Technology is constantly creating new tools for students with learning differences. Microsoft Word’s most recent version now contains Read Aloud, a feature that is especially helpful to people with dyslexia:
The Read Aloud feature in Word can read text aloud with simultaneous highlighting, increase text spacing and break words into syllables to promote concentration and comprehension, and includes the ability to easily change speed and voice, while interacting with text or highlights and making edits in real-time.
Having the computer read aloud helps students with dyslexia read more fluently, freeing up brainpower for comprehension. Listening to an audiobook has the same effect, but now any text, including the student’s own writing, can be read aloud. I know that having my computer read what I have written makes editing much easier.
The video below demonstrates the how to activate and use the Read Aloud feature.
Technology that facilitates reading, writing, and editing is crucial for students with dyslexia. To help students make the most of technology, be sure to provide explicit instruction in how to use these tools and how they can fit into strategic approaches for completing homework, papers, and projects.
Let us know in the comments what you think of these types of assistive technology features. Do your students find them helpful or not?
- Elizabeth Ross, M.A., SMARTS Media Manager