Every operating system has its text to speech, but many people like Google Docs’ Voice Typing system for its simplicity.
Like many text to speech programs, you still need to speak the punctuation, like saying, “comma’, or “period.” Some errors do occur, but the system is definitely getting better.
For smartphones, the Google Docs app also integrates with Google Docs on tablets and desktops, allowing you to switch devices without losing any work in progress.
Developing a regular practice for using speech to text for all types of note-taking can improve overall learning efficiency and organization.
VOICE TYPING: (https://youtu.be/kBLuo9kWgyg)
Check out this homeschooling parent’s post on how her dyslexic 6th grade daughter uses Google Docs voice typing.
“We don’t use speak-to-text just for writing assignments like research reports, book reports, and writing stories! We use it for EVERYTHING. If she needs to answer a comprehension question on a worksheet in Science, for instance, she uses the speak-to-text feature on my phone to speak her answer, which records it for her, and she can copy her answer onto her own paper, with the correct spelling so that I can actually read and understand her answer when I’m grading it. We use it for Math word problems when a descriptive answer is needed as well – it’s so helpful for ANY subject, and she uses it all day long.”
In this example, the student, Laynie, doesn’t have dysgraphia and what is helpful about how Laynie uses technology is that she is allowed to take notes through dictation, but still learns the correct spellings by recopying notes in her own writing. Dictation is really helpful in this case because if she were required to write out all her answers at once, she might get lost with her ideas and lose her place (working memory) before she could figure out how to spell them and get them down on the page.
The use of this technology can also be seen as a interim support before she is writing by hand independently.
Obviously for students with dysgraphia, this period of having to dictate work or type with word prediction might have to be continued longer.
Tech expert Jamie Martin mentions several Google Docs Add-ons that can also be helpful for students:
The Text Help tool has virtual highlighters that can also export text for citations. EasyBib is a great tool for converting references into the appropriate format that a teacher requests. Mindmeister converts lists into mind maps. They are all free.
Other handy add-ons for Google Docs are things like Easy Accents for foreign language accents, and Translate for translating foreign languages.
WHY DECIMALS ARE HARD
There are many confusing aspects to decimals that are helpful to recognize when helping students. Contrary to working with whole numbers, longer sequences of numbers are not larger than shorter ones. For instance, with whole numbers, 245 is greater than 2, but .0245 is smaller than 2.
For math processes involving decimals, multiplying by a decimal number between 0 and 1 is also opposite to what one might be used to. After learning that multiplication is equal groups or repeated addition, multiplying 0.3 x 0.4 = 0.12, a number that is smaller than 0.3 or 0.4. Similarly, dividing by a decimal can result in a number that is bigger than what we started out with, which can seem even more confusing.
Even decimal addition and subtraction can seem confusing because numbers need to be lined up by their decimal point which may seem different than lining numbers up by the right hand side.
From Marilyn Zecher:
Clarifying the point that decimals are unique fractions based on multiples of 10 can reduce the likelihood of mistakes in the future.
What is helpful about Marilyn’s approach is that time is given for students to process what is meant by the new way of representing numbers as decimals instead of fractions or whole numbers.
Also addressed are ways common denominators can be represented in the decimal system (especially important before progressing to calculation steps that emphasize “lining up the decimals”.
Working with base 10 blocks and area grids can be very important for students in order to develop a solid foundation of the meaning of decimals before progressing onto more complex tasks like comparing decimals, addition, subtracting, multiplication, or division.
In the Khan Academy video below, see how comparing decimals is easier with use of area grids.
Reference: click here
Perhaps because dyslexia is already woefully under-identified in today’s schools, the expressive language aspects of dyslexia have taken a back seat in the schools as well as by researchers. Yet, on a daily basis, it may be helpful for dyslexic children and adults to know that expressive difficulties they may indeed be associated with dyslexia. […]
The school year begins and then there’s a lull. The first days of excitement and change are past and now teachers are trying to figure out their students and students are trying to figure out their teachers.
Now is a good time for students to talk to their teachers about dyslexia. The teacher cards available in our store are intended to present a big picture overview of dyslexia and ways that teachers can make their classrooms dyslexia-friendly.
The nice thing about the cards is that it can spread awareness and offset the burden that students might otherwise have asking for basics like extra time on tests, assistive technology, and a note-taker.
When some teachers are confronted with a long list of requests, they may think that granting a few accommodations may be sufficient although the partial accommodations really may not be enough for a student to really flourish in class.
Although an overwhelming majority of dyslexic students have dysgraphia as part of their dyslexia, failure to use this specific label can result in inappropriate work expectations and inadequate supports in routine classwork activities such as note-taking or writing essays on tests.
So many students arriving in college to see what appropriate accommodations look like, ask themselves, why wasn’t I getting these supports all along?
Finally, Dyscalculia is even farther down the list in terms of being formally recognized in school, although it can be a gateway to higher education and professions that are well-suited to dyslexic strengths.
Dyscalculia is even more important to recognize in today’s classrooms as the College Board introduced a calculator-free section on the SAT that clearly disadvantages students with dyscalculia. We’ve been hearing about a high numbers being denied for calculator accommodations. Having a long and well-documented need may be a necessity.
Cards can be purchase HERE.
CNBC had a welcome article about how important dyslexic employees are for increasing demands for creative thinking, design, and leadership. Their review was based on the Ernst and Young research paper The Value of Dyslexia.
