Helping Your Student with Dyslexia Learn: 5 Strategies to Rely On

Teacher Teaching Lesson To Elementary School Pupils

The time spent in education is a significant part of a child’s development. As a teacher, aiding the growth of a dyslexic learner is a wonderful opportunity. Nonetheless,it can be a challenging task, and it’s important to remember that what makes a dyslexic learner struggle is neither a lack of intelligence nor willfulness.

Dyslexic students have a learning difference.Their brain can’t hold information as efficiently as non-dyslexics, often making their learning a slow, difficult, and at times impossible process.

However,with the guidance of a caring tutor – well-equipped with tried and tested strategies – dyslexic students are capable of learning and becoming high-achievers.

Here are 5 strategies you can apply in your classroom:

1) Multisensory Learning

Multisensory activities help dyslexic children absorb and process information in a retainable manner and involve using senses like touch and movement alongside sight and hearing.

They are not only beneficial for dyslexic learners but also the rest of the class. Engaging in something different and hands-on excites students and heightens engagement.

Examples of multi sensory activities for the classroom include:

  • Writing words and sentences with tactile materials,e.g. glitter glue, sand, pasta, LEGO, or beads.
  • Physical activities to practice spelling, e.g.hopscotch or jump-rope – the children spell out words when they jump to each square or over the rope. Students work in pairs and take turns to dictate words and spell them.
  • Scavenger hunts for letters and words – split students into teams and give them a word. Next, write letters onto notes and hide them around the classroom.The teams must find the letters to construct the assigned word and then glue them together on a poster by cutting out the letters

2) Assistive technology and tools

Pocket spell checkers

The dyslexic learner types in a word how they think it’s spelled, often phonetically, and the spell checker will return a correctly-spelled match. This helps the child strengthen their confidence in both writing and spelling and commit correct spellings to memory.

Line Readers

Aline reader magnifies and highlights the portion of text over which it is placed. This helps dyslexic readers move through a book or worksheet and keep their place easier, especially if they experience ‘swimming’ words: the surrounding sea of text will be less distracting.

Coloured keyboard

Keyboards with coloured overlays and larger letters make typing more accessible to dyslexic students. Some come with multimedia hotkeys that enable the user to play, pause, stop, or rewind audio, which is useful as dyslexic learners often use text-to-speech software when reading and writing.

When purchasing assistive technology for a dyslexic student, consider acquiring several for other students to share. This will lessen feelings of isolation or difference the dyslexic child may feel and prevents other students from feeling envious.

Image of students learning at school

3) Helpful Arrangements

Use a cloze procedure.

Give the dyslexic student a sheet containing key information that you’ll be covering throughout the lesson and blank out key words. The student can then take notes just like others without the stress of trying to copy everything before it’swiped off the board. This helps them focus and commit key information to memory.

Give them plenty of time to complete homework.

If a piece of homework takes a day to complete, distribute it on a Friday so that the dyslexic child has the whole weekend to work on it.

You could also let their parents know what the homework schedule is for the month,so they can start looking at certain topics with their child at home in advance.

Mark based on effort and ideas.

Dyslexic learners may be less skilled than their peers at spelling and grammar. However,if their thought process and creativity shine through the errors and it’s clear they’ve made an effort, this should be praised.

Highlight any major spelling errors using a green pen – nothing screams “WRONG” more than a teacher’s demotivating red pen!

4) Educational Games

The great thing about games designed for dyslexic students is that any learner can benefit from them, so you can easily incorporate them into lessons for the whole class. Nothing will excite your students more than playing games!

There are hundreds of educational apps and games for dyslexic learners available. High Speed Training and Dyslexic.com have a selection of apps which are available. Some excellent places that provide digital or physical games for the classroom include:

  • Nessy.com – Nessy offers a range of PC games that help learners understand the sounds that make up words – an area where dyslexics particularly struggle. Their colourful, cartoony style is appealing and engaging to kids.
  • Dyslexiagames.com – The workbooks available here are full of puzzles, 3D drawings, and reading activities, tailored to dyslexic learners’ strength: visual thinking.
  • Simplex Spelling – If you have iPads in your classroom,the apps in the Simplex Spelling series are an excellent choice. They help build up students’ understanding of phonics and how words are constructed. The series placed 3rd in the 2012 Best App Ever Awards – Best Elementary Student App.

5) Working together with parents

Meet with dyslexic students’ parents regularly to discuss how their child is doing and the strategies you’ve applied in the classroom. The child’s parents can also update you on what methods they’ve been using at home and what’s been successful.

