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Technologies to Improve Literacy

Problem: Student has difficulty following the lines of text, perceiving that the words jump or move on a page of standard black-on-white print. Solution: Use colored transparent sheets or bar magnifiers.

  • Color Overlays. Often persons with visual-processing difficulties complain text “jumps or moves” on the page. Sometimes a color filter can prevent or lessen this distortion and discomfort by “calming” the page. The color of the overlay is an individual preference. Example overlays can be found on the Cerium Vision Technologies Web site at www.ceriumvistech.co.uk.

  • Bar Magnifiers. These 6- to 9-inch bars feature a yellow line down the center. A bar magnifier

    • (e.

      g., BUGZ-EYE® Slider, BUGZ-EYE® Mega Slider, and BUGZ-EYE® Micro Slider) can be run down the text one line at a time to magnify and highlight lines of text. This is very helpful for readers who tend to read words in different lines.

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Problem: Student has difficulty decoding some text, understanding more complex words, and skimming text for important information to study. Solution: Use reading pens, portable spell checkers, and highlighters.

  • Reading Pens. These are most helpful to readers who can decode most text but need help with limited words. A reading pen (e.g., Quicktionary Reading Pen) is designed so users run the scanning pen over a word and the punctuation, and a definition is read aloud. Good fine-motor control is required since the user must run the pen tip over the desired word.

  • Portable Spell Checkers. These are good for readers who can decode most text but need help with limited words. A user can enter a word into a portable spell checker or dictionary

    • (e.

      g., Franklin Speaking Homework Wiz® and the American Heritage Talking Dictionary) to obtain a spelling or definition.

  • Highlighters. These low-tech tools can help readers differentiate important from unimportant text. Using a system of various colors for different types of information can help cue users to where to look for text to review. For example, use yellow for topic sentences, blue for new vocabulary, pink for dates, and green for supporting sentences.

The assistive technologies discussed above help compensate for reading problems. There are also numerous software applications and other programs that work on increasing reading skills. Deciding when to use compensation strategies as opposed to remediation techniques is up to the individual and the “team,” depending on the age of the user. Some software programs designed to teach reading include Phonics Talking Learning System (Model 2600), StudyWiz™ and Leaps and Bounds 2. ,

Technologies for Writing Problems

Individuals with written-language problems may have difficulty with one or more of its aspects, such as spelling, proper use of grammar and syntax, organizational skills, punctuation, and initiating writing. Assistive technologies can help with the physical act of putting words onto paper as well as written expression.

Learning Point Associates

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