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ClassMate Reader - Portable reading system supports K-12 students with reading difficulties
Date:10/17/2007

LONGUEUIL, QC, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ - HumanWare is proud to introduce a revolutionary device for students with reading difficulties for grades K-12. The ClassMate Reader is a tool to help students in and out of the classroom improve reading comprehension, increase reading speed and develop strong vocabulary. This tool is indispensable for students who need to refer back to previously recorded notes, tests or chapter summaries, as well as for anytime, anywhere learning.

The ClassMate Reader is a unique, portable and lightweight system about the size of a portable gaming system with a large LCD screen. Students can listen to the audio version of their textbooks and study materials, while following the highlighted text on screen. This portable system is ideal for students in any learning setting, including the classroom, resource room, library, extended learning programs and at home. The system promotes phonetic recognition and fluency and will significantly boost the support of teachers who work with students who are dyslexic.

The ClassMate Reader has several features only found on more expansive PC-based software solutions such as text-to-speech, highlighting, dictionary, text and vocal notes and audio book navigation. It can be part of the teacher's strategy to build students' independence in the learning process and enhance their confidence and self esteem. The system's design was carefully crafted to engage students and dispel the notion that assistive devices are unappealing.

Scientific studies have demonstrated the advantages of a multi-modal based reading approach (audio and visual) for dyslexic students. With the simultaneous use of text and audio, students will improve their reading comprehension which is conducive to improve academic achievement and higher test scores. The ClassMate Reader can be used as an accommodation when administering tests, eliminating the necessity for the teacher to read the exam to students.

The ClassMate's study features are built to assist in retrieving information through the use of text notes, highlighting, bookmarks and voice notes. The ClassMate Reader can play various electronic book formats starting with the new NIMAS (National Instructional Material Accessible Standard) format, including DAISY, Bookshare.org, Audible.com, text, wav, MP3 and audio files. The player also provides integrated text-to-speech for reading books in text format, such as those from Bookshare.org. It uses a removable SD flash memory card or USB memory stick to store books and electronic texts. It can easily transfer files from a PC with its standard USB connection.

Brenda McBride, Product Manager for HumanWare said, "We developed the ClassMate Reader from input of students with learning disabilities and their supportive networks around the country. Taking their needs into account, we better understood the features and tools they require to be successful readers and lifelong learners. I am especially excited about our built-in dictionary to help students instantly look up words with vocal output."

The ClassMate offers all of the most advanced DAISY functions, as well as navigation capabilities for any book or textbook. Students will appreciate the ClassMate Reader for quickly and effectively consulting their school books, making voice notes, study and practice and recording their teacher during class.

The ClassMate will be available for purchase online in the U.S. at http://www.humanware.com or from Don Johnston Incorporated at http://www.donjohnston.com (800-999-4660) in late autumn 2007 at an affordable price of $439. In early 2008, The ClassMate Reader will become available in other countries around the world.

About HumanWare

HumanWare (http://www.humanware.com) is the global leader in assistive technologies for the print disabled. HumanWare provides products to people who are blind and have low vision and students with learning disabilities. HumanWare offers a collection of innovative products include BrailleNote, the leading productivity device for the blind in education, business and for personal use; the Victor Reader product line, the world's leading digital audiobook players, and SmartView Xtend, the first fully modular and upgradeable CCTV-based video magnifier.

About Don Johnston Incorporated

Don Johnston Incorporated (http://www.donjohnston.com) empowers educators with supplemental instruction and intervention solutions to help struggling learners build core literacy skills with confidence. Since 1980, Don Johnston has partnered with literacy authors, psychologists, teachers, researchers, administrators, scientists and organizations to serve the needs of struggling learners. Thousands of students have now become independent readers, writers and thinkers with the use of Don Johnston's assistive technologies and tools, implementation materials and a variety of multiple instructional approaches, including audio and computer books to engage and motivate struggling readers.


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