Reading aids for dyslexics: 17 helpful reading aids for dyslexic children

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17 helpful reading aids for dyslexic children

While dyslexic children have to overcome greater challenges to fall in love with books and become confident expressing themselves through the written word, there are lots of practical tips and aids to make the reading and writing process easier.

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Reading and love of reading is a continuous process. There will be no quick fix with a dyslexic reader, but with constant encouragement and motivation your child can learn to love books and develop as a reader. Try to cherry-pick the tips that suit you and your child and incorporate them into your everyday life. Most importantly, keep at it! 

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 1. Choose literature in the right font. Where possible, find writing in a sans serif font (such as Arial or Verdana).  
 

 2. Make sure the text size isn’t too small. Make sure text is at least 12pt. Go larger if possible. 

 3. Where possible, use lower-case letters rather than capitals. Avoid text that uses lots of capital letters for emphasis. 

 4. Avoid white paper. If producing your own texts, try to print on cream or a pastel-colour paper. Avoid green and red font colours, too, as these can sometimes cause readability problems. 

 5. Remembering b and d. Use the ‘bed trick’ to remember which way around b and d go. Encourage your child to hold three fingers in their left hand at the beginning of the word to make a b shape and do the same with their right hand at the end for the d. 

 6. Get your mouth ready. Teach your child to get their mouth ready to form a sound before they start to read each letter. This triggers a sensory experience which can aid recall.  

 7. Consider an iPad or Kindle. Many dyslexic readers find these easier to use as the screen is bright and text is divided into smaller parts. It’s also less daunting than being faced with page numbers. 

 8. Use magnetic cursive letters. These are foam magnetic letters, colour coded into their sound groups (such as ck, fr, sn), which make it easier for your child to form words and remember letter combinations.

 9. Use multisensory letters. Use pipe-cleaners, ribbons and other materials (even biscuit dough!) to get your child used to the shape of the letter. This helps them form multisensory memories and consolidates letter shapes and how they are formed.  

 10. Invest in a vowel sound dictionary such as the ACE Spelling Dictionary by David Moseley (£13.99, LDA). Though more useful for writing, it will aid the relationship between words read and sounds made.

 11. Use tinted overlays for text to make reading easier. You can buy these in packs of different colours and choose one which suits your child’s needs best.

 12. Get a virtual reading ruler. This is a mobile tinted overlay which reduces screen glare and floats above any application and is moved around the screen with a mouse. You can create a different variety of opaque windows. 

 13. Have your child assessed with a Colorimeter for coloured lenses. With coloured lenses, the child’s entire field of view will be coloured. This works very well with particularly colour-sensitive dyslexic readers.

 14. Look for websites that use software such as Browsealoud.These will read words aloud and highlight text as it is read. It’s free but the website has to be enabled first.  

 15. Claro Software offers speech-enabling and magnification software (there’s also the option to invert screen colours and change contrast).

 16. The C-Pen range of portable scanning and reading pens can be very helpful for dyslexic children. Users can scan and insert text using a touch screen and portable keyboard. They can hear the text spoken aloud and get correct pronunciations.

 17. Try the KAZ (Keyboard A-Z) accelerated learning system to teach your child to touch type, making it easier to do creative writing tasks and homework. You might also want to look for keyboards with large keys or large letters on. 

Dyslexia Tools For Reading & Reading Strategies

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that negatively impacts a person’s reading skills. People with dyslexia have issues decoding words since they can’t identify the letter-sound relationship. Matching letters to sounds is the first step in learning how to read. This, in turn, means dyslexic learners will face significant challenges in conquering other steps toward reading fluency.

Useful tools for reading with dyslexia

Since literacy skills are integral to everyday life, the negative impact of learning disabilities like dyslexia can’t be denied. Unfortunately, dyslexia can’t be cured or treated. However, this disorder can be managed with the appropriate tools, allowing struggling readers to successfully tackle all the challenges this disorder poses.

Text to speech software

As the name suggests, text to speech (TTS) software reads aloud digital text from computers, smartphones, or tablets. These TTS programs are typically available across all platforms as browser extensions or apps.

TTS programs are one of the most helpful assistive technology tools for struggling readers. They allow users to listen to spoken words instead of reading them, thus improving their understanding and retention.

People of all ages can benefit from the multisensory approach of TTS apps. For a dyslexic child  they represent a great way to improve word recognition and phonemic awareness and learn new words.

