Lectio is an assistive technology designed for individuals with a language-related learning disability. Specifically, Lectio is a spot reader for students who have moved from learning to read to reading to learn.
Lectio is now available on itunes App store for a one-time purchase price of $4.99 retail and $2.99 with an educational discount (VPP program).
Download it now:
How to Use Lectio
- Launch the app on your i-device (ipod, iphone or ipad).
- Take a picture (portrait only) of the text you want to read.
- All words recognized by the database become yellow buttons.
- Tap the yellow button to have the word read aloud.
- Hold the yellow button to see a definition of the word.
Hints for a successful user experience
Avoid Multiple Background Colors
Avoid Spine and Lay Flat
Avoid Words On Colored Backgrounds
Benefits of Lectio
- Portable and discreet
- Independent of the internet—no connection needed!
- Affordable and does not require maintenance of expensive equipment
- Portable, moving from classroom to classroom or classroom to home with the student
- Effortless—no scanning or preloading documents into a program
- Designed to promote independent reading
Lectio is NOT:
- A replacement for one-on-one interventions in the classroom or at home. Lectio is another tool in the toolbox but not a fix-all solution. It is designed to complement other learning support strategies.
- Intended for use by younger children who are still learning to read. Lectio is primarily designed for students who have moved beyond learning to read and are now reading to learn.
Who will benefit the most from Lectio?
- Student and adults with language-related learning disabilities like dyslexia;
- Individuals who are new to the English language;
- Young readers who enjoy advanced material but do not always know all of the words;
- Individuals with low vision;
- Participants of adult literacy programs; and,
- Individuals with other impairments that compromise reading or processing
Lectio is designed to encourage independent reading and fluency. Think of your student studying at home, reading a textbook during homework time. No more, “Mom, what’s this word?”
Story of the Startup
Have you ever heard the expression “necessity is the mother of all invention?” It is true. Lectio was created by the mother of a child with dyslexia after she was unable to find an assistive technology to meet her son’s needs.
Assistive technology can provide a cost-effective solution, keep the student in the classroom and make it easier for individuals with disabilities to navigate the world. While text to speech and other assistive technologies currently exist in the marketplace, most were designed to meet the needs of adults who are blind or visually impaired.
Meanwhile, an estimated 1 in 5 students is believed to have dyslexia or another language-related learning disability. Yet, no assistive technology exists specifically to meet their needs as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
Many assistive technology solutions exist that provide dictation and reading after scanning documents in to a stationary computer. But no solution exists in the market that allows students—or even adults who struggle with language-related disabilities—to use their mobile device to discreetly self-select text and have it read aloud. Most of the existing technology falls short of meeting the needs of today’s students in the classroom.
Generally speaking, existing technology:
- Requires stationary PC: this does not allow a student to move from classroom to classroom with his/her peers and requires sitting at a PC station in the classroom.
- Is cumbersome and time-consuming: even the easiest solutions, such as the Intel Reader® or the well-known Kurzweil 3000 require several steps that the student often needs help with and processing times (text to speech, etc.) are much slower than the typical classroom pace.
- Was developed for adults who are blind or visually impaired: this technology does not adapt well to text presented in non-traditional forms like worksheets and text books with callout boxes and graphics.
- Cannot select a single word and read it aloud: current solutions do not allow the student to use the extensive repertoire of rules, cues and clues to read as much as they can on their own while providing help only when needed.
Co-Founder and CEO Kris Parmelee’s middle son was diagnosed with dyslexia at the end of his first grade year in school. In the years that followed, she tried many techniques and therapies, worked with committed teachers and joined support groups in an effort to cope with young Sam’s dyslexia. While Sam has made great strides, Parmelee still noticed a significant gap in assistive technology designed to meet her son’s needs in the classroom or while doing homework. “Why couldn’t someone or something just help him read that one word on a worksheet or in a text that he couldn’t read himself?” That is what started the idea of Lectio. While the application will appeal to a much wider audience than just students with dyslexia and language-related learning disabilities, Parmelee’s primary focus is to get the application in to the hands of students, in the classrooms of schools and in the homes of families who have searched for solutions to help their struggling children.
In addition to her efforts as CEO and co-Founder of Lectio, Parmelee is President of Parmelee Consulting Group, founded in 2000. She is a seasoned fund raising consultant working primarily with research institutions to bring innovative technologies to the market. She served her community in a variety of capacities as a volunteer, including as a board member at the Speak Easy and leading a community-based garden project in her childrens’ school district. She is the mother of three boys (including Sam, the inspiration for Lectio) and is married to a member of the local law enforcement agency.
Mark LaFay is also a co-Founder of Lectio. Mark is a consummate entrepreneur, creating several small businesses that have taken him and his products around the world. He has worked in the music industry, is a minority owner and board member in Social Net Watcher (a tech company helping parents and schools combat bullying) and is an author of several “For Dummies” books (Wiley Publishing). His current efforts focus on Roust, a start up offering a social network for people interested in discussing real topics. Mark is husband to Carrie and father to Harvey, the coolest baby ever.