|1. What exactly
2. Do you have to have special needs in order
to subscribe to SLICE™?
3. What can be done if a student needs help
reading, but doesn't qualify for SLICE™?
4. Will SLICE™ and APEL™ help with
5. Is SLICE™ research based?
6. What is Story Spinner?
7. How is Story Spinner different from SLICE™?
8. What about copyright laws?
9. What kind of computer do I need?
10. Do I need special software?
What exactly is SLICE™?
an acronym for “Special
through Computers in Education”.
SLICE is an educational system that uses computer technology
to promote and support full classroom inclusion of students
who struggle with reading. Digitized versions of academic
textbooks, culturally significant novels and a range of other
reading material are available to students from an online
library. They "check out" the book they need, see
the text on the computer screen and can listen to it being
read aloud by the computer through personal headphones. A
tracking system automatically records the date, duration and
selection they read and printable reports are available to
students, parents and teachers.
you have to have special needs in order to subscribe to SLICE™?
Yes. All SLICE™ Subscribers
must qualify as print disabled since the material available
through SLICE™ is restricted by copyright and can only be made
available to individuals whose disabilities require that they
have access to written text in an altered format. Most SLICE™
subscribers are individuals with learning disabilities, dyslexia,
visual impairments or physical impairments that prevent them
from holding a book. Individuals who struggle with reading
but do not qualify under the law can subscribe to the APEL
library of public domain literature and take advantage of
the same technology and tracking system.
What can be done if a student needs help reading, but doesn't
qualify for SLICE™?
The APEL™ Reading
Program is designed for "GAP" students who struggle
with reading and need extra practice, but do not qualify for
special education services in school. The APEL™ Reading Program
relies on the same technology, tracking system and access.
However, APEL™ makes use of public domain material that is
not currently restricted by copyright law.
Will SLICE™ or APEL™ help reading skills?
to demonstrate that students who consistently read textbooks
or novels using the SLICE™/APEL™ systems show improved reading
skills, specifically in comprehension, vocabulary, word attack
and fluency as measured by standardized tests. A formal evaluation
of the SLICE™ Program in terms of reading achievement conducted
by the Center for Research in Educational Policy in 2003 concluded
that, “SLICE™ students had significantly higher gain
scores than did Control students”. Beyond that, the
data indicates that students are more participatory in class
and experience improved academic performance and self esteem.
- "Do Screen Readers Help Young Students Who Have Learning
- Special Learners Included Through Computers in Education
(SLICE™) - Evaluation Report - (pdf)
- Summary of Qualitative Evaluation-South Dakota Middle
School - (pdf)
5. Is SLICE™ research based?
Yes. The SLICE™
method is based on research reported in the 70’s and
80’s of successful methods for teaching reading that
employed a sight/sound match. Since 1996, data gathered from
our field testing sites where SLICE™ supported special education
students using regular textbooks in the regular classroom
has consistently indicated positive outcomes in terms of the
students' reading skills, academic performance, and self esteem.
Standardized tests, such as the Woodcock Johnson-R and Stanford
9, and qualitative data drawn from interviews, surveys and
observations have been used not only to evaluate the effectiveness
of SLICE™, but to direct its ongoing development. A formal
evaluation of the SLICE™ Program, conducted by the Center for
Research in Educational Policy, University of Memphis, was
published in January, 2003. Further investigations are currently
What is Story Spinner?
are collections of carefully selected books that individuals
can read with the help of audio files loaded on mp3 players.
Our Native American
and Classic collections provide culturally significant literature
to individuals ages 8 and up. The RI collections are designed
as a Response to Intervention for struggling readers. This
unique multi-sensory approach - printed text along with audio
input - makes a fun way for teachers to introduce and reinforce
core reading objectives and is the perfect complement to any
Story Spinners can
be purchased as an individual pack and in classroom sets.
Some collections are available ONLY to individuals with print
For more information on Story Spinners
How is Story Spinner different from SLICE™?
Story Spinner differs from SLICE™ because it provides a reading curriculum
specially prepared for elementary age students who struggle
with reading. SLICE™, in contrast, provides access to
the general school curriculum via the internet for middle
and high school students who have identified reading disabilities.
What about copyright laws?
Publishers are protected from piracy
under the copyright law and any reproduction of copyrighted
material in order to defraud the publisher of potential profit
is illegal. In 1996 the federal government passed the Chaffee
Amendment to the copyright law. The new law allows controlled
distribution of copyrighted material to students whose disabilities
qualify them to have alternative access to print material.
APEL has partnered with BRITE Horizons
Library to protect you and your school from possible copyright
violation, while still allowing your staff to track student
activity. BRITE Horizons qualifies as a Chafee Depository
under the federal copyright law.
What kind of computer do I need?
Any computer with
sound (headphones plug in) and access to the internet is capable
of providing the SLICE™, APEL™ or Story Spinner programs to students.
Will I need special software?
Yes. Special software that allows
the computer to convert text to speech on demand must be loaded
onto the computer. A wide range of free and commercial software
is available. APEL technicians constantly review the market
to find the best and most economical option to support our
students. We currently suggest the CAST eReader™ or
the ReadPlease ReadingBar 2™ for students with reading