Thisis important because, ultimately, no two dyslexic children are alike and thereis no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. By sharing knowledge about ongoing progress, both you and the parents can work together to find learning methods thats uccessfully aid the dyslexic student’s learning.

Image of the Author: Liz Burton, High Speed Training

Author Bio: Liz Burton works as Content Author at High Speed Training, a UK based online learning provider that offer business-related training courses. Liz has authored many courses, including the Dyslexia Awareness course designed to provide learners with the knowledge needed to offer their support to dyslexic children.

What’s new in Clicker 7?

clicker-7

Clicker is a popular literacy support software which helps users of all ages and abilities to develop their reading and writing skills. This week, Dyslexic.com released Clicker 7 for sale online and we wanted to let you know what’s new in the latest version!

Using the Clicker Board, students can organise their ideas to help them prepare for writing. This tool allows them to manipulate and link any combination of words, pictures and sounds to get started on their writing. Users can now record voice notes on the software, enabling them to vocally rehearse their sentence before they write. They can hear this read back to them with the new children voices. Sentences and words are read back in a friendly, age appropriate voice that younger students can identify with, encouraging them to actively review and self-correct their work. Clicker 7 also features enhanced word prediction and an even bigger library of over 3500 curriculum pictures.

Clicker 7 supports teachers by making it even easier to customise activities for different ability levels in the classroom. It also gives instant access to the software’s training materials – this helps teachers to get started quickly and become a confident user in no time. With Word Pool, teachers can add in unusual words or names to Clicker’s knowledge base to ensure it is pronounced properly, suggested by the predictor and accepted by the spellchecker.

Clicker 7 offers more access support than ever before to enable every student to access the curriculum and achieve success. In the latest version, the software offers eye gaze support and SuperKeys – the unique access method for learners who need bigger target areas.

Clicker 7 is available to purchase from Dyslexic.com by following this link >> http://ian.lt/1ZbHKox

​Dyslexia Awareness Week: Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is an established learning and organisational tool. It allows users to create maps and diagrams and can be used in a variety of subject areas and a wide range of tasks, including brainstorming, note-taking, revision, illustrating concepts, problem solving and outlining of essays, projects and presentations.

Those with dyslexia can benefit from mind mapping software if they struggle to get their thoughts and ideas down in a structured way. It is also helpful software for those who prefer visual working as opposed to linear lists.

Mind mapping software can offer those with dyslexia greater confidence and independence, allowing them to map out their ideas and reducing the need for a helper.

What software is available?

There is a variety of mind mapping software that is suited for different people:

Inspiration is a powerful learning tool used to help with visual thinking and learning strategies. Those with dyslexia can use the software for visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, using text, symbols and pictures to represent their ideas. It allows them to brainstorm their ideas, structure their thoughts and visually communicate concepts. Inspiration features a built-in text-to-speech function, one-button transfer to a word processor, notes functions, templates, and various export features including export as .jpg, .png and more. Inspiration is available as a box copy or digital download, and for Windows and Mac. Find out more about Inspiration 9 and our inspiration 9 download by following this  link.

Inspiration also produce a version suited for young children

Kidspiration combines pictures, text, numbers and spoken words to develop vocabulary, word recognition, reading for comprehension, writing and critical thinking skills. It is available as a box copy and digital download, for Windows and Mac. To find out more about Kidspiration, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

MindView enhances an individual’s ability to visualise, organise and present information. It allows those with dyslexia to plan, organise and develop their ideas quickly. It features a simplified interface for easier navigation and is integrated with Dragon so students can dictate their ideas. MindView also has predictive text suggestions powered by Texthelp and a high contrast mode for those who experience visual stress. The software also features assistive technology templates which helps individuals structure their ideas in a logical way. MindView is available as a box copy for Windows and Mac. To find out more about MindView, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

MindGenius is mind mapping software that contains specific resources created by and with those in the education field. The software helps those with dyslexia to get their ideas down on paper and gain a clear understanding of what needs to be done and action it successfully. Mind maps can be exported to a variety of different formats including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Project. MindGenius is the only product to provide a ‘map explorer’ that enables the user to move quickly between high level and detailed views of information. It is available as a digital download for Windows. Find out more about MindGenius by following this link >> http://ian.lt/1OXD7Zd

MindMeister is an award-winning online mind mapping software that allows users to create mind maps at school, at home, at the office and even on the go. It is very simple and easy to use, so is suitable from KS1 up to business level. It allows dyslexic users to collaborate and brainstorm online, plan projects and develop business strategies, create presentations and utilise mind maps to aid learning. To find out more about MindMeister, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

Dyslexia Awareness Week: Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is an established learning and organisational tool. It allows users to create maps and diagrams and can be used in a variety of subject areas and a wide range of tasks, including brainstorming, note-taking, revision, illustrating concepts, problem solving and outlining of essays, projects and presentations.

