Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids and Teens

It is known by many that the use of e-books can offer real benefits to children who struggle to read for a variety of reasons. The ability to adjust e-page backgrounds to other colors than white, change font sizes and more can often help challenged readers with such issues as visual fatigue, convergence insufficiency and other issues. In addition, just one e-reader can contain and offer an entire family a smorgasbord of book titles to satisfy a variety of children's (and parents') reading needs---from books for emergent readers to mysteries appropriate for teen readers and others.

In this post, we wanted to provide some FREE e-book resources to offer families who wish to promote literacy in their homes for all ages of children. We hope you will value and perhaps even save the link to this page as a future reference for all your family's e-reading needs.

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids & Teens

Open e-Books-This program does require parents to reach out to a teacher, librarian, or other eligible person to sign up for First Book. This will then allow parents to obtain a code that will give each child access to 10 books at a time via the FREE Open e-Books app. This excellent program is available to low-income families with kids ages 4-18 and it is filled with books that are still in copyright – which means a large collection of bestsellers and contemporary titles. Worth the time to take a look!
http://openebooks.net/

International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL)-The non-profit ICDL Foundation’s library has evolved into the world’s largest digital collection of children’s books. Currently, its digital library collection includes 4,619 books in 59 languages. The complete ICDL collection is also available as a FREE iPad app. A limited number of titles are included in the FREE ICDL iPhone app. The ICDL also created the FREE Story Kit app that helps users create their own electronic storybooks for reading and sharing. http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

Library of Congress-The Library of Congress’ selection of digitized books includes illustrated children’s classics for readers of all ages. The Library of Congress also makes available millions of primary sources for FREE online. To assist educators in teaching with primary sources, the Library offers classroom materials to help teachers engage students with content and develop critical thinking skills.
http://www.read.gov/books/

Best Free Children's e-Books Online-This is a listing of 234 sites that legally offer FREE e-books for children to read.
https://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-childrens-ebooks-online.htm

Best FREE Kindle e-Books for Children-FREE classic Kindle e-book titles for kids from Goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21465.Best_FREE_Kindle_Ebooks_for_Children_

FREE Kindle e-Books for Teens-This is a PDF document from tcea.org with clickable links to FREE e-books for teens ready to be read on a Kindle. (May also be read on other devices with the free Kindle app. Please see link below under Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy.)
https://www.tcea.org/documents/PD/Free%20Kindle%20eBooks%20for%20Teens.pdf


epic! (30-day FREE trial-Instantly access 25,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes & more for kids 12 & under.
https://www.getepic.com/

Bookshare-A FREE program supported by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs that provides FREE reading materials to anyone who has a print disability that keeps them from reading traditional print materials. An eligible Bookshare member would be someone with a visual impairment, a physical disability that impinges on reading ability, or a learning disability.
https://www.bookshare.org/cms/bookshare-me

Project Gutenberg-Project Gutenberg has 50,000 free ebooks to download or read online. These are books whose copyright has expired, so while they are not “trending,” they do include many classics.
http://www.gutenberg.org/

Online Books Page at University of Pennsylvania-Although a bit of a bugger to navigate, the Online Books Page at the University of Penn has an amazing collection of kids literature available! The link provided will take you to the children’s bookshelf, however you can browse by alphabetical listing or even search to discover new topics!
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/browse?type=lcsubc&key=Children%27s%20books

Books Should Be Free-Perfect for introducing a child who is not yet reading or who enjoys listening to stories to literature! Books Should Be Free offers a wide selection of FREE audio and e-books including many of the classics. They also have e-book formats for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Sony Reader and laptops.
For Children: http://www.loyalbooks.com/genre/Children
For Teens & Young Adults: http://www.loyalbooks.com/genre/Teen_Young_adult

BookBub-FREE e-books for teens and young adults (requires submission of email address for registration)
https://www.bookbub.com

FREE e-Books for Kids-A collection of FREE e-books for children from Amazon (for Kindle). The selections available may be FREE for a limited time. It is advisable to check daily for new FREE titles. See left sidebar on web page for various genres and topics currently available at no cost.
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=free+ebooks+for+kids&tag=geminimobiles-20&index=digital-text&hvadid=22381588&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_62sj6d2bod_e

MeeGenius-MeeGenius makes it easy to keep your child reading by offering hundreds of e-books including classics, MeeGenius originals, and partner content from Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, and P.D. Eastman. Starting out as an iPad/iPhone app, MeeGenius has been a favorite of many families for years! While not all e-books are available for FREE, there's a wide variety of FREE e-books.
http://www.meegenius.com/

