Dyslexia and Accelerated Reader [Premium]

Dyslexia and Accelerated Reader [Premium]

Accelerated Reader (AR) is a popular computer-based reading program. It does not remediate students with dyslexia. It just offers books at different levels and nudges students to an “appropriate level of challenge,” in addition to offering comprehension tests to check understanding and quantitative information for parents and teachers in the process. The promises of AR are attractive and at least some studies show improved reading of groups of students (some studies show no increase and decreased motivation). Because some classes celebrate high AR point scorers, it should not be surprising that lower scorers are less happy, have lower esteem, and become dis-incentivized to read for pleasure. AR goals are individualized and the AR company does not encourage open competition or achievement-related rewards, but all these […]

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Reading Fluency for College [Premium]

Reading Fluency for College [Premium]

Recently we were contacted by a student who wanted to improve his reading fluency before attending college. He had completed a full course of “Wilson and Orton-Gillingham” yet his reading was still slow and effortful. He asked, “Is there anything I can do to improve my reading to help me be successful in college?”   ANSWER: First of all, good for you for looking ahead and preparing yourself for college. It is possible to get through college with slow effortful reading, but probably only if you’re competent with assistive technology and can listen to all of your books instead of reading them traditionally. Although most colleges and universities are required to make “reasonable accommodations,” schools and individual faculty members can vary, and practical issues – […]

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Apps for Productivity and Organization [Premium]

Apps for Productivity and Organization [Premium]

How about apps for productivity and organization? Here are useful ones you can try.       ToDoist is a popular to do list that is integrated with email, IFTTT, Dropbox, and Slack. It is free – premium and available on iOS and Android.   For some people, free Google Calendar is sufficient. Just remember to set up your calendar notifications and Google Tasks (iOS and Android).   Just Press Record $4.99 iOS I use this app all the time to record – just a big red button and store audio recordings to the cloud. With a recent update, this app has also added free transcriptions. It’s not perfect (probably Otter.ai is more accurate, but it’s great to be free and definitely helps searching through […]

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Best Writing Apps [Premium]

Best Writing Apps [Premium]

We’ve talked a bit about speech to text for writing, but over time, many dyslexic students may prefer to write by typing or by hand. Technology can help dyslexic writers in many different ways, depending on their needs.     For young children with little or no eideitic (snapshot picture) memory for letters may benefit by an alphabet strip pasted inconspicuously in a folder or perhaps on a bulletin board. Students who are able to write by hand, but write very little because they’re uncertain of how to spell words, benefit tremendously by apps like Easy Spelling Aid which will find the spelling of words by speaking into the microphone. It also translate words. Check out these apps! Click on photos to access their sites. […]

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Best Apps for Subject Knowledge [Premium]

Best Apps for Subject Knowledge [Premium]

Because of the work of reading dense text and the fact that skimming can be difficult (if not impossible) for students, reading and re-reading alone are often not the most efficient ways for students to study for exams or file information into their long-term memories.         FLASHCARD APPS Many students know that flashcard apps work because they allow you to review key information without wading through a sea of text. The best apps allow you to review only the cards that you’re unsure of, and apps either come with common textbooks pre-loaded or allow you to upload PowerPoints, PDFs, word documents with information with a conversion into cards. You don’t have to write your own cards! Some students may even find that […]

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Multisensory Learning – Listen, Watch, and Do [Premium]

Multisensory Learning – Listen, Watch, and Do [Premium]

Multisensory learning is often considered the gold standard for dyslexic students. Technology can help by converting text to speech, adding pictures, or adding some action to what otherwise might be a passive task.       READING When it comes to reading, early readers need to reliably hear sounds and associate them with letters, letter groups, and words. The easiest to understand are professional readers of audiobooks who read with liveliness and drama. Older students and adults may be able to transition to electronic voices, especially if they can be sped up.   PHONICS AND STRUCTURED LITERACY Blending Board, iOS FREE (below) creates free customizable deck of phonemes. Also includes multisyllabic words. PHONICS GENIUS (below) is 99 cents on iOS and has over 6000 words […]

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Essential Tech: Favorites for Work/Life [Premium]

Essential Tech: Favorites for Work/Life [Premium]

Every year technology gets better and better and it’s clear that finally it’s catching up with dyslexic minds.   Major technology companies have finally responded to calls to optimize their text-to-speech, speech-to-text, and spell and grammar checkers to the dyslexic community. If you tried and then gave up on technology in the past, now is the time to check again.     VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS Phones, tablets, laptops, and smart watches all have virtual assistants.   Siri will send and read texts, set alarms and timers, make calls / start facetime, set reminders and check calendar, do translations and conversion, solve math equations, navigate on apple maps, search and create notes, play voicemails, check the weather, find files on the Mac, check stocks, even fill out […]

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Dyslexic Talents in STEM: Chemistry [Premium]

Dyslexic Talents in STEM: Chemistry [Premium]

“Through most of high school, I hated math and science. It wasn’t until my senior year when I took AP statistics and AP chemistry that I discovered that I enjoyed solving challenging analytical problems. After I graduate in May, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering.” – Leah Harper   Although chemistry may present dyslexic students with challenges, once the initial difficulty of notation and the periodic chart are mastered, the spatial and analytical aspects of chemistry can become life-long endeavors. In a video (that’s now unavailable on YouTube), Dr. Blake Charlton talked about how he discovered the narrative intelligence associated with dyslexia and how he used it to help him learn the periodic chart. Instead of memorizing columns of elements by […]

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Why Many Dyslexics Thrive in Technology [Premium]

Why Many Dyslexics Thrive in Technology [Premium]

In every year that we’ve had our college scholarships program, technology majors have been among the winners. Dyslexic innovators are also often tech innovators themselves or innovators at the boundaries of technology and people. But why is this?   There are many reasons, but certainly one central reason is that technology is a particularly adept at compensating for the greatest challenges that dyslexics face, while requiring the strengths that creative human problem solvers bring. The net result is a dyslexic innovator who can solve real human needs, while recognizing how they must leverage their own strengths. Thomas G. West, author of In the Mind’s Eye: Creative Visual Thinkers, Gifted Dyslexics, and the Rise of Technology, has lamented the fact that much of the education today […]

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Dyslexia at College: Chat With Xinru at Brown [Premium]

Dyslexia at College: Chat With Xinru at Brown [Premium]

Recently I had the pleasure of talking to Xinru about dyslexia, college, and computer languages. Xinru’s currently studying both music and computer sciences at Brown University, an Ivy League university that is known for its “Open Curriculum” – that allows students to choose their personal course of study. But briefly, I found her when she posted her 10 Ways to Code with ADHD and Dyslexia (see below). She talks so fast, at times I had to listen to her on 1/2 speed; I think that means she’s a fast thinker too! Xinru first came to the US when she was just 8 years old; although she had trouble reading and writing in the early grades, she said she could “get away with” saying that she […]

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Dyslexia-Friendly Technology: Customizing Your Web Reading And Listening [Premium]

Dyslexia-Friendly Technology: Customizing Your Web Reading And Listening [Premium]

With increased demands to read on phones and mobile devices, it’s more important than ever to optimize web reading for dyslexic students and adults.   There are 2 resources that you may want to check out. The first is an Unofficial Immersive Reader Chrome Extension that is free in the Google Extension store HERE. Here’s EdTech Teacher demonstrating some of it’s helpful features. The extension is unofficial because it doesn’t come directly from Microsoft. I was able to activate it quite quickly – I hope this extension is truly here to stay. The voice is quite good and there are also helpful functions like breaking down words into syllables to easier reading. It’s much better than Google’s tools. It can help with adjusting color, character […]

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