Accessible Educational Material (AEM)

Common Terms:

Audio Book: a print book that is read out loud by a human. Audible and Apple Books have many titles though generally no textbooks

Digital Text: any text that can be retrieved and read by a computer or other electronic device

E-Book: a digital version of a print publication

Text-To-Speech (TTS): a type of assistive technology utilizing artificial intelligence to create a human sounding voice (think siri) that reads digital text aloud. It’s sometimes called “read aloud” technology

Many students with print disabilities read print materials with Text To Speech (TTS). TTS interprets renderable text and uses an AI voice to read the text aloud. Word documents (doc, docx) are accessible. PDF documents may, or not be, accessible. A scan of a document, though saved as a PDF, is a picture of text rather than renderable text, and cannot be read using TTS. A PDF is generally accessible if text can be highlighted using a cursor (cut/copy to paste). A PDF is not accessible if a crosshair is visible and text cannot be cut/copied. If the PDF is searchable, using the find option; it is accessible.

Sources to rent/purchase Ebooks are VitalSource, RedShelf and in some cases, the LC bookstore. Books from VitalSource and Redshelf include TTS. Check the digital rights link at the LC bookstore to ensure read aloud is included . Kindle may have E-books but individual titles may not include TTS capability. Check Kindle product details to determine if TTS is included.

Contact with questions.

A great place to start to learn about how to make your course materials accessible is with National Center on Accessible Educational Materials