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Book Reader at McPherson College Helps Students With Reading Difficulties

posted Feb 01, 2012 in ACADEMICS

Succeeding in college involves reading a lot of books, that’s a given. But for some students, reading is a significant challenge to be overcome. Now at McPherson College, new technology is on the side of allowing these students to excel.

The college recently purchased a Plustek Book Reader, located on campus in Miller Library. The reader uses high-speed scanning and optical character recognition to turn virtually any printed text to spoken audio with the simple push of a button. In addition to instantly reading the text out loud, the book reader allows the audio to be saved to a removable device, such as an .mp3 player, for the student to take with them.

“It’s amazing technology that’s simple and intuitive to use,” said Mary Hester, director of library services. “What excites me about this technology is that it can literally change students’ lives.”

The technology is intended to help both those with visual impairment and those with a reading disability or difficulty. Because of the ease of use, students can take advantage of the reader without assistance and on their own schedule – allowing students for whom reading is difficult a level of freedom they might not have experienced before.

Miller Library and the Royer Center for Academic Development – located in the library – purchased the book reader together. The majority of the cost was paid by grant funds from South Central Kansas Library System, of which Miller Library is a member.

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