Effects of dynamic text and speech output on the word reading skills of young children with IDD (Boyle et al., 2021)

Boyle, S., McNaughton, D., Light, J., Babb, S., & Chapin, S. E. (2021). The effects of shared e-Book reading with dynamic text and speech output on the single-word reading skills of young children with developmental disabilities. Language, Speech & Hearing Services in Schools (Online)52(1), 426–435. 


Shared book reading provides a context for single word reading instruction that is developmentally appropriate for young children.  One way to approach shared book reading for young children with disabilities is to create e-books on a tablet using visual scene displays (VSDs).  In this approach, the interventionist captures photographs of individual book pages and uses specialized software to add hotspots to each page.  When touched, the hotspots provide voice output related to the book page.

To support single word reading using e-books with VSDs, a new software feature, the Transition to Literacy (T2L) feature, can be used to add dynamic text to the hotspots along with voice output.  When an individual touches a hotspot, they hear voice output related to the text and they also see the corresponding printed word appear on the screen.  The dynamic text draws visual attention to the written word to support learning.

The Current Study

The current study investigated the effect of shared reading activities using e-books with the T2L feature on single word reading of children with developmental disabilities. Six children with disabilities participated in shared e-book reading using the T2L feature with a peer without disabilities.

Custom e-books containing hotspots related to the text were created for each dyad using the EasyVSD software on a tablet. Then, the children had chances to read the e-books together with the researcher.  The researcher read the text on each book page out loud, then provided opportunities for both children to touch the hotspots on the page using least-to-most prompting.  As the children touched each hotspot, they heard words related to the story and viewed the corresponding dynamic text (e.g., “pig”).  Word identification was probed before and after the e-books with T2L feature were introduced.

Demonstration of T2L feature


All 6 of the participants with disabilities demonstrated an increase in the total number of correct responses (number of words identified correctly) following introduction of the T2L technology.  All participants, as well as two teachers whose students were in the study, reported positive views of the T2L intervention.  The results suggest that the T2L feature is an effective method for teaching single word reading to young children with developmental disabilities, and that the activity is well-received by both children and early intervention specialists. 

“The T2L feature provides an evidence-based tool for supporting the acquisition of single word reading vocabulary by children with disabilities during interactive reading activities with typically developing peers.”

Boyle et al. (2021)

Submitted to the NARIC database

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