Students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties often struggle with these key areas. The key question to ask is ‘what are they learning?’ and chose the strategy or tool best suited to the learning and classroom environment. We are going to look at some ICT for students and their teachers around these key areas of need. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Focus is - free or low priced options for students - dyslexia is rarely diagnosed below the age of 7 so I focused on students aged over 8. - Mostly google chrome and iPad apps. Many work with MS office.
Youth offenders are four times more likely to have a reading difficulty. 43-57% of youth offenders compared to 10% of the general population (Judge A J Becroft Principal Youth Court Judge of New Zealand, 2014; Rose, 2009) Dyslexic students often suffer from Low self-esteem and lack of confidence; Stress levels, fear and anxiety; Fear of making mistakes; Lack of family understanding or support ICT, connection and engagement (Rose report)
Many students have persistent literacy difficulties- they may not have a diagnosis but will often respond to the same supports. The clip here is from the ‘What is Dyslexia’ app.
homework helper, evernote; dropbox, googledrive, to do list… Organising work Evernote, Dropbox and Google Drive all are accessible on iPads and android or Microsoft operating systems. Work can be saved and acessed from anywhere with an internet connection. While they all differ slightly, for example Evernote allows a ‘notes page’ which can include images and ideas as well as files, while Google Drive also has a word processing systems so we can create exportable pages. Students struggling with finding and organising their work can learn to keep it all in one place. Remembering Homework Some apps like My Homework Planner are available across devices and allow students to set up their timetable with homework Others like ‘App4’ are designed for parents, teachers and students to all have access to the same information, but at the moment this is only availabe for Apple operating systems. There are also tools designed just for reminders like ‘Forgetful’ which allows audio reminders to be recorded and play at set times.
One of the biggest barriers to students struggling with literacy is time. If the teacher chooses what the learning is, students can then gain more out of their lessons. By using cameras to take photos of notes, students can then refer to the task instructions and get started. When giving some tasks e.g. sequencing cards, students can take a photo of their finished product. This can be included in their notes.
Mindmapping is a very useful teaching tool for students. In particular, students who struggle with legible writing may find online mindmaps easier to use for revision and share with others. Inspiration is often bought and provided by schools so it is worth checking for. There is also a free basic version on the ipad Mindmeister is a cross-platform programme but it has a monthly charge. ($7-10) Lucid is a google add-on but has a basic free version. It is similar to Microsoft Word’s Smart Art. mind42 is a free online version students can acess from anywhere. Exploratree is particularly useful for education as there is a variety of templates suitable for different purposes. And something different- Sticky is a post-it notebook for android or ipad so students can write down ideas, and move them around. It would be useful for planning writing, or for some sequencing tasks off the board. They can then take a screen shot of their work and save it for their online notebook.
There are many different apps and programmes for mindmapping, and they are often free so it is worth getting students to find one they are comfortable using
Reading - importance of choosing the learning, and also removing time as a barrier
Readability is available free across platforms AdBlock is available for chrome and firefox and blocks advertisements from appearing in your browser. It is useful both to reduce page clutter but also speed up page loading. Speak it (iPad 2.59) and speakit! (Google Play free) but you can also enable text-talk on the iPad which is free. Balabolka (Min of Ed assistive tech handout) is free and works with a web browser
sans serif (without serifs, or small lines at the ends of words/lines Two of the above fonts are serif fonts. roman fonts are usually narrow at the beginning and end of the line, and wider in the middle. http://www.luzrello.com/Publications_files/assets2013.pdf
WordQ and readwrite(Free samples to demonstrate) Also speak Q add on for dictation GInger is designed for dyslexic students, works across platforms but is a monthly fee. SpellBetter has a free basic version for iPads.
talking calculator; Students may have difficulty in both hearing and understanding the problem and in writing it down. Talking calculators are available online and also as an ipad app. Modmath is a newly released app for ipads which functions like an exercise book. It doesn’t have a calculator so the students do their own equations. Online games like the ones found on this site can also reinforce learning.
