How does dyslexia manifest?
Some common markers include Dysfluent reading (even with all sounds intact). Slower at spelling/writing tasks, putting thoughts on paper and taking down information from the board. Issues with Oral language skills include - using lots of fillers - um, eh, er and words like ‘thing,’ ‘it’ when trying to communicate thoughts or completing tasks.
This joint article by Holly Murray and Sarah Gibbons will outline tools available on Google and Microsoft to support your students with dyslexia.
By Holly Murray
Helperbird Chrome Extension-Immersive reader
This is a free add-on for your Google Docs with a few amazing features. Helperbird will allow the user to change the colour of the background of their document which automatically will add more accessibility to their content. It will read the text on the screen back to the user and it will shade out the background to avoid visual crowding which is so beneficial to the students who really need it.
A person with dyslexia can often skip lines when they are reading so this adds extra stress as what they are reading no longer makes sense. Helperbird is excellent for teaching literacy as it will highlight all the nouns, vowels etc.
This software is free to use, therefore all students should have access to this whether it is in a Google Doc or in a Microsoft Word Document. Check out my step-by-step course on the Wriggle Connect platform on how to use this add-on in your classroom.
Again, any written text that is inputted into a Wakelet has access to the Immersive reader with the same functionality found in Google Docs.
It is important to note here that Immersive reader does not work on PDFs for images inserted into a Wakelet collection. Wakelet is a free app and it works well on a phone too which is crucial for our students.
Making your Google Docs More Accessible
dyslexia find it exceedingly difficult to read black text on a white
background. A yellow background is much easier to read or sometimes a light
Every student will have a different preference so just ask what suits them better. In Google Docs press:
- File- click-Page Setup-Click your colour-click default-click save and your done in a matter of seconds.
There are also different dyslexia friendly fonts to use in your Google Doc also. I
always use the font called Verdana. Others include arial and comic sans and
Larger font sizes will also help your students. Aim for 1.5 or above spacing. If you want to adjust the spacing of your Google Doc, check the image below for what tab to click on.
Google Lens, Seeing AI and Office Lens
It will allow the student to take a picture of their work and the Google Lens app will read the text back to them. This application does not have the same functionality as the Immersive reader has within the wakelet application or within Office Lens, but it is still a good app for helping with reading.
By Sarah Gibbons
The Immersive Reader offers decoding solutions for students with a variety of learning differences. When a student presents with difficulties with decoding, which is the ability to match letters to sounds, they are immediately disadvantaged in the classroom.
So much of our teaching revolves around reading- be it instructions, content and/or questions, so spending a little time showing students how to use the Immersive Reader:
- Gives a scaffolding for students to gain confidence in their abilities
- Supports students in reaching their potential
- Empowers independent learners
What does Immersive Reader do?
With Immersive Reader, students can:
How to find Immersive Reader
However, it is important to draw a student’s attention to where the icon appears as it varies. The following two infographics show where the icon appears in many of the apps that are
1. Repetition of all instructions
It is crucial when teaching students with dyslexia that we are patient and allow for extra time in the classroom. Sometimes allowing extra time can be exceedingly difficult as we have a curriculum to get through and the usual pace of school life sometimes does not allow us to take our lessons at a slower pace which is needed to help these students.
When teachers are implementing digital tools to assist students with dyslexia in their classroom, it is particularly important that the teacher themselves teaches the student how to work the technology so that the student can then go home and use these digital TEL tools for themselves.
The use of screen recorded lessons especially useful for the students in my classroom as this allows the student to go home and re watch the lesson as many times as possible for them to gauge what happened in class that day or week.
Again, time does not always permit a teacher to screen record all their lessons, but at the end of every chapter it takes no more than three or 4 minutes.
- Organisation & Assessment in the Classroom by Holly Murray
- Your Guide to Teaching with Google Workspace Tools for Education by Holly Murray
- Making Teaching Learning Accessible and Inclusive for All Students
Courses on Wriggle Connect Teacher:
Accessibility for iPad
Courses On Wriggle Connect Family:
- And much more!
Keep an eye out for new updated courses being released soon on Wriggle Connect.