Start-to-Finish Accessible Book Collection Opens the World of Classic Literature to Special Education Classrooms and Students

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Don Johnston Incorporated, educational publisher specializing in assistive technology and literacy programs for students with special needs, just released a new package of Start-to-Finish accessible computer books and teaching materials for special education classrooms. The collection includes ten computer “chapter” books on CD—one for each month of the school year. Students with special needs can now enjoy classic literature.

Computer books and teaching materials collection

Start-to-Finish Computer Books

I''m amazed by my students' skill progression using these computer books. I like the built-in accommodations. We use the collection as our alternative reading curriculum.

Don Johnston Incorporated, educational publisher specializing in assistive technology and literacy programs for students with special needs, just released a new package of Start-to-Finish accessible computer books and teaching materials for special education classrooms.

The collection includes ten computer “chapter” books on CD—one for each month of the school year. The books are designed to provide an engaging multi-sensory (visual and audio) reading experience for students who read below grade level due to learning or reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, autism, traumatic brain injury or for those with physical challenges that impede their ability to hold a book.

The ‘retold’ classic chapter books are written and edited by trained speech and language pathologists and are professionally narrated. The collection includes Romeo & Juliet, Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Frankenstein, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Red Badge of Courage and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Seven titles are written at the 2-3 grade reading level and three at a 4-5 grade level to align with U.S. core curriculum and teacher recommended reading lists.

“When we released our first Start-to-Finish accessible books 12 years ago, it was incredible to hear about students in middle and high school who were reading for the first time,” said Ben Johnston, Director of Marketing and partner in the family business. “With the Start-to-Finish Classroom Collection, we would love to see a library of accessible books in every special education classroom. By the time students leave their class, they will have read ten chapter books including some of the best stories and classics ever told.”

Patricia Campbell, a teacher from Santa Rosa, CA, says even her ‘hard-to-reach’ students are excited to hop on the computer and read the Start-to-Finish classics. “Without these computer books, my students may never have had the thrill of knowing how Tom Sawyer bamboozled his friends into painting a fence,” she said. “When we finish a chapter, more students are attaining 90 to 100% on their comprehension quizzes. This is a true testament to the quality of the content and the assistive technology supports embedded into the program. The combination of reinforcement (seeing and hearing text read aloud), the way the content is formatted and the narrators who embody the main characters enable my students to read the books from beginning to end.”

The collection is priced at $399 for an unlimited software license including take-home privileges for reading at school as well as at home. A teacher resource CD includes printable instructional supports including illustrations, idioms, vocabulary lists, worksheets, and four sample reading strategy lessons. A classroom poster visually engages students to further discuss their reading adventures. Paperbacks and audio CDs are optional.

Julie W. Spedale, Director of the OPTIONS program, for St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette, LA, said, “Our students want to be as mainstreamed as possible in school and society. When they can be brought together through a compelling story, there is no telling how far that friendship and learning opportunity will grow. I’m amazed by their skill progression using these computer books. I like the built-in accommodations and use the content as our alternative reading curriculum.”

About Don Johnston Incorporated

Don Johnston Incorporated is a U.S. family business (http://www.donjohnston.com). Since 1980, the company has developed assistive technologies and literacy programs to break the cycle of failure for students in U.S. schools and abroad. For students who cannot read, write, spell or communicate well through traditional teaching methods, these literacy programs and adaptive devices are scientifically designed to best accommodate students’ learning styles and needs.

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Resource Links:

  •     Learn more about Start-to-Finish and watch a demo
  •     Read Jason’s Story and LIKE US on Facebook
  •     Video Interview with Don Johnston – How Start-to-Finish computer books engage students and why they are specially written, formatted and narrated to encourage reading.
  •     Request a Quote

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Valerie Chernek
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