Flip struggling readers into leaders with assistive know-how


“What are you [teachers] doing proper now in order that your college students have unhindered entry to grade-level curriculum every day?” That was a query posed in a current edWeb.internet webinar by Dana Blackaby, a dyslexia specialist at The Academy at Nola Dunn in Burleson, Texas.

Blackaby and two student-led tech crew members from her elementary college — Fifth-grade scholar, Gavin, and 4th-grade scholar, Marley — defined that college students with disabilities can not entry grade-level curricula fully independently if they don’t seem to be but studying at grade stage.

However assistive know-how, particularly audiobooks, supplies each multisensory studying and writing experiences and enhances phrase recognition. These instruments permit college students to allocate cognitive sources to comprehension somewhat than decoding.


Eighty-five % of what college students be taught is by listening and college students can pay attention and comprehend two grade ranges above their studying ranges. Studying whereas listening improves comprehension by 76 % and concurrently listening will increase studying accuracy by 52 %.

As struggling readers themselves, Gavin and Marley embraced a chance from Blackaby to turn into assistive know-how leaders and trainers of their district. They agreed with Blackaby that utilizing assistive know-how considerably will increase consideration span, ensuing within the capability to concentrate on listening and comprehension.

Bridging the hole

Growing struggling readers into assured grade-level readers can’t be completed by decreasing the quantity or stage of books college students with disabilities are required to learn. Assistive know-how is a way to bridge the hole for college students who’ve a print incapacity and haven’t but mastered studying independently on grade stage.

Eye-reading and listening to high quality literature learn by a human voice (ear-reading) are usually not unique however must be used inclusively relying on the duty. Including assistive know-how lodging to college students’ individualized teaching programs and 504 plans significantly cut back the impact of scholars’ disabilities by fostering independence in studying.

There are lots of studying packages accessible, resembling Snap&Learn, Chrome Communicate, Pure Reader and SpeakIt, that may learn accessible and inaccessible textual content to college students. At The Academy at Nola Dunn, studying assistive applied sciences resembling text-to-speech and audiobooks are used every day by college students each out and in of college. Audiobooks present human-read or digital-read choices, and sources resembling Studying Ally, Bookshare, Audible, OverDrive, Hoopla, and Library of Congress provide multisensory studying experiences the place struggling readers have entry to grade-level and past high quality content material.

Cognitively, writing is essentially the most difficult process college students are requested to carry out as they wrestle with taking all their information and placing it down on paper. For this function, phrase prediction and speech-to-text software program have been invaluable for college students scuffling with spelling. Vocabulary builder, phrase banks, and matter dictionaries help with reminiscence set off on phrases and subjects.

Instilling confidence

The reply to the query, “When ought to college students entry assistive know-how?” is: “As usually as they want it.” When assistive know-how is used anytime, anyplace for homework, prolonged studying assignments, and novel research, college students turn into the drivers of their studying in grade-level curricula for topics resembling math, studying, social research or science.

Having at-home entry to assistive know-how instruments, college students can learn lengthy emails, journals, textual content, and pleasure books that excite and interact. Giving college students the reins of the know-how units them free to be unbiased learners and never reliant on lecturers, friends, or assist employees to learn a phrase or assistance on the oral administration of assessments. Struggling readers choose to make use of the assistive know-how choices accessible to them as a result of it improves engagement, understanding, and fluency, and expands vocabulary.

Via assistive know-how, college students can share what they know and write what they need to write and never what they’re able to write. Utilizing assistive know-how instruments, college students at The Academy at Nola Dunn have turn into totally unbiased of their studying and proven immeasurable progress in competency and confidence of their studying and writing capability.

In regards to the presenter

Dana Blackaby is a dyslexia specialist at The Academy at Nola Dunn in Texas. Her aim is to empower college students by instilling confidence, expertise, and hope in college students with studying variations. Dana’s college students have completed within the prime 10 in two nationwide studying competitions and have been featured in newspapers, Twitter, Fb, and the Dallas–Fort Price ABC affiliate, WFAA. A number of of her college students are part of a student-led tech crew that travels from college to high school offering coaching on assistive know-how for lecturers and directors of their district. Dana holds a grasp’s diploma in instructing.

Be a part of the group

Empowering Struggling Readers is a free skilled studying group on edWeb.internet that gives educators, directors, particular educators, curriculum leaders, and librarians a spot to collaborate on the right way to flip struggling readers into thriving college students.

This edWeb webinar referenced above, sponsored by Studying Ally, could be discovered right here.


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