Those with dyslexia can benefit from mind mapping software if they struggle to get their thoughts and ideas down in a structured way. It is also helpful software for those who prefer visual working as opposed to linear lists.

Mind mapping software can offer those with dyslexia greater confidence and independence, allowing them to map out their ideas and reducing the need for a helper.

What software is available?

There is a variety of mind mapping software that is suited for different people:

Inspiration is a powerful learning tool used to help with visual thinking and learning strategies. Those with dyslexia can use the software for visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, using text, symbols and pictures to represent their ideas. It allows them to brainstorm their ideas, structure their thoughts and visually communicate concepts. Inspiration features a built-in text-to-speech function, one-button transfer to a word processor, notes functions, templates, and various export features including export as .jpg, .png and more. Inspiration is available as a box copy or digital download, and for Windows and Mac. Find out more about Inspiration 9 and our inspiration 9 download by following this  link.

Inspiration also produce a version suited for young children

Kidspiration combines pictures, text, numbers and spoken words to develop vocabulary, word recognition, reading for comprehension, writing and critical thinking skills. It is available as a box copy and digital download, for Windows and Mac. To find out more about Kidspiration, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

MindView enhances an individual’s ability to visualise, organise and present information. It allows those with dyslexia to plan, organise and develop their ideas quickly. It features a simplified interface for easier navigation and is integrated with Dragon so students can dictate their ideas. MindView also has predictive text suggestions powered by Texthelp and a high contrast mode for those who experience visual stress. The software also features assistive technology templates which helps individuals structure their ideas in a logical way. MindView is available as a box copy for Windows and Mac. To find out more about MindView, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

MindGenius is mind mapping software that contains specific resources created by and with those in the education field. The software helps those with dyslexia to get their ideas down on paper and gain a clear understanding of what needs to be done and action it successfully. Mind maps can be exported to a variety of different formats including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Project. MindGenius is the only product to provide a ‘map explorer’ that enables the user to move quickly between high level and detailed views of information. It is available as a digital download for Windows. Find out more about MindGenius by following this link >> http://ian.lt/1OXD7Zd

MindMeister is an award-winning online mind mapping software that allows users to create mind maps at school, at home, at the office and even on the go. It is very simple and easy to use, so is suitable from KS1 up to business level. It allows dyslexic users to collaborate and brainstorm online, plan projects and develop business strategies, create presentations and utilise mind maps to aid learning. To find out more about MindMeister, please call us on +44 (0) 1223 420101.

ABBYY FineReader Answers the Call to Help Students with Learning Challenges

Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (CALL) Scotland is a unit within the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. It specialises in providing assistive technologies to Scottish students who have physical, communication or sensory difficulties and have trouble accessing standard curriculum materials.

Challenge

More than 5% of pupils in Scotland need help in accessing the curriculum. the Scottish Government asked the CALL team to investigate how many pupils require books in more accessible formats, which formats were needed and where improvements could be made by using technology. the type of technology was not limited but any solution would need to be cost-effective and work on a large scale to meet the range of support required. out of this research a report was published titled ‘Books for All’.

The ‘Books for All’ project found that the needs of thousands of pupils in Scotland with sight impairments and those with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, or hearing impairment, were not being sufficiently addressed. these pupils often require digital versions that can be read out by a computer or other multimedia resources and ‘Books for All’ found these to be in short supply. To enable a computer to read text aloud it is necessary to scan the book, or other source material, into digital format and then convert the image to editable text. From this intermediate file, the ‘Books for All’ team can produce a variety of accessible formats. However, because the information in these source materials is ‘trapped’ in a format that does not allow for easy editing and reuse – in most cases as paper documents – the team determined they would need an optical character recognition (OCR) software program to read and convert the text within the scans before they could create further materials for students.

abbyy-case-study


Solution

The ‘Books for All’ team chose ABBYY FineReader Professional Edition as a best-fit solution for their document conversion needs. ABBYY Finereader is a leading OCR software for converting scanned documents, PDFs and camera images into searchable and editable formats, including Microsoft® word and Excel®. Its advanced recognition capabilities provide full access to information locked on paper and images and virtually eliminates time-consuming retyping and reformatting. ABBYY’s exclusive technology ADRT® (Adaptive Document recognition technology) ensures accurate results not only when recognising single pages of text, but also in multipage documents. It re-creates a document’s logical structure, producing documents with precisely reproduced formatting attributes that will appear as native elements in a Microsoft word document: tables of contents, hierarchical headings, headers and footers, footnotes, page numbers, and font styles.

