Readalongreads© is the archive site for voice tracks linked to printed material. Its purpose is to allow readers to hear written material, whether fact or fiction, read privately to them through headphones attached to Smart devices.
All sorts of people find reading a struggle and for all sorts of reasons, from bad school experiences through neurological problems, to reading something that isn’t in their birth language. Having to work hard at reading upsets fluency and when that happens understanding suffers. This is off-putting enough for someone trying to follow a story or a poem, but when the material is a fact sheet or instructions about how to do something, it might even be dangerous.
So why not just download a voice file or buy an audio book?
Because reading is an important way of passing information along and people who find reading problematic risk missing out on things they need to know or would like to know.
We want to support reading not bypass it, and linking the voice track to the printed page or information sheet does this by helping people over those bumps that would usually stop them. Readalongreads© also enhances privacy and dignity and reduces the stigma of reading difficulties by being discrete. This can be especially important where confidential or very personal information is concerned because it removes the need for a third party reader.
A further benefit, whether for fluent or struggling readers, is that the writer’s voice is there to lift the words – fiction, poetry, facts and figures – out of those dead zones we sometimes find in our heads and bring them to life with all its shifts in tone, energy, emphases, cadences, changes of pace and rhythm.
Finally, every writer of fiction or poetry knows the value of reading their work aloud to give readers the best chance of ‘hearing’ on the page what they themselves heard as they were writing. Writers of factual material may not be so aware of this as yet. Making voice files to go with the information they want their patients or clients or customers to read may go a long way towards improving the way those are written.
Readalongreads© is in its development phase. Organisations or individuals interested in trying out the process can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org