Audiobooks Triumph Over Dyslexia: Part 2

Yesterday, we shared Roberta Witte’s story about how audiobooks helped her son overcome his Dyslexia. Today learn how they began her path to becoming an educator. Feel free to ask questions by comment.



Roberta Witte and son Chris

After witnessing her son’s progress and success, Roberta was inspired to help others who had similar learning disabilities as her son. She returned to school to earn her master’s degree in special education.

“My son’s victory is why I went back to school,” said Roberta. “I needed the credentials to support and teach others. I did not want to give up on these kids. They simply learn differently.”

And now many schools later in her son’s academic career, Roberta has returned to Sacred Heart School as a resource specialist to help other students facing the same reading, writing and spelling difficulties that Chris overcame. With her son’s experience, she brought knowledge of different methods of learning and audio support for readers.

Roberta obtained a grant to start a library at Sacred Heart School. The funds covered the cost of purchasing Recorded Books audiobooks for the library. In addition, she donated audiobooks from her son’s collection to the library to build a solid base for future purchases. When the school questioned the use of Recorded Books, her response was simply, “Trust me.”

Roberta develops Personal Learning Profiles for each student to find out the best way for them to learn. She incorporates Recorded Books’ audiobooks when necessary to motivate Sacred Heart students. She has even created a Personal Learning Profile for her son that he now shares with each professor at the beginning of each semester.

While she continues to build a better reading program at Sacred Heart School, Roberta is also in the process of working with her students who are English language learners needing support with reading comprehension skills. Through the use of Recorded Books audiobooks and visuals, she hopes to expand the student’s vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension.

“Using different angles toward learning builds not only reading and speaking skills, but it also builds the student’s confidence,” Roberta said. “I’m hoping to set up the best way for each student to learn and diminish any feelings of being different.”

Roberta has found the value in using a different curriculum for reluctant readers – and she has done so mainly through Recorded Books’ audiobooks.

“Audiobooks are perfect for kids who can’t keep up otherwise,” Roberta said. “You want to even the playing field for them, so using these products puts struggling readers at a leveled playing field with their classmates. It offers a way for them to bypass their weaknesses and tune into their strengths instead.”

Since not all do well with just audio support, Roberta also pairs it with visual support when necessary. “It all goes back to the Personal Learning Profiles I compile for each student,” Roberta adds. “So they’re being taught with the methods most conducive to their learning style.”

Since Roberta implemented her new reading programs she has noticed significant changes in student reaction and participation.

There are less academic issues and less complaints regarding student progress. With differentiated learning, students are able to keep up in class and find level ground within a classroom as a whole.

“Recorded Books audiobooks are a helpful tool for all students,” Roberta said. “The key is tweaking each student’s curriculum to fit his/her best learning practices. These kinds of products can turn concerns into successes.”

• The National Institute for Literacy says that 30-50% of the population has undiagnosed learning disabilities.
• A report to Congress from the US Department of Education said that 2.9 million school-age children ages 6-21 in the US (5% of all school-aged children in public schools) are classified as having specific learning disabilities and receive some kind of special education support.
• That same report said 27% of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school.
• And a Roper Starch Poll stated that 44% of parents who noticed their child exhibiting signs of difficulty with learning waited a year or more before acknowledging their child might have a serious problem.
• One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is probably the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
• Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
• Of people with poor reading skills, 70-80% are likely dyslexic.

Build skills and confidence with the Intervention Library Collections. These high-interest titles provide the extra support struggling readers need without sacrificing good books. Find a sample of titles below. Contact 1-800-638-1304 or visit for more information.

5th Grade
Blackwater by Eve Bunting
S.O.R Losers by Avi

6th Grade
The Maze by Will Hobbs
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

7th Grade
Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper
Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

8th Grade
Scorpions by Walter Dean Meyers
The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

9th Grade
The Dare by R.L. Stine
Driver’s Ed by Caroline B. Cooney

10th Grade
The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

11th and 12th Grades
Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan
The Lottery Rose by Irene Hunt


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