ClassMate Reader - Portable Reading System Offers Struggling Readers in K-12 Classrooms Many Advantages

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Handheld digital text reader with audio feedback offers multi-model reading advantages for struggling readers and learning disabled, dispelling the notion that assistive devices are unappealing.

Our partnership with HumanWare brings a new dimension to our product and services for educators who serve struggling learners. The ClassMate will offer a truly convenient digital reading experience for students who require more reading practice and recorded feedback in an anytime, anywhere learning environment. The ClassMate is an ideal and real-time solution to fill a strong student need.

Don Johnston Incorporated has announced today it's partnership with HumanWare, Longueuil (Quebec, Canada), a global leader in assistive technologies for the print disabled, to distribute a revolutionary device to assist K-12 students with reading difficulties. The ClassMate Reader is a tool to help students improve reading comprehension, increase reading speed and develop strong vocabulary. This tool is indispensable for students who need to refer back to previously recorded notes, tests or chapter summaries and benefit from audio feedback.

The ClassMate Reader is a unique, lightweight, handheld device about the size of a portable gaming system with a large LCD screen. Students can listen to the audio version of their textbooks and study materials, while following the highlighted text on screen. This system is ideal for students in any learning setting, including the classroom, resource room, library, extended learning and at home. The system promotes phonetic recognition and fluency mastery while significantly boosting the efforts of teachers who work with students who are dyslexic.

The ClassMate Reader integrates several features found on more expansive PC-based software such as text-to-speech, highlighting, dictionary, text and voice notes and audio book navigation. It can be part of a teacher's strategy to build students' independence in the learning process and enhance their self-esteem. The system's design was carefully crafted to engage students and dispel the notion that assistive devices are unappealing.

Scientific studies have demonstrated the advantages of a multi-modal based reading approach (audio and visual) for dyslexic students. With the simultaneous use of text and audio, students will improve their reading comprehension which is conducive to improve academic achievement and higher test scores. Students who read below grade level can use this tool to access grade level materials and the general curriculum. The ClassMate Reader can be used as an accommodation when administering tests and to eliminate the necessity for the teacher to read the exam to students.

Kevin Johnston, Director of Business Development for Don Johnston Incorporated, said, "Our partnership with HumanWare brings a new dimension to our product and services for educators who serve struggling learners. The ClassMate will offer a truly convenient digital reading experience for students who require more reading practice and recorded feedback in an anytime, anywhere learning environment. The ClassMate is an ideal and real-time solution to fill a strong student need."    

Students will appreciate the ClassMate Reader for quickly and effectively consulting their school books, making voice notes, study and practice and recording their teacher during class. The ClassMate's study features are built to assist in retrieving information through the use of text notes, highlighting and bookmarks. The ClassMate Reader can play various electronic book formats starting with the new NIMAS (National Instructional Material Accessible Standard) , which supports the 2004 IDEA regulation. Other formats include DAISY, Bookshare.org, text, wav, MP3 and audio files. The player also provides integrated text-to-speech for reading books in text format, such as those from Bookshare.org. It uses a removable SD flash memory card or USB memory stick to store books and electronic texts. It can easily transfer files from a PC with its standard USB connection. The ClassMate offers all of the most advanced DAISY functions, as well as navigation capabilities for any book or textbook.

The ClassMate will be available for purchase from Don Johnston Incorporated in late autumn 2007 at an affordable price of $439 per unit. Customers buying 10 or more ClassMates will receive a price discount of $399 per unit. Any customer who purchases a ClassMate through the spring of 2008 will receive a special e-text version of Don Johnston's autobiography, Building Wings: How I Made it Through School, narrated by Don himself. This short, compelling and personal story encourages students to identify their individual learning style and reach for their optimal learning potential. Building Wings is a thoughtful journey of Don's struggle with reading; the teacher who sparked his passion for learning and an incredible list of personal and professional triumphs. Educators can enter to win a FREE ClassMate by visiting Don Johnston's website at http://www.donjohnston.com.

About Don Johnston Incorporated:
Don Johnston Incorporated empowers educators with supplemental instruction and intervention solutions to help struggling learners build core literacy skills with confidence. Don Johnston has partnered with literacy experts, psychologists, teachers, researchers, and scientists since 1980 to develop over a dozen educational technology products. The company also publishes Start-to-Finishâ„¢, a collection of paperback, audio and computer books to engage struggling readers and ESL learners. 1-800-999-4660 / http://www.donjohnston.com

About HumanWare:
HumanWare (http://www.humanware.com) is the global leader in assistive technologies for the print disabled. HumanWare provides products to people who are blind and have low vision and students with learning disabilities. HumanWare offers a collection of innovative products include BrailleNote, the leading productivity device for the blind in education, business and for personal use; the Victor Reader product line, the world's leading digital audio book players, and SmartView Xtend, the first fully modular and upgradeable CCTV-based video magnifier.

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Valerie Chernek
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