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Tips for reading from a screen

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by JulesDaulby, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    5 Simple Tips to Help With Reading from a Screen - Assistive Technology


    There is a US study which claims to show that increasing the gap between letters may make reading easier for struggling readers. Apps such as 'VoiceDream' will do this for you but for students without this tech, there are some easier steps which can help:

    1. A larger font - this can be seen just from children's books to adult books but if you are showing a lot of text on the whiteboard, it would be useful if the font were 14 or 16 rather than 12.

    2. The right font - evenly spaced sans serif font such as Arial or Tahoma is recommended. There is a free font called Open Dyslexic which can be downloaded. It then just sits in the font choices along with all the others in Word. Some students, those who report moving letters particularly, seem to like this font as it is weighted. Others hate it and prefer Arial. It is worth encouraging students to try different fonts to see if it makes a difference.

    3. Changing the background colour - this is one of the easiest things a student can do. Many seem to choose electric blue or pink - no idea why. A few of my students choose a black background with white or orange text. Again, if they say it helps, why not? I like buff - it just reduces the glare of the white background and makes reading less stressful. Some teachers will change the background colour on their whiteboard to an off white or light pastel colour which is a nice gesture and will really help some students.

    4. Underlining - this can really confuse students who struggle to read - not only are they trying to decipher the letters and the word (perhaps having poor visual discrimination) but there's another bit of print underneath to contend with. ALSO WRITING IN CAPITALS IS DIFFICULT TO READ. And using italics.

    5. Preferable to underlining and italics is to use bold and bullet points. This emphasises text without changing the shape of the letters. Big blocks of text with no obvious break can be difficult to read and breaking it down into smaller sections or text boxes (even with different colours) can help students. 1.5 line spacing helps.

    If you want to research this further, work is being done by E.A. Draffan at Southampton University and JISCtechdis offer good advice.

    Tags: dyslexia,background colour

    Categories: Assistive Technology, #28daysofwriting, Staffroom, SEND, Twitter
  2. Natalie_A89

    Natalie_A89 New commenter

    Thank you for this.

    My friend Claire found the iWBPro Software from iBoardTouch helps to tackle some of the above issues. You can add or remove text. You can either use your own handwriting or text dependant on the students needs. Change from upper to lower chase letters. Fonts can be changed along with the background. Backgrounds can be plain or patterned to suit the childs preferences.

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