Low Tech Reading Supports
Reading and literacy is a primary focus of education for most of elementary school. As students progress into middle school and high school, educators tend to function under the belief that most, if not all, students are capable of learning and comprehending through visual reading. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many students, and we need to both broaden our definition of reading and literacy to include alternative forms of reading, as well as provide assistive technology supports. With these supports in place, we can greatly increase the comprehension rates of students and help them become more successful learners.
While some students require high tech supports, many students benefit from simple, low-tech supports to be successful readers. Many of these are available in classrooms already and can be used or adapted as Assistive Technology supports for reading.
Highlighting lines of text on a page or in a book help students with visual tracking and keep the eye’s focus on the correct line. It also aids in students finding information easily if they need to look away and then back at the page, such as when taking notes, etc.
Colored overlays can help relax the eyes and help bring letters into focus for students who struggle with the visual piece of reading.
Lists of frequently used words and definitions and/or pictures of the word’s meaning
An index card, with a small cut out is a simple tachistoscope, and can help students with reading by allowing them to focus on one word or phrase at a time.
Changes in lighting
Simple changes in light and how light hits the page can help students with reading. If they are struggling to see clearly, the correct lighting can help drastically. Eliminating glare and providing bright clear light is key.
Magnified or enlarged text
Enlarging text or using a magnification tool makes small text easier to see so the focus can be on reading and not discerning letters.
Move-able tape in highlighted colors that allow students to put temporary highlights into books.
Post-it notes are a cheap and easy tool for marking lines in text and for covering up words or portions of words for students who may be sounding the words out.
Ruler or straight edge
Using a ruler or other straight edge can be helpful in keeping track of the line of text a student is reading.