Sunday, September 20, 2009


In this dyslexia blog article I want to talk about audio books..

Recently I read in a Turkish newspaper about the Turkish National Library having audio or talking books available for blind people and that they are planning to expand their collection in the near future. It made me start thinking about talking books for dyslexics and their availability.

Audio books are very useful to those with dyslexia, as well as for people who have a sight problem. Audio books allow struggling readers to enjoy the same popular books as their peers, while at the same time improving listening and reading comprehension skills.It means that dyslexic children can read books above their normal reading level.

Unfortunately there are not many talking books in Turkish, unlike in English.There are few childrens books available which have accompanying tapes.

It is a very beneficial exercise for children with dyslexia to listen to a cassette tape while following the words in the book. Hearing the text read aloud can improve the child’s reading ability .

The only option for parents in Turkey is to make their own recordings for children to listen to !!

Here are some organisations which have audio books available in English :

National Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic ( USA) RFB&D

This is a voluntary non-profit organisation.

If you are an individual outside of the U.S., you may only borrow books that are in RFB&D's Classic Cassettes format.

RFB&D does not distribute digital versions of audiobooks outside of the United States, except to U.S. citizens who are temporarily residing abroad

You will need to use a specialized DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) playback system to access their digital books.

Individual Membership is now free to individuals with proper certification of disability.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)The Library of Congress

You can qualify for the free talking books programme if you have learning disabilities or dyslexia and also a specific accompanying visual or physical handicap.( proof of disability is required ).

To qualify for the Talking Books programme, "Eligible readers must be residents of the United States, or, American citizens living abroad".

For information about the NLS Services to American Citizens Abroad see:

Listening Books ( UK )

Listening Books provides audio books for people with special needs ,including dyslexia They have a library of over 2000 audio books.They offer audiobooks on both MP3 CD and from their website via internet. .There is a yearly membership fee of about 20 pounds.

Sound Learning which is part of Listening Books provides audio books for young people to support their learning. It has 1600 children’s and young people’s titles. There is a yearly subscription for members.

Please note you must live in the UK .

Bookshare ( USA )

Bookshare offers about 50,000 digital books etc to people all over the world with disabilities such as dyslexia.

U.S.citizens temporarily living abroad can register their permanent U.S. address on Bookshare for U.S. membership. If you are permanently residing abroad, you can register your international address for international membership.
Bookshare is free to US students with qualifying disabilities. Proof of disability is required.

Currently 5,000 books are available for download to international members, based on copyright permissions granted by publishers and authors. These include children’s titles from Scholastic. There is a membership fee in the region of 75 dollars. Books are in DAISY format, however Bookshare offers two free DAISY readers with membership.

Calibre ( UK )

You can join Calibre if you have dyslexia and live in the UK. Calibre has the largest lending collection of audio books in the UK in open format ie you don't need special playback equipment. There is no subscription fee only there is a small charge for the print and CD-R catalogues for adults. Children can join ‘Young Calibre ‘

Commercial sites :

Audible Co UK - 20,000 downloadable commercial audio books.

Spoken Network - There are over 9000 titles to choose from by major publishers such as the BBC, Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, Brilliance, Blackstone, and Hachette Spoken Network requires no special eqipment.

The Right to Read Campaign –

The Right to Read Alliance is made up of 19 charities including: Dyslexia Action and the BDA. It is trying to push publishers to make all books available in an accessible way for everyone, including those with disabilities.

Up to three million adults and children in the UK who are blind, partially sighted or have a reading impairment such as dyslexia are denied the right to read. A shocking 95 per cent of all books published never become available in large print, audio or braille, or electronically. The Right to Read Alliance believes this discrimination must end.

People with sight problems or reading disabilities are like everyone else – they want to read the same book, at the same time at the same price.

The situation is bad enough for Visually Impaired people. But since 2002 they have at least had the right to change the format of books to something that they can read – eg by scanning them – without having to get the permission of the publisher. Dyslexic people, and organisations acting for them, still don't have that right, so that dyslexic people now find it even more difficult to find audio books, for example, then they did before. The Right to Read Campaign is campaigning for the same rights for all reading impaired people
”. ( quote )

Books for All - is about learning materials in accessible, alternative formats, for people who have difficulty reading ordinary printed books. It contains information of where you can get hold digital and audio books.

A blog about talking books ..

BDA lists some information about audio books ..

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