During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote learning is an unprecedented challenge for countless students. This challenge can be even more daunting for students working through a reading deficit. You and your team can help these students learn from home by making sure they have the audio resources they need. The goal of this experience is to positively impact not only students’ academic success, but also their socio-emotional wellbeing, school attendance, and, ultimately, their employment outcomes.
In this activity, you and your team will support the creation of digital audiobooks for the organization’s library of more than 80,000 human-read audiobooks. The library is a multi-sensory reading accommodation that levels the playing field for students who struggle to read due to a learning disability, providing them the opportunity to achieve in school and in life. Gaining access to the popular fiction, classics, and textbooks that students want to read in an easy-to-absorb format can be a game-changer.
Volunteers will first participate in a simulation on how it feels to be a dyslexic student, followed by a Quality Assurance (QA) session.
1. Dyslexia Simulation: Through the simulation, you will understand what it is like to struggle to decode a text, becoming aware of why writing and spelling is so difficult through an engaging and interactive exercise. Afterwards, volunteers will be able to relate to and empathize with students’ struggles.
2. QA Volunteer Session: Quality Assurance (QA) is the final step in the process of creating an audiobook. Volunteers will contribute by listening to the organization’s books just like their students will and checking for anything that interferes with an enjoyable reading experience. You will receive QA training and be assigned a specific book or a section of a book for QA. Some of the things you will test for include ease of navigation, audio synchronization with text on a screen, typographical errors, and narrator performance.
Here is a sample agenda for the experience (times are flexible):
- 15 minutes — Volunteer Welcome
- 20 minutes — Nonprofit Introduction and Orientation
- 20 minutes — Dyslexia Simulation
- 2.5 hours — Project Assignment, Set Up, and Quality Assurance Volunteer Session
- 30 minutes — Wrap Up