster EDU, Glogster EDU is yours! Educators from all over the world are integrating Glogster EDU’s resourceful platform to make traditional learning more dynamic, more interactive and more in tune with learners today. Most importantly Glogster EDU is FUN for teachers and learners alike!" See: A Christmas Carol Glogster


FREE & $. "Turn your photos & videos into pure amazing. Animoto automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music. Fast, free and shockingly easy." See: I've Got a Crush


$1/user/year ($200 min). Browse "What's a VoiceThread." "Ed.VoiceThread is a secure K-12 network for students and teachers to collaborate and share ideas with classrooms anywhere in the world."


$. "The Visual THesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words....The best part of the VT works like your brain, not a paper-bound book. You'll want to explore just to see what might happen. You'll discover--and learn--naturally and intuitively. You'll find the right word write more discriptively free associate--and gain a more precise understanding of the English language."


FREE. "a toy for creating word clouds from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text."

WebSite Design

Keep in mind that you want to present resources in a way that makes them accessible--easy to find and use with visual cues. Minimize visual competition and among your selections provide material that has audio capabilities and resources as often as possible.

Color, Contrast, Design

Consistency, Ease of Use

  • Consistent design and color for each page
  • Same layout for each page
  • Always have a RETURN to... on the page
  • "Universal design" UDL Guidelines (National Center on Universal Design for Learning)

Minimize Choices


Choose Audio Sources for Students When Possible