Oxford Owl Free e-Book Library-Oxford Owl has a great variety of books for kids ages 3–11. The books marked with an ‘e’ are the FREE books. The site has some really amazing features like offering activity ideas that go with the books. With some books in the youngest (ages 3–5) and oldest (ages 9–11) age groups, there aren’t any words shown on the screen. You only hear the story. Nevertheless, this is a good site if you’re looking for access to stories (both fiction & non-fiction) for a variety of ages. https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/home/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page

Kids World Fun-An enjoyable array of FREE, animated books!
http://www.kidsworldfun.com/ebooks.php

Children’s Books Online-This Rosetta Project site is an online library of antique illustrated children’s books. Selections are indexed by reading level: pre-reader, emergent reader, intermediate reader, advanced reader, adult reader & foreign language reader.
http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/library.htm

Classic Reader-Classic Reader is an excellent place to find FREE classic e-books. The site has a special section for young readers with more than 200 of the world’s best loved classics.
http://www.classicreader.com/browse/3/title/

Magic Keys-This site offers FREE illustrated e-books for children of all ages. Storybooks are separated into three categories: young children, older children, and young adult. Other site offerings include online games, jigsaw puzzles, and interactive coloring pages.
http://www.magickeys.com/books/

Read Print-The Read Print library hosts thousands of FREE e-books and poems, many of which are suitable for children. Most of the books on Read Print are classics, such as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
http://www.readprint.com/

Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy

Read Ups-A great site for older children who want to find, read, and discuss books. The site allows you to read books on the site or import books from the web or your hard drive. Read Up books can be read alone or with a group of people. The site does require a Twitter account.
http://www.readups.com/

FREE Kindle Reading App- You can install this very useful yet FREE app on most devices (iPad, Mac, PC, Android, etc.) so that the device "becomes" a Kindle in function. We have the Kindle app installed on our PCs here in the office and use it daily. The number of FREE e-books that can be found for your Kindle on Amazon.com (in the daily deals section) is almost endless!
https://www.amazon.com/kindle-app/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akindle%20app

Sources:

How to Find Free e-Books for Kids — Copyrighted Titles Included!
http://parentingchaos.com/finding-free-ebooks-for-kids/

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

11 Homework Tips to Help Kids with ADHD (and Others, too!)

For many children, homework is not a favorite word or activity. In fact, it is often the one word that causes more conflict than most during the school year for both students and their parents. When the issue of ADHD is also introduced into the mix, homework can become the catalyst for much angst in a home. So, what are parents to do? Should they immediately talk with their child's teacher to seek assistance? Should punishment be a method of making the child complete the homework assigned? Would some other approach be advisable?

It is always a good idea to discuss concerns about your child her teachers, but the idea of using punishment rarely solves any problem long-term. In fact, it can often create more problems than it solves. Punishment related to homework also does little to build a good parent/child relationship. Positive incentives for behavior modification are nearly always a good idea, especially when those incentives are chosen by the child and approved by the parent. Ownership of the issue is more readily accepted and then addressed by the child.

There are other strategies that can assist parents with problems related to on-time homework completion. We thought at the beginning of this new school year a list of such strategies might be helpful to many, especially to those parents of children with ADHD who struggle to focus and follow through with tasks in a timely manner---both inside and outside of the classroom. We hope you will discover at least one or two in this list of tips or strategies to help you and your child create a peaceful AND productive environment for homework at your house!

Helpful Homework Strategies for Kids with ADHD (and Others)

1. Consistency is important. Arrange for your child to study and complete class assignments in the same room or location each day. A desk or table where minimal distractions can occur is advised (a corner of a room with the student facing that corner is a good option).

2. Set aside a specific amount of time for homework each weekday. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that for each grade level, 10 minutes of homework is reasonable (i.e., for a student in grade 4, approximately 40 minutes of homework would be appropriate.) If your child finishes early, he or she can then read, write a thank you note to relatives or play an educational game online or offline.

3. Use a timer for the period set aside for homework. This will be one way to help your child focus more effectively since the timer will give the child a good sense of how much time tasks might take to complete.

4. Help your child develop a good and positive mindset for the homework tasks. If the child is tired or stressed (especially during periods in the late afternoon after school dismissal), allow some time for her to relax, have a snack to help replenish energy levels, play outside or indoors or listen to soothing music to help decompress BEFORE tackling the homework assignments.

5. If needed, step in to slow down the rate at which your child is attempting to complete the homework. Ask him questions like, "Will your teacher be able to read your work?" or "Do you think you are doing your best work there?" Notice that these questions are phrased not to reflect YOUR opinion but that of others. Asking such questions will help your child develop better reading and study habits going forward.

