Popular Software Solutions for Primary and Secondary Schools
It can be a very difficult and time-consuming process trying to decide which software programs are suitable for use by pupils with dyslexia in the classroom. Therefore, we have highlighted some of the popular choices and also those that we have found work well with pupils with dyslexia.
For more information on teachers’ resources, such as the Lucid assessment packages, have a look at our assessment and teaching resources category.
Computers provide multi-sensory support for developing spelling skills: Wordshark reinforces spelling rules through fun games, while the Nessy Learning Programme consists of a complete teaching scheme including worksheets, puzzles and activities for developing reading and spelling skills.
Computerised speech can be used to develop reading skills: AcceleRead AcceleWrite is a teaching programme which uses speech feedback to accelerate reading development; talking stories such as the Spinout series can get poor readers reading the same information as their peers.
Multi-sensory software packages can help develop specific areas of reading, such as Clicker Phonics: Clicker Phonics work on the visual and auditory processing skills involved with reading, whereas RocketReader improves reading speed and develop strageies for scan reading.
Numeracy and Maths
Research shows that many children with dyslexia struggle with their numeracy skills. Numbershark is a highly recommended computer-based program that allows the pupils to develop their maths skills through a number of different games. It has teacher settings which enable the teacher to set the level that the student is working at and monitor their progress.
Alternatively, have a look at LifeSkills: Time and Money for an interactive program that will encourage your students to apply numeracy concepts to real-life situations. Audio recordings on this program make it especially useful for students with poor reading skills.
Many dyslexic children require writing support whilst in the classroom. EB Wordbanks and Clicker 6 are simple and easy-to-use grids that sit at the bottom of the computer screen. Subject-specific grids can either be downloaded or created from new and work well with a variety of applications, including concept-mapping programs.
Inspiration and Kidspiration are an excellent way for children to get started on a piece of work by brainstorming and building on their ideas. They are ideal for use across the curriculum and are also a fantastic teaching tool to be used on interactive whiteboards.
If you are looking for a program to help with all aspects of writing skills then you should look at SOLO from Don Johnston. It is a writing support suite that includes Co:Writer, Write:Outloud, Draft:Builder and Read:Outloud. The suite also includes a teacher’s area where you can set preferences for individual students and monitor their progress.
Written by Abi James, September 2005