Dyslexic students can use these apps to overcome reading difficulties that come with extensive study materials. Students can turn their documents and notes into portable audio files and listen to them on the go.

Eye lighters

Eye lighter is a dyslexia tool well-suited for casual reading and difficult schoolwork alike. This simple tool resembles a ruler in shape and transparency. However, eye lighters come in vivid colors.

These handy tools are used to highlight specific portions of the text and underline important sentences. By focusing only on a few sentences at once, this tool helps learners avoid eye tracking, thus improving their reading fluency and comprehension.

Toobaloo

Toobaloo is an educational tool designed to provide auditory feedback to the dyslexic learner. Since learners can immediately hear themselves through this tool, it helps them adjust their pronunciation skills and reading fluency. 

Besides teaching reading, this tool is beneficial for special education teachers working with autistic students.

Smart reading strategies for dyslexic readers

Besides dyslexic tools, several reading strategies can significantly impact the outcome of a reading session.  

Look for decodable books

Decodable books are reading materials that are full of familiar words, thus making the decoding process easier. These books primarily contain frequently used sight words with several more challenging words sprinkled around.

Since decodable books apply just the right amount of material to dyslexic brains, they should be included in most teaching strategies for dyslexic students.

Visualize text as you read

Visualization is a powerful reading strategy that people with dyslexia can use to facilitate comprehension. The concept is simple. While reading, try to visualize every detail from the text, including people and their clothes, distinctive smells and colors.

By conjuring up these images in your mind, you’ll understand the text better, memorize essential details, and make reading more pleasurable.

Re-read stories to improve memorization

This strategy is especially useful for children of a lower reading level and should be primarily used at home. By allowing them to re-read their favorite stories many times, parents help students experience a feeling of literacy success in a welcoming environment.

Besides improving memorization, this technique helps build confidence, accuracy, and reading speed.

Minimize distractions

Minimizing distraction is crucial to a successful reading session. For older people, this means reading in a quiet environment with no disturbances from social media apps.

For children in lower grade levels, minimizing distraction entails:

  • Working in small groups
  • Removing unnecessary and distracting parts from workbooks and worksheets
  • Giving explicit instructions
  • Break down text into smaller chunks

Dyslexic learners with a shorter attention span can quickly give up if the reading tasks seem too challenging or extensive. For this reason, breaking the designated text into smaller chunks is essential. This way, students will experience a sense of accomplishment instead of frustration.

Speechify – the assistive technology designed for dyslexic readers

Speechify is a powerful TTS tool that can be a lifesaver for dyslexic readers. It allows them to turn any digital text into speech read in a natural-sounding voice.

Listening can be highly beneficial for people with dyslexia, regardless of their age.

Listening can:

  • Introduce smaller children to reading
  • Aid school-age children in dealing with their study materials
  • Help college students memorize notes and course materials faster
  • Allow adults to enjoy reading for prolonged periods

Speechify also offers plenty of options to make the reading content more accessible.

  • Change the voice, pitch, and the reading speed
  • Modify the font size and color
  • Invert colors for easier readability
  • Highlight sentences you’ve read

If you’re ready to fight back against the challenges dyslexia poses, give Speechify a try. Download the app for free today and take the first step to better reading fluency.

FAQ

How can I improve my dyslexia reading?

Dyslexia is undoubtedly a significant hurdle on the way to reading fluency. However, each person can improve their reading skills with the appropriate tools and reading strategies.

The key here is practice. According to Yale Center for Dyslexia, adult learners can increase their reading by one grade level for every 100 hours of reading instruction.

What is the most effective way to help students with dyslexia?

Teachers can support students with dyslexia by:

  • Creating a collaborative classroom culture
  • Using multisensory activities
  • Presenting new language in manageable chunks
Can dyslexic people read?

Dyslexic people can learn to read, although it typically requires significantly more effort.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

Some of the most common signs of dyslexia in English speakers include difficulties in:

  • Reading fluently
  • Spelling and pronouncing words correctly
  • Completing tasks that involve reading

Best assistive technology for dyslexics

It is estimated that approximately 15-20 percent of people have a language learning disability or dyslexia. In most European countries, the concept of «dyslexia» includes all problems associated with written speech: problems with mastering the skill of reading and writing; literacy problems; problems with mastering arithmetic; problems associated with impaired motor skills and coordination; attention problems.

