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Apps for Dyslexic, ESOL and slow readers at Intermediate

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Started by Heather Harper 09 May 2013 10:22am () Replies (4)

I have just been asked by the special needs support staff if I know any good APPs that would be suitable for low Intermediate students. These students could be Dyslexic, learning difficulties... However at this age it is hard to find suitable material to "hook them in". If anyone has some suggestions and resources I would love to be able to pass them on to the special needs staff at my school.


  • Patrick Pink (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 11:49am ()

    Kia ora, Heather,

    There is a wealth of information online around ideas, approaches and strategies that can offer young people with diverse learning styles means to access information, engage with information and create with information.  It can be challenging for everyone involved trying to discover the 'hooks' or what it is that engages young people who have diverse learning styles.  

    Beginning with the young person's strengths and interest allows us teachers to better know and understand our students.  From knowing our students' strengths and interests and those areas of challenge, we can best scaffold learning that allows for success as well as extend for further learning.  There are various approaches, strategies, tools and technologies out there that can offer assistance with access, engagement and creativity.

    Some of these include:

    Real world learning or project based learning is an educational approach aimed at making learning more applicable to life outside the classroom. It asks students to engage with authentic, experiential questions and challenges them with thoughtfully designed projects and tasks.

    Assistive technology and Apps can help with access and offers a way for young people with diverse learning styles and challenges to save time and overcome some of the issues they may encounter, such as slow note taking or unreadable handwriting, and allows them to use their time for all the things in which they are gifted. 

    Stories and narratives can also provide opportunties to share experiences and insights when working with young people with diverse learning styles and challenges.  Building self-esteem and concept can play a huge role when engaging all learners.

    Hope this helps  

  • Heather Harper (View all users posts) 09 May 2013 11:58am ()

    Thanks Patricia. Great feedback and I will pass this on to the Special needs team. I think you hit the mark as well when you mention "Wealth of Information"  as that can be the overwhelming issue trying to sift and sort through to find specific Apps. I know one of the team mentioned the time involved searching for resources...

    Hopefully they may find what they need through these links. Thanks again.

  • Roxy Hickman (View all users posts) 10 May 2013 3:49pm ()

    Hi Heather, 

    You are right - sifting through the apps can be an enormous task, and why try and reinvent the wheel when others have already taken the time to do some of the sorting for you! 

    These are some of my favourite go-to sites that offer ideas for supporting literacy development in a range of ways and hooks. They have some apps that are age appropriate for older students and students with special education needs. 

    I agree with Patrick that to know the strengths and interests of your learner is vital to find the right approach(es) to their learning.

    It is so very easy to be captured by the App store (and go off on a complete tangent). So when I am looking for apps for a specific purpose:

    • I have the specific student learning outcomes in front of me. 
    • A list of brainstormed keywords that might lead me in the right direction (more input from other people the better the list)
    • I use YouTube to preview the App in action and how the settings can be manipulated to scaffold learning as the student makes progress.
    • I also use an App Evaluation Rubric to help decide on how the student outcomes are being supported by the most relevant Apps.  You could tailor this rubric to meet your needs:App Evaluation Rubric

    Dyslexia Quest One particular App that I like the look of is Dyslexia Quest. I am really curious about it's use with dyslexic students (since I haven't had anyone that it has been quite suitable for). Rather than focussing on letters and words it develops: working memory, auditory memory, visual memory, sequencing skills, processing speed and phonological awareness in a game based learning scenario.

    If you do try this one, I would be interested in your feedback and stories of using it with students. 


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