Expert tips on making reading more achievable for dyslexic students
This month, we’re delighted to bring you a newsletter from Malcolm Litten, tutor, trainer and consultant in assistive technology. With over 40 years’ experience teaching English, half of which was in a specialist secondary school for dyslexic students, Malcolm reveals some surprising and valuable information about how schools should be supporting students struggling to master literacy skills.
Statistics tell us that one in 20 children is significantly affected by dyslexia. So in the vast majority of English lessons there are individuals whose ability to read rapidly and accurately is compromised by this condition.
Despite the prevalence of this problem, only a minority of schools have equipped themselves to provide their pupils with a vital tool that can enable them to remain fully engaged in tasks involving reading. Text-to-speech assistive technology can remove the barriers to such pupils coping with any text they are required to read. They can use it to operate independently. The same technology can also serve as an invaluable aid when editing their written work.
Why is it not used in every school in the land? A free version of this technology is available to install, so it is not a question of cost. It seems that ignorance of the possibilities remain widespread. Research has convincingly demonstrated that text-to-speech supported access to texts can alter students’ willingness to remain involved in work they otherwise feel alienated from. Such support, in my view, should be seen as the right of every pupil who struggles to cope with reading. The attached resource provides the information you need to ensure such support is available in your school.