Free and Low-Cost Reading Tools for the Common Man

Bios & Handouts

Scheduled at 8:00am in WB III on Wednesday, November 16 (2016).



  • Susan Kelmer, Alternate Format Access Coordinator, University of Colorado Boulder

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format:
  • Expertise Level: Not provided
  • Type of session: General Conference


You don’t need a reading disability to benefit from text-to-speech or other helpful tools that work with technology we already use. Beyond Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, what other tools exist that may help you get through reading materials more quickly and with less distraction?


Studies have shown that many tools used to accommodate students with disabilities in the classroom and when doing schoolwork can also be beneficial to those without a disability. Removing distractions, increasing reading speed, using text-to-speech, and other methods may help that student who is not quite qualified to receive accommodations. These methods may also help you get through the mountain of reading materials you encounter every day, from web pages to PDF documents to emails to white papers. This session will cover a variety of free or low-cost solutions that anyone can use.


  1. Everyone can benefit from reading tools in their daily lives.
  2. Software and apps don't have to be expensive to have value.
  3. Students who don't quite qualify for accommodations may find these tools helpful, too.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Vision

Topic Areas

Alternate Format, Assistive Technology

Speaker Bio(s)

Susan Kelmer

Susan Kelmer is the Alternate Format Access Coordinator for Disability Services at the University of Colorado Boulder. She has worked for more than fifteen years to assist students with print disabilities in accessing print materials of all kinds. She has presented multiple sessions at the Accessing Higher Ground Conference and the COLTT conference over the last 12 years. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Access Technologists Higher Education Subcommittee (ATHES) of the Colorado-Wyoming Consortium of Support Programs for Students with Disabilities, and is currently an active member and past secretary of the Access Technologists Higher Education Network (ATHEN).