For normal development, children with this problem need the help of assistive technology to learn on a par with their classmates, but this is not so easy, because technology and medical companies do not pay much attention to this problem.

Reading

Voice Dream Reader

Many experts recommend Voice Dream Reader as the best text-to-speech application. This software product allows you to highlight text, take notes and synchronize it with Google Drive, Safari, email, DropBox and other reading services.

It allows you to change fonts, colors and line spacing, making small text much less intimidating for people with dyslexia. You can also use the Voice Dream Scanner feature to scan text into the app and read it aloud.

The application supports 27 languages, including Russian.

Available in the US for $20 with in-app purchases. In particular, you can purchase 200+ additional premium voices in 30 languages ​​from Acapela, NeoSpeech and Ivona.

You can download the application here: IOS , Android .

Learning Ally

This is a project that began as an audio recording of books to help blind soldiers after World War II. Today is a vast library of over 80,000 audiobooks for anyone with learning or visual impairments.

This is a service where you can follow the text while listening, which is very important for children with dyslexia. The text is read by a human voice, which is easier for some children to listen to than a computer one.

This service is available in the US for $11.25 per month. Russian language is not supported.

Resource links: Web , IOS , Android .

Bookshare

Bookshare is a US government funded program that provides free access to e-books and digital texts to people and students with disabilities. It is free for all children, and adults can purchase access for $50/year.

Because Bookshare operates under a copyright exemption, the user is required to present a proof of disability form or documents from the school.

Bookshare features an extensive library that includes many of the textbooks children need for school. But it’s only digital text, so dyslexics need to use a text-to-speech tool to read it aloud. Bookshare has links to several reading tools, including Dolphin Easy Reader, Speech Central, Capti Voice, and Voice Dream Reader.

This resource can be accessed here.

Speechify

Speechify deserves a special mention. It’s a well-designed piece of software designed for both students and adults, and it’s free (with in-app purchases). You can scan the book, import PDF, upload from Google Drive and sync across all your devices.

The system can read aloud articles and documents, messages from email programs and social networks. An interesting feature of the application is that it can read at different speeds, which is convenient for different people.

Supports more than 15 languages.

Resource links: IOS , Desktop .

Natural Readers

This software for Mac and Windows offers text-to-speech and a talking dictionary for use with Word, PDFs and websites. The program allows you to upload a text or document to the system directly on the site or application and then it can be voiced. Natural Readers highlights text as you read and offers larger fonts, speech-to-speech, spell check, word prediction, and OCR technology.

Links: Web , IOS , Android , Chrome Extension .

Settings for Apple and Android devices

Refer to Settings on your Apple or Android device. By default, the text-to-speech feature is disabled.

On Apple devices, go to Settings, select Accessibility, then Spoken Content to enable text-to-speech.

For Android, go to «Settings», select «Accessibility», then «Text to Speech».

Digital scanning pens

These tools, also called reading pens, use optical character recognition software to capture text and transfer it to a computer or mobile device. They should be used as a marker to scan the written material, and then the text can be read or processed in digital format. Some pens also read text aloud while scanning.

Reading pens are particularly useful for reading handwritten material not available through programs like Bookshare, or for mildly dyslexic people who have difficulty with multisyllabic words but do not need all of the text to be read aloud.

Buy C-Pen Reader , Scanmarker Air , Ectaco C-Pen .

Writing, grammar and spelling

Because dyslexia is a language disorder, difficulties with spelling, grammar and expression are also problems faced by people with dyslexia. Today, two different tools are recommended for children with dyslexia: speech-to-text and word prediction. Such technology has come a long way and is no longer expensive. The built-in dictation tools on devices like phones, iPads, and Google Docs work incredibly well.

The problem is that children may not want to use speech-to-text in class because it interferes with other students or they are embarrassed to go out into the hallway. They can use headphones, but teachers do not always welcome this option during the lesson. Word prediction, spelling and grammatical formatting software, such as those mentioned below, will help with digital writing.

Co:Writer

Co:Writer has been repeatedly named the best writing tool for people with dyslexia and those who have difficulty with handwriting or expression in Facebook groups and experts.

