How to boost our dyslexic students’ reading skills
If you have followed this blog for a while you will know by now how much we have always relied on Graded Readers to improve students’ reading abilities, and today we are adding an element of inclusivity with barrier-free education tools.
Reading texts can be an exhausting challenge for dyslexic students for various reasons (difficulties with spelling, slowness, additional time needed) and fortunately, most graded readers come with audio files for students to Read and Listen to their stories simultaneously.
In class we usually take the time at the beginning of a new course to choose two readers as an «extensive reading» project and the unexpected happened last year when I became that «unlucky teacher» to have witnessed how her A1 students voted for their two favourites to complete their annual graded readers tasks and then found out that the two came without audio files. It took me some research time to find out how RoboBraille could ease our dyslexic students’ work. RoboBraille is this resource available free of charge «to support and promote self-sufficiency of people with special needs socially» that helped me convert our comic strip pdf into MP3 file, which was an useful aid for my exceptional student Robert. Other helpful tools like Immersive Reader were also appreciated during tutorial sessions with Robert.
Remember what works for dyslexic students helps absolutely all students!
So what I did with the reader provided in pdf format for me in my Oxford Premium Library was follow these four easy steps:
- Upload the document into RoboBraille (you can use this tool to convert related digital resources provided on your OP platform, like after reading activities in word format or tests)
- Select the target format (I chose MP3 out of the four options),
- Specify the audio options (target language and speed),
- Enter email address to have the conversion delivered in my inbox.
Robert was invited to deliver an alternative audio format to the mainstream classroom final written task using the free creative storytelling platform PechaKucha but he found GoogleSlides more friendly which was also good!
RoboBraille is a web and email service capable of converting documents into a range of accessible formats including Braille, mp3, e-books, DAISY Digital Talking Book and otherwise inaccessible documents such as scanned images and pdf files into more accessible formats. In addition to the traditional email-interface it is available via the web form at robobraille.org
RoboBraille was invented in 2004 by Lars Ballieu Christensen, a computer scientist and social entrepreneur and Svend Thougaard, an alternate media specialist. The system was developed in Denmark with the assistance of the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, United Kingdom, launched in June 2006 and the winner of a British Computer Society Social Contribution Project Award in 2007. RoboBraille has received prestigious awards ever since in recognition of its contribution to inclusive and barrier-free education.
Four main categories of services are offered:
- Braille services = translation to and from Braille.
- Audio services = all document types listed in the previous section may be converted into mp3 files.
- E-Book services = most document types listed above may be converted into popular e-book formats.
- Accessibility services = otherwise inaccessible documents such as image files as well as all types of pdf files can be converted to more accessible formats.
Institutional use by academic institutions is available through SensusAccess