“We picked ABBYY FineReader for its ability to output in multiple formats and cost effectiveness – both key considerations to making the ‘Books for All’ project a success, helping students with differing disabilities communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (CALL) Scotland is a unit within the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. It specialises in providing assistive technologies to Scottish students who have physical, communication or sensory difficulties and have trouble accessing standard curriculum materials have access to various curriculum material” states Paul Nisbet, Senior research Fellow at CALL Scotland.

CALL Scotland run training courses for staff and faculty members of schools throughout Scotland on how to create accessible books by using ABBYY FineReader software on their laptops. Staff members are walked through the use of FineReader, how to convert scanned curriculum material into editable Microsoft Word documents and how to convert these documents into the formats required for student needs. They now produce the widest range of accessible curriculum materials from sources including reading books, textbooks, exercise worksheets and assessments. the results of this work are Large Print, Adapted Print, Braille, and audio books as well as various accessible digital formats such as Daisy, PDF, word and eBook formats.


Results

One example of the impact the ‘Books for All’ approach has had on the lives of Scottish students are digital versions of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam papers. Previously, a staff member would read the questions aloud to the pupil and then would write down the student’s answers. Now pupils with visual impairment or dyslexia can use text-to-speech to listen to the digital version of the exams, or zoom in on questions in order to more easily read them and those with physical disabilities can work independently to type their answers. The benefits gained from this program have been numerous. Students are more confident, independent and motivated when using digital exam papers. The number of employees required to staff an examination and the associated costs have been greatly reduced. The number of pupils now taking advantage of the Digital Exam papers has doubled year on year since they were first introduced, and in 2010 there were 1,962 requests to SQA for digital papers. CALL Scotland is now trying to raise awareness of the use of accessible books and resources so that pupils throughout Scotland can take advantage of this work. The team are working on a means for sharing existing assistive tools with teachers and students in different schools. The Scottish Government is currently funding work with Learning and teaching Scotland, a non-departmental public body that supports the development of the Scottish curriculum, to expand the ‘Books for All’ database.

CapturaTalk Junior launched on the App Store

capturatalk-junior-app-icon-itunesartwork-2xiansyst are excited to announce the launch of CapturaTalk Junior, an app designed for students who require literacy support through KS1-KS4. The app is available to download on the App Store for iOS devices.

CapturaTalk Junior helps students with reading printed text and integrates the powerful ABBYY OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature. Students are able to take a picture of text and convert it to digital text, ready to have it read aloud and then the option to edit it further. For example, the app includes its own integrated text editor with text-to-speech, assisting students with the sound of letters and words and supporting reading and comprehension. Other features include custom ‘phrase banks’ for students to create and store words and sentences, an integrated dictionary with homophone support and a range of user interface options including screen tint overlays, the ability to easy change the size of font and to choose a dyslexia friendly font.

Download CapturaTalk Junior on the App Store today.

Kent College Dyslexia Department use MindGenius to Support Students with Course Work and Literacy

Kent College in Tonbridge, Kent installed a MindGenius site licence in September 2004 which gave access to their 2,300 full-time and 12,000 part-time students on all of their 1,500+ PCs and laptops.

Former dyslexia tutor Chris Sellers, herself a dyslexic, persuaded the college to purchase a site licence after researching suitable electronic mind mapping software solutions.

MindGenius is used across campus by students, tutors and lecturers and the Dyslexia Department are applying MindGenius to support students with dyslexia for course work, literacy and developing strategies to cope with specific dyslexic difficulties.

mindgenius

Nicky Williams, is a Tutor in the Dyslexia Department and uses MindGenius on a one-to-one level with her students. She delivers courses on dyslexia with maths being her speciality. She herself has dyslexia and says she is “evangelical” about MindGenius. Nicky’s students have really bought into the software:

“It can be hard for some students with dyslexia to start using something different like MindGenius because it takes a lot of energy to change their developed learning patterns. However, the more the software is used the more opportunities can be discovered. ”

Nicky believes that MindGenius is dyslexia friendly – everyone can disseminate information and the act of building a map is a very positive experience.

Students use it to classify information, sort out what to include in essays and presentations, explain thought patterns, organisation, sequencing, forming a logical argument, and grouping facts.

Although it can be difficult at first for some, if they can talk about building their map this can help to internalise the main structure of what they’re trying to do and they can take ownership of their ideas.