Co:Writer allows you to create libraries of words depending on what you are writing about, or choose from existing ones. For example, you can select the Harry Potter library, and when you start typing H-o-g, Hogwarts will appear. The application also does an excellent job of recognizing phonetic errors, such as blk — black or lfnt — elephant.

The price of this system is quite low — $4.99 per month. In the US, school districts can also purchase a license for a large number of students and, in some places, offer this system free of charge to children in schools. After you install the app, it automatically syncs with Gmail, Google Docs, and many other apps.

Download the application here: Web , IO S, Chrome Extension .

Read and write with Google Chrome browser

The Read & Write feature for Google Chrome uses screen mask (only the readable line is visible), simplification (generalization of complex language) and «speak and print» to convert speech to text . The base browser extension is free, but the premium version includes support for Google Docs, such as multiple selection options for active reading, extract selection, vocabulary table, regular and picture dictionary, and word prediction. According to Google, the premium version is free for teachers and costs $9.9 for an annual subscription for student accounts.

Extension download address: Chrome Extension .

Grammarly

The Grammarly app is a little more than most kids need and is designed for ages 13+. It is a cloud-based program that integrates with Google Docs and has a plugin for Microsoft Word. The great thing about Grammarly is that it takes into account the context surrounding the word and can suggest changing something like your to you’re if needed.

The application also suggests rewording long-winded sentences and adding transitional phrases, which can improve writing. However, the full feature set is not available in the free version. And the premium version costs $29.95 per month or $139.95 per year.

Program Address: Web

Math

Not all people with dyslexia have difficulty with math, so the choice of apps is not as great as the language-based ones. Nevertheless, they are.

Microsoft Math Solver

This free application allows users to write a math problem on the screen or take a picture with the camera. The application then provides an answer and step-by-step instructions on how to arrive at a solution. Students can use this example as a guide for other problems.

The app also has links to interactive graphics and programs like Khan Academy for supporting videos.

References: IOS , Android .

Mod Math

The developers of this application created it for their son who suffers from dyslexia and dysgraphia (severe handwriting disorder). The program provides students with virtual graphics paper and they can use the touch keyboard to solve math problems without using a pencil. Equations will have to be typed on the keyboard, so if the student prefers dictation, this application will not suit him.

Jobs can also be saved in a searchable library. However, Mod Math is better suited for lower grades, where mathematics is studied at a low level. Mod Math is free but only available for Apple devices.

Math Learning Center

Math Learning Center is a collection of applications designed for students in preschool through fifth grade. These apps support what is taught in school and provide additional resources for parents, teachers, and children. All of them are available on the Internet, on IOS and Android operating systems, as well as in English and Spanish. Russian language is not supported.

Website address: Website .

Adapted from WIRED, Inclusive Technology 365, The Dyslexi a Association, Good Sensory Learning.

Stationery devices for children with dyslexia

Stationery devices for children with dyslexia

I have dyslexia

Simple items that help with reading and writing.

We are talking about useful and simple stationery that will greatly simplify the process of teaching a child with dyslexia.

Reading rulers, o limiting cats

Problems with reading printed text are one of the most common in children diagnosed with dyslexia. To isolate the necessary part of the text (for example, only one line or even a word), to focus on it and read, special windows-limiters or frames for reading help. Such frames can be easily made at home from thick cardboard.

Reading rulers work in a similar way to frames. If a child, when reading, either loses a line, or skips individual words, or reads one word several times, then a reading ruler in this case is an excellent solution.

The background color of the ruler can be chosen experimentally: it will be different for each case. For some, blue will work, for others, yellow.

Ruler magnifiers

Ruler magnifiers enlarge a single line in a text, thereby visually capturing it, and greatly facilitate the reading process for children with dyslexia and related learning difficulties.

Stencils with Alphabet and Numbers

Use the color stencils with the alphabet ready for the first writing. With dyscalculia — stencils with numbers. This will help when writing the «naughty» letters, many of which are so similar to each other for a small person with dysfunction. When learning English, you can use a similar device with the English alphabet.

Colored transparent backgrounds

Sometimes the background color can play a decisive role in the perception of printed text. Using the selection method, choose the best option from bright blue, yellow, red, blue, green sheets, that is, the one that works specifically for your case. Sheets can be of different formats, from the smallest to large — A4 and more.

Writing Trainer with embossed tracks

Another simple and convenient device for children who are just learning to write with dyslexia and related learning difficulties.

By alexxlab

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