Cloud On- free office suite for ipad that works with dropbox and google drive. Private Journal (NZ made) app that can include notes, photos, a calendar and music. You can even add stickers. (reluctant writers) Inkflow- good for freehand brainstorming, sketching and note taking. Kokako 123 - Sequencing, memory and numeral recognition Mr Thorne Productions has a good range of maths and phonics games (American spelling in spelling apps) $2.99-3.99 Kids Discover has a series of high interest topics for older children.($5)
For other, less technologically driven classroom adapations, visit the 4D edge site produced by the Dyslexia Association of New Zealand
hyperlinked for sharing
Ict for children with literacy difficulties
What can ICT offer students struggling
ICT can help students with dyslexia and other learning
difficulties to develop and use sustainable strategies
Kerensa Robertson, RTLB, Cluster 11
what is one of the most powerful pedagogical
tools to support students with literacy?
Where to Begin? Notice Are there students who
show some signs of
dyslexia in my class?
What is the area of
Reflect What have I tried
successful was it?
Adjust How can I adjust one
activity or routine to
meet their needs?
Are there students in your class who are
struggling with areas related to literacy?
What is Dyslexia?
Many students with learning difficulties struggle with
organising their work and keeping track of homework.
● Encourages good habits
for life-long success
● Access to all work in one
● Allows teachers, parents and
students to access homework.
● Keeps all notes in one place
● Apps for Audio reminders
Students with reading difficulties often struggle to
copy and complete tasks off the whiteboard.
The simplest solution is to let them take a photo of the
notes on a tablet or phone and
have it sitting beside them so
they can work on the task.
- They can also take photos of
Using Visual Strategies for note taking
Mind mapping is useful as many students with literacy
difficulties find organising their notes visually is useful.
Useful programmes incorporate images as well as colour
Students with reading difficulties find many literacy
and research activities difficult.
Useful supports include:
● Simplifying the appearance of web pages
● Text-talk programmes
● Choosing easy to read fonts
Choosing a font
Good fonts are sans serif, monospaced and roman based.
● has not performed well in research.
● Italics are particularly difficult.
● Not all students with reading difficulties find the
same fonts easy to read.
Try: arial comic sans
The purpose of using technology is for students to be able to
Read & Write, Word Q and Ginger work as a toolbar.
They include dictionaries, text prediction,and read back
Often students with literacy difficulties also have
difficulty recognising and recording numbers.
● Use talking calculators
● Online workbooks
● Maths Games to reinforce learning.
● Reinforcing and reviewing learning
Other Useful Stuff for iPads...
Word processing for iPad
How to Mindmap
Mr Thorne’s Phonics (Myths and Legends)
To give feedback
To help refine and improve my practice, I am seeking
feedback through a short survey.
It is available on paper now or online at:
It is anonymous and may collectively be collectively used as
part of 2014 post-graduate studies.
Thanks for your time
ReferencesAltformat (n.d.). Top tips for creating Dyslexia friendly print materials. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
British Dyslexia Association (2014, May). I.C.T. for Literacy. | BDA Technology. Retrieved from http://bdatech.org/learning/i-c-t-for-
Bryne, R. (n.d.). Free Technology for Teachers. Retrieved June 2014, from http://www.freetech4teachers.com/
CALL Scotland (2014). iPad Apps for Learners with Dyslexia. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
Dyslexia Foundation of New Zealand (n.d.). THE 4D EDGE ? NEIL MACKAY AND THE NEW TEACHING PARADIGM. Retrieved
June 20, 2014, from http://www.4d.org.nz/edge/#intro
Eppsk (n.d.). ICT Resources for dyslexic learners. Retrieved June 2-14, from http://www.netvibes.com/dyslexia#Home
MacClaskey, K. (n.d.). Leveling the playing field with apps. Retrieved from http://www.scoop.it/t/leveling-the-playing-field-with-apps
MacKay, N. (2006). Removing dyslexia as a barrier to achievement: The Dyslexia Friendly Schools toolkit. Outwood [England: SEN
Ministry of Education (n.d.). Centre for Assistive Technology. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from
Rello, L., & Baeza-Yates, R. (n.d.). Good Fonts for Dyslexia. Retrieved from
Rose, J. (2009). Identifying and Treating Children and Young People with Dyslexia and Literacy Difficulties. Retrieved from
Singleton, C. (2009). ). Interventions for Dyslexia. Retrieved from http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/files/Singleton%20Report.pdf
Te@chThought (2012, September 17). 50 Popular iPad Apps For Struggling Readers & Writers. Retrieved June 2014, from
● To read web pages in OpenDyslexic
● To change settings on iPad for text-talk
● Making the most out of your operating system