MindGenius is ideal for those with dyslexia as it means they can go back to the map, change their mind and easily move misplaced branches and check their spelling. Nicky had tried hand-drawn mind mapping techniques previously but students would become frustrated when mistakes were made, or more information had to be added and the map had to be re-created from scratch.

Another feature that is commonly used by students in the Dyslexia department, and across campus, is the export to PowerPoint. The trigger words created in the map for the presentation help to reinforce learning of the relevant facts. She shows her students how it works – then “presses the button” for the export to PowerPoint and watches their reaction! This simplifies the process of creating presentations and helps the students to focus on the content of the presentation before they move on to making it visually attractive.

Nicky herself now uses MindGenius for everything from brainstorming to planning and revision. She has also used it to develop ideas for a conference, planning potentially difficult situations, developing coherent arguments, planning student essays and lesson plans.

Nicky believes MindGenius is an excellent tool for developing lesson plans as she tends to include too much into them. Working with MindGenius allows her to get a picture in her mind of all her thoughts then ‘dump’ them into a map, where they can be refined, sorted and organised. Once the map has been developed, Nicky is able to achieve a clearer picture of how tasks will fit into the allotted time.

MindGenius can be purchased on Dyslexic.com as a Digital Download for PC. Follow this link >> http://ian.lt/16Fea1t

​MindGenius: Data visualisation drives improved business processes

MindGenius Ltd announce the release of Version 6 of its leading business mind mapping software.

In a continued drive to utilize the power of data visualisation techniques in business processes, Version 6 focuses on enhancements to the project management, brainstorming, communication and personal productivity capabilities of the application.

mindgenius-6-image

Those who manage tasks and projects will benefit from new cost and quantity calculations, the ability to customise the Gantt chart and additional project resourcing capabilities. Seamless integration with a range of cloud storage providers will allow users to save and open files in Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive directly from MindGenius and using the new Word Cloud will enable users to quickly gauge the emerging themes during brainstorming, requirements gathering and other group sessions.

Mapping information allows us to gather and make sense of large amounts and sometimes complex data. MindGenius is the only product to provide a ‘map explorer’ that enables the user to move quickly between high level and detailed views of your information. Version 6 introduces a new ‘pan’ mode to the map explorer that was first introduced in the MindGenius iPad app and found to be of great value on the device.

In addition to a strong set of new features, Version 6 has a completely new look and feel. Based on the latest Microsoft Office 2013 ribbon styling the new interface is less intrusive and makes the map and its’ content stand out during presentations. New branch styles and in-place editing, that replaces the ‘Add Branch’ dialog, make the data capture and map building process much simpler and clearer while projecting and capturing information live.

The uniqueness of MindGenius’ business focus from inception together with over 10 years of further development since first launch makes it the most refined daily use Mind Mapping Software available. Users are able to gather data, ideas and requirements more effectively, visualise information and get insights that allow them to be more organised, plan better projects, make quicker decisions and ultimately improve their productivity.

A cloud version of MindGenius is currently being developed. It will be compatible with and complimentary to Version 6 desktop and will provide remote multi-user collaboration features.

MindGenius Education 6 is available to purchase from Dyslexic.com here.

Should spelling be made simpler?

should-spelling-be-made-simplerA new initiative aims to make the traditional English spelling system easier.

For any child, learning to spell can be a daunting task – and even more so for pupils with learning difficulties like dyslexia. That’s why a new initiative proposed by the English Spelling Society (ESS) sets out to make it easier to learn to spell.

At a recent conference, the ESS spoke about plans to host the first International Spelling Congress later this year, where delegates will be able to vote on the revised English spelling system.

The idea behind the new move was sparked after a study published last year revealed that 40 per cent of people in the UK rely on the autocorrect function on their computers and smartphones to monitor their spelling.

Working alongside the American Literacy Council, the ESS’s proposed spelling system would make words with silent letters, like those in ‘knee’ and ‘dumb’, a thing of the past.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Stephen Linstead – chairman of the ESS – said: “The intention is that the preferred new system should run alongside traditional spelling as an informal alternative and, if it gains sufficient support among English speakers, would eventually replace it.”

It is thought that changing the way certain difficult words are spelt will enable children to learn to read quickly.

The new initiative is sure to cause some objections, with many parents in favour of the traditional English spelling system that stands today.
However, parents of children with dyslexia may be concerned about the difficulty of certain words in the current system. In this case, a number of supportive teaching methods – such as assistive technologies – are available. These are specially designed to make reading and spelling a fun, easy process through a series of educational games and activities.

(Credit image: Thinkstock/iStock)