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Nessy Apps

I’ve had a good play with all the Nessy Apps on my android Smart Ultra 6 phone and they all run pretty smoothly. The Hairy Words apps are particularly good for High Frequency Words. Check out more information on Nessy products.

 

If you use the code ‘red dragon’ at the cart, you’ll get 10% off.

Callum’s Letters

Callum (year 5) is trying really hard to remember all the initial letter sounds and the digraphs sh, ch, th and ck.

He’s doing really well using a format based on multisensory methods and short lesson sessions as advocated by the Catch Up literacy program. I have no commercial interest in Catch Up, but as Callum in his baseline assessment knew 13 initial sounds and ‘ck’ (given that he’s now year 5) I thought I’d try the quite systematic approach Catch Up advocates. Obviously as he has such complex needs, I’ve adapted the program somewhat, using the Nintendo DS and MSPaint as recording mediums and one sound per lesson as well as revising previously learned sounds.

I’ve made him write using his ‘magic’ finger, and the stylus on the Elitebook Tablet. He’s written the letters on the desk, tablet, NGFL_alphabet, Nintendo DSi, the walls, the carpet and paper. I’ll post more as the program unfolds.

He blended a n d today to read ‘and’ and as he blended the sounds to make the word, he exclaimed it like it was the first time he had really read it, rather than remembering the ‘and’ word. ‘I’m getting good at reading now’, was his comment.

After a few weeks he’s now recognising and distinguishing between h, t, sh, n, m and u (which bodes well for the future but it’s early days yet!)

I am convinced he is more motivated and engaged in literacy using the Nintendo DS, NGFL Alphabet and the Paint/Stylus input, time will tell.

dyslexia-friendly classrooms -9 things to try

I’m starting a new job next week as a peripatetic Specific Learning Difficulty and dyslexia teacher. Part of the role will be to give advice to mainstream teachers about things they can do in the classroom to help those with SpLD, dyslexia and literacy delay.

Here are just a couple of ideas that people perhaps could use to take down some of those barriers to learning for the pupil with literacy hurdles.

  • Use enlarged photocopies of any small texts to be used.
  • If texts are electronic, different background colours can sometimes help the words ‘stop jumping around’. Pale yellow, pale blue have worked for me. Or high-contrast like pale yellow text on black, see what works.
  • Also, photocopying onto pastel shade paper might help.

yellowblack

blueblack * more info here and here

  • Use a font with a single story ‘a’, rather than a double story ‘a’ as this can be inverted with ‘e’ by some dyslexics and cause confusion. This font is SassoonCRInfant but there are others.
  • Some scanners will turn text into editable text via OCR software, the text can then easily be changed, e.g. enlarging and/or changing the font.
  • There are free screen-readers, here that will read highlighted text although the text-to-speech reader in Clicker5 for example highlights each word as it is spoken, the English accent speech engine is very good too.
  • Those using Internet Explorer can use Bing Translator to act as a Text-To-Speech engine. Highlight some text (not too much, I don’t know the character capacity of it), insert into the left-hand side of Bing Translator, set it to translate into English, and a little speaker will appear and read the text. Helpful for short paragraphs.
  • Word banks with topic-specific words can be helpful posted onto walls, and can be added to.
  • Voice recorders, such as the Easi-speak microphone, the voice record function on the iPod or iPhone etc or simply the sound recorder in the accessories in different operating systems can be used to orally record work/responses, useful for those that have trouble writing down thoughts and ideas.

Ok, those are just some ideas that you might find useful if you’ve got pupils or students with dyslexia, SpLD or general literacy delay.

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