Excerpt: “dyslexic individuals have differing abilities, with strengths in creative, problem solving and communication skills and challenges with spelling, reading and memorizing facts. Generally, a dyslexic cognitive profile will be uneven when compared to a neurotypical cognitive profile. This means that dyslexic individuals really do think differently.
What does this mean in work? These varied cognitive profiles give dyslexic individuals natural abilities to form alternative views and solve problems creatively. Heightened cognitive abilities in certain areas, such as visualization
and logical reasoning skills and natural entrepreneurial traits can bring a fresh, often intuitive perspective.”
CNBC commented: “The need for processing and manual capabilities like time management, reading, math and active listening were on the decline…Meanwhile, creative and social skills such as leadership, analytical thinking and technology design were increasingly in demand.”
Nice to see more positive dyslexia awareness articles shared in the press. The more accomplished dyslexic individuals speak out at work, the easier it will be to find dyslexia-friendly workplaces.
“Take chances. Take risks. Don’t be afraid of what’s around the corner. Embrace it.” – Glenn Stearns
New on Discovery Channel is an 8-part series based on a real-life wager.
Glenn Stearns is a super successful billionaire who overcame life hurdles like growing up in an alcoholic family, struggling in school due to dyslexia (flunking out of the 4th grade), and then fathering a child when he was 14. After getting cancer at the age of 50, he began soul searching and began incubating an idea that he wanted to go for things that really had value for him.
” Why don’t go and try to get that job promotion…get out of your comfort zone. Go and do things that’ll make you proud when you’re done. Even if you fail, you tried.”
So he pitched the idea for a new reality show with Discovery Channel, and they snapped it up. With only $100 in his pocket and an old pickup truck, he would try to create a million dollar business in 90 days. The team at Discovery Channel picked the place: Erie, Pennsylvania. Glenn would have no contacts to help him and no resume. What would happen if he lost? Glen would lose $1 million wager – but the money would go to the company that he’s created.
The series started in August, so we don’t know whether he was successful or not – but he’s shared a lot of his life story on his website.
Although he graduated in the bottom 10% of his class, he was fortunate to find mentors who encouraged him to aim high. He became the first person in his family to graduate from college and remembers sleeping on a kitchen floor in a 1 bedroom apartment he shared with 5 other recent grads. His early days were like many others. He started waiting tables, then started work as a loan officer, but then became an entrepreneur 10 months later, creating his own mortgage company. By 2010, Glenn’s company would manage $1 billion a month in funding.
“At one point in my teens, I felt like I let the world down and my life was over. It wasn’t until I was an adult and learned that often times the best things in life come to you wrapped in packages that appear to be full of failure and disappointment. It’s the silver linings that make for the best success and best stories of our lives.”
Check out the show on Discovery – hopefully it will be available for demand viewing too.
Dr. Jean-Luc Velay was kind enough to share his paper called E-book reading hinders aspects of long-text comprehension for adults with dyslexia. The paper’s an important read as there is substantial evidence that reading on a screen and reading a printed book is not the same. There was another surprising finding in the paper (emphasis mine below):
“with the printed book, dyslexic adults performed similarly to skilled readers in both literal and inferential reading comprehension tasks. Moreover, they performed at the same level or higher than skilled readers in tasks assessing spatiotemporal aspects of reading (localization of events and plot reconstruction).”
Look at the data:
Dyslexic college students were BETTER at answering “Where in the text” or “When in the story” questions for a challenging test of over 10,000 words and time flashbacks in the story lines.
The authors of this report don’t offer substantial reasons for why this result was observed, but one could speculate that dyslexic readers experiencing the text as multisensory scenes rather than verbal descriptions might be better able to recall the events as experienced during the reading.
Another major finding of the study is that the college dyslexic group performed worse in the e-book setting compared to print books. This finding does caution educators, schools, and workplaces to not equate reading on paper with computer displays, but to really inform policy, more research needs to be done.
In this study, study subjects had no prior use with e-book reading and they were given a Kindle paperwhite for the e-book situation. The displays were not optimized for individuals (for instance, to reduce visual crowding or reduce the number of words on a page) and font choice and color were also not adjusted for readers’ preferences. The fact that dyslexic readers seem to have more trouble reading on the e-book should make us pause if we had been expecting students or adults should be able to seamlessly transfer reading between the printed page and a digital screen… like a student who is asked being assigned to do Accelerated Reader on a computer terminal or standardized testing.
Some students lose their place more easily because they can’t sweep their fingers across lines of text. These students might fare better if they can use an on-screen ruler like the Google Chrome Reading Ruler.
Although the findings raise interesting questions, it’s premature to conclude that print books are necessarily better for dyslexic students. This study didn’t look at reading along with text to speech, for instance, or reading with a scanning pen like the one seen in the ad on the opposite page. These formats of reading can potentially improve reading comprehension of complex texts because of the lookup functions on the pen or on computers or mobile devices.
Some readers may be less efficient with e-books at first as they get accustomed to the different display and formats. If test subjects were frequent readers on the Amazon Kindle, one wonders, would the differences in e-books and print be as great?
Regardless, there were several interesting take-home points from this paper:
1. With print books, dyslexic college students did just as well as skilled readers in both literal and reading comprehension tasks (students were given unlimited time).
2. With print books, dyslexic college students were BETTER than skilled readers with the localization of events and plot reconstruction in the text (students were given unlimited time).
3. Dyslexic college students performed worse with e-books than printed books in this study – but this was their first experience with e-books and no optimization was made regarding the print display.