As students of all ages head back to a very different school year, parents and educators may be looking for support their kids with print disabilities. Here are our top 5 tips to set kids up for success:
Choice is key
Giving kids control over their reading choices allows them to find materials that connect with their interests. Researchers Guthrie and Humenick found that the two most powerful factors for improving reading motivation and comprehension were student access to many books and personal choice over what they can read. CELA’s collection has more than 800,000 titles, including fiction, non-fiction, classroom favourites, magazines and newspapers. There is something for every age and every interest. And it is all available for free.
Make it fun
Engaging in reading in creative ways is an excellent way to give kids opportunities to think about and discuss what they are reading. Awards programs and reading challenges like the Forest of Reading or Canada Reads should be fun for kids to participate in, but if reading print is a barrier it can discourage rather than encourage student participation. CELA works with major awards and reading challenges to ensure we have accessible formats of the featured books available in plenty of time for students to read and participate.
Programs we work with include:
- Forest of Reading
- Canada Reads
- TD Summer Reading Club
- The Festival of Literary Diversity
- Canadian Children’s Book Week
Reinforce that ear reading is reading
Sometimes there are questions about whether ear reading provides the same benefits for education and literacy development. Thankfully, there is evidence that the brain responds to hearing and reading information and stories in very similar ways. Studies published in 2019 and 2016 have studied how the brain reacts to listening and reading. In both cases the studies concluded that there were no significant differences between ear reading and eye reading on the reader’s comprehension or retention and that the way brains map the info is virtually identical. For more information see the following studies (available in English):
Use technology to support fluency
EasyReader is a free app developed by Dolphin that can sync audio files and highlight text so that students follow along as they hear the words. This process can help students develop their vocabulary and fluency skills. The app also allows you to adjust the reading speed so it can work to support all readers.
Reach out for support
There are a number of organizations which provide support, resources and available to families navigating the world of print disabilities. CNIB, Dyslexia Canada, and provincial and local learning disabilities are excellent places start.
Info for Parents
If you have a child with print disabilities, including dyslexia, and are looking for ways to support reading and learning through the coming school year, we invite you to learn more about the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) which offers more than 800,000 books in accessible formats, for free, to those with print disabilities. Find more on our website.