Students with Dyslexia are one of the most underserved student populations in our schools. When we discuss Universal Design and accessibility for students, we typically forget about students who struggle with text. The International Dyslexia Association has spent time working to help these students and recently shared a Structured Literacy approach that works well with VoiceThread.
[Photo credit: TheDyslexicBook.com.]
Here are some tips for using VoiceThread within a Structured Literacy framework:
“Phonological awareness includes rhyming, counting words in spoken sentence, and clapping syllables in spoken words.”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload slides with sentences and ask students to record themselves reading each syllable and clapping to emphasize the breaks in the sounds.
“Sound-symbol association must be taught and mastered in two directions: visual to auditory (reading) and auditory to visual (spelling).”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload slides with single words or small lists and ask the students to sound out the words using their microphones or webcams. Teachers can upload images instead of text and ask students record text comments spelling the words from the list.
“Syllable division rules heighten the reader’s awareness of where a long, unfamiliar word may be divided for great accuracy in reading the word.”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload slides with words written in text form on a PPT slide. The students can then use the Doodle tool to draw lines between the syllables in the words.
“The Structured Literacy curriculum includes the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes.”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload slides with text showing words that contain prefixes and suffixes. Students can use audio comments and the Doodle tool to explain which parts of the word are suffixes, prefixes and the root word.
“This includes grammar, sentence variation, and the mechanics of language.”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload slides with text and ask the students to record audio or text comments restructuring the sentences using the grammar rules they have learned.
“The curriculum (from the beginning) must include instruction in the comprehension of written language.”
How VoiceThread can help: Teachers can upload short written passages on PPT slides and ask the students to record answers to reading comprehension questions about the text.
While there are many ways to help dyslexic students become more proficient in reading, nothing beats a differentiated approach using visuals, audio and text together.