- What is Assistive Technology (AT)?
- Why Assistive Technology?
- Making AT available at home and in the classroom
- How is AT integrated into multisensory remedial intervention at Lexicon Reading Center?
AT is the name for various computer software programs that provide help with reading and writing. They are designed to be used by a student with literacy difficulties to help (assist) when he/she is reading or writing. They are not designed to replace a teacher, but increase the student’s independence.
Experience with many of those affected by dyslexia and dysgraphia has shown AT can have an important role in enabling them to deal better with day to day classroom demands. AT provides a set of tools that enable a more independent, self-sufficient approach to the reading and writing that is being required in the classroom and at home. AT is an integrated part of the remedial interventions and learning experiences Lexicon Reading Center provides.
If AT is to fulfil this function then it needs to be available when the student needs it. This is why Lexicon Reading Center decided to make AT available for students to use at home and in class, if the school allows it. The more frequently students use it, the more expert they will become. The software can play an important part in restoring a student’s self-confidence.
- RAZ-Kids is an interactive reading tool for our students to practice reading fluency and comprehension. . The students can listen to a story, read a story out loud, record themselves reading, and then take a comprehension quiz. RAZ-Kids is an essential part of our intervention program by providing students with daily practice for reading fluency and reading comprehension at their decoding level.
- Read&Write Gold (Texthelp’s R&WG)
R&WG is the program we are using with our students during lessons and which we provide for free to be used at home and in class. Students receive intensive instructions in the usage of the features appropriate for their reading development.
R&WG has many useful assistive features!
First among these features is text-to-speech. Text-to-speech enables the user to hear any text on the screen read aloud.
- In reading, this ensures reinforcement of the correct pronunciation of words. It can also support reading fluency to help comprehension.
Text to speech can remove a sense of being overwhelmed when reading requirements exceed a student’s decoding skills and instead leave the user feeling in control.
- In writing, text-to-speech can read back anything the user has typed. This very often leads to far better proof-reading as it provides aural feedback to reinforce the visual checking.
- Dictionary: R&W G provides a dictionary to aid vocabulary knowledge. The definition of a word can be read aloud and correct usage of each word is demonstrated by placing it in the meaningful context of a sentence. For novice readers, a picture dictionary provides additional assistance.
- Word Analysis: This feature enables the user to see the way a word is divided into syllables. Word analysis is a key component in helping dyslexics students to decode and understand words.
- Mind mapping: A further feature that dovetails perfectly with Lexicon’s approach is a mind mapping tool, Fact Mapper. Organising one’s thoughts and ideas before writing, while a good idea for all writers, is essential for students with reading and writing difficulties. Being able to do so on the computer independently can be of great assistance to students.
Learning how to decode and encode words by turning them into speech is at the core of our evidence-based remedial literacy programs. R&W G supports this intervention by providing students with tools to practice their decoding and encoding skills independently. In addition, the program helps students to access texts above their decoding level.
Students are able to access RAZ-Kids on any Internet connected computer . Students are provided with a log in and a password to get into their RAZ-Kids account. Teachers receive continuous feedback on their performance which helps to adjust and fine tune the intervention.
Students enrolled at Lexicon Reading Center, will be able to install Read&Write Gold on their personal computers for use at home and in class. This is a full version Windows copy a one year validity.