Malcolm Litten, tutor, trainer and consultant in assistive technology offers advice on a range of free tools to help dyslexic students who are struggling to master literacy skills.

by Malcolm Litten
5th August 2019

Statistics tell us that one in 20 children is significantly affected by dyslexia so we are all working with students whose ability to read rapidly and accurately is compromised by this condition.

Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, not every school is equipped to provide their students 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 for dyslexic students who are struggling to cope with the texts they are required to read – and crucially – they can use it to work independently. The same technology can also serve as an invaluable aid when editing their written work.

A free version of this technology is available to install, so there are no cost barriers and every school in the land could and should be using it. 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 student who struggles to cope with reading. I've suggested some ideas in my resource for how you can integrate this tool in your classroom and school. 

(This article was first published on 4/4/16 as a newsletter.) 

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