Assistive Technology Tools that Facilitate Reading and Writing Skills

Handouts Media

Presented at 2:15pm in Virtual Room 1 on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.



  • Nanci Shepardson, Senior Educational Technologist, Wilson Language Training

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 2-hr
  • Format: Bring-your-own Device Workshop: Laptops, tablets, and or phones
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Text to Speech, Speech to Text, and Word Prediction are powerful tools that facilitate the writing and reading process. Discover how to activate these tools and teach your students how to leverage them to facilitate work completion.


Writing is the perfect storm for many students. It is the academic task that demands multiple skill sets from students. Specifically, writing asks students to generate ideas, weed through relevant information, prioritize its importance, organize ideas, possibly gather more data, and then group data/ideas, all while thinking about spelling, punctuation, word choice, sentence structure and sentence variety, grammar, usage, and transitions. And they need to do this all while thinking about time! Reading skills also present as a challenge for many students, especially at the secondary and higher education levels. Text to Speech, Speech to Text, and Word Prediction are three easily accessible tools that lighten the cognitive load for our students in both of these academic areas. This session defines each tool, reviews the research on its efficacy and then gives instruction and/or resources on how to activate these tools on multiple platforms; both on individual devices as well as using outside providers. Outside vendors such as Don Johnston’s Snape & Read and Co-Writer as well as Texthelp’s tools such as Read & Write as well as the C-Pen and audio book options such as Bookshare, Learning Ally, and Overdrive will be demonstrated.


  1. Learn the term Text to Speech (TTS) and how to activate this tool on your devices.
  2. Learn the term Speech to Text (STT) and how to activate this tool on your devices.
  3. Learn the term Word Prediction (WP) and how to activate this tool on your devices.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Assistive Technology, Captioning/Transcription, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Nanci Shepardson

Nanci Shepardson is a Reading and Educational Specialist. She graduated from Wheelock College in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in Preschool/Kindergarten Curriculum and Infant/ Toddler Development. In 2010, she graduated from Simmons University with an M.S.Ed. in Language and Literacy and an Ed.S. in Assistive Technology.

She is a seasoned teacher, a credentialed K-12 Reading Specialist, and an International Dyslexia Association and Wilson Reading System Dyslexia Practitioner (WRS Level 1 Certified). Nanci has taught preschool, kindergarten, second grade, and fourth grade, was a Reading and Educational Specialist for grades 7 through postgraduate and has tutored all ages. She consults for the International Dyslexia Association, is a published author, an advocate for students with disabilities and their families, and is also a professional speaker on Dyslexia, language-based disabilities, and assistive technology throughout the country. Prior to joining Wilson Language Training, she was the Head of Learning Resources at The Chapin School in Manhattan.

As the Senior Educational Technologist at Wilson Language Training, she works in the Program Development Department. In her role, she works with the Wilson Reading System (WRS) Team and the Technology Team to create traditional and digital tools that will augment the current WRS curriculum and materials. She stays abreast of the current technological trends and serves as a resource for parents, teachers, and schools on Assistive Technology. Equity and access for all, especially regarding access to research-based reading instruction and assistive technology services, are at the forefront of the work she does. Nanci is also a parent of a grown child with Dyslexia.