6. Encourage your child to review her work, both for content accuracy (expression of ideas/answers, spelling, etc.) and handwriting clarity (penmanship, etc.) This will no doubt not only improve the quality of that homework but also raise your child's sense of pride in work well done.

7. Help your child break down assignments into chunks or a series of smaller tasks (in a list format with perhaps only 2 revealed at a time.) This approach can be invaluable for large and long-term assignments. For such projects, remember to establish a timeline that is reviewed every few days to confirm progress and timeliness of completing smaller goals of the assignment. This will help to affirm your child and establish accountability for her.

8. Provide assistance and resources for your child when answers are not forthcoming or there appears to be a struggle of some kind. Depending on what you observe, this could mean a trip to your local public library for reference materials, etc., a computer session with your child locating needed resources for an assignment or other activity with your child to help explain an important concept. In some cases, you may need to advocate for your child. This may become an opportunity to seek out more specific accommodations or other resources from your child's teacher, a reading specialist or even a medical professional for an evaluation of the learning challenges you observe.

9. Remind your child of his strengths and de-emphasize (but don't forget) weaknesses. This will him help approach the homework tasks with more confidence and help boost self-esteem, too.

10.Use color coding in as many ways as possible to help with the reading, study and organization of assignments. Ask your child to write down every assignment in one place. For older, high school students who have phones, request that they record their assignments in the phone or send themselves a text message with the assignment complete with due date.

11.Provide your child with a 2-pocket folder for his completed work. This folder can be used for this folder for any school papers you need to sign as well.

Sources

8 Tips to Help Grade-Schoolers with Learning and Attention Issues Slow Down on Homework-by Kate Kelly, Understood.org
https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/8-tips-to-help-grade-schoolers-with-learning-and-attention-issues-slow-down-on-homework?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3JWZ5OnA1gIVgSSGCh0bCQNNEAAYASAAEgLMYvD_BwE

10 Homework Tips for ADHD Children-by Eileen Bailey, HealthCentral.com
http://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/10-homework-tips-adhd-children#slide=10

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BEST Literacy Apps for More Reading and Spelling Success!

There was a time in the world of education when teachers utilized flashcards and ringed charts filled with sight words to help improve reading skills and student literacy. Those very low-tech and no-tech approaches to reading success were appropriate for their time but not all that stimulating and engaging as some of the tech resources currently have available to educators and the students they serve.

Today, we have tech hardware and software applications for literacy that grab student attention and keep them engaged, resulting in better skill building, improved comprehension and increased retention of content read by those students. We have been gifted with tablet and desktop programs that can help kids zero in on the exact text needing to be read. We also have applications available for the classroom and home use that can help support readers easily overwhelmed by too much text on a digital page. In addition, there are spelling apps that make learning new words much less tedious than in years past.

In this article at the beginning of a new school year, we wanted to provide the latest in reading and spelling apps for students in today's classroom. For your benefit and that of the students or children you serve, we have gathered such a list here to help you address the needs of challenged spellers and readers. We hope you will find this list not only helpful now at the start of the new school year but will keep it handy for use throughout the entire year. Happy Reading and Spelling, everyone!

Apps to Help Challenged Readers and Spellers

1. Top 10 Spelling Apps by Reading Rockets
(Various prices w/ 1 FREE app)
http://www.readingrockets.org/pdfs/Top-10-Spelling-Apps.pdf

2. Beginning Spelling App for Word Study by This Reading Mama
($4.99-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod)
https://thisreadingmama.com/beginning-spelling-app-word-study/

3. VocabularySpellingCity by SpellingCity
(FREE-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch)
For Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/spellingcity/id538407602?mt=8
For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spellingcity.VocabularySpellingCity

4. Spelling Applications-compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Some FREE & various prices for Android & Apple)
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/apps/topic/spelling

5. Reading & Spelling Programs -compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Various prices for Android & Apple)
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/reading-programs

6. The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App ($5.99-for Macs & PCs)
http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

As educators and parents, it is prudent to consider research-based or evidence-based resources when assisting students in any way. This is even more critical when helping challenged readers and learners.

In this article, we wanted to provide the most up-to-date research-based resources to help the many adults who serve populations with dyslexia, ADHD and other LD. We have listed them here with direct links for your convenience. Please know that every child is unique, exhibiting individual behaviors and specific needs. Discovering the BEST resources, techniques and interventions for an individual child or student of any age may take time, patience and extended efforts in order to increase the possibility of good outcomes.

Special Note: It is suggested that teachers, tutors, programs, and schools provide specific, evidence-based techniques. We also recommend that these techniques be discussed at follow-up meetings after student evaluations and/or assessments. This does not mean or guarantee that these techniques will result in a positive outcome in all cases. There are too many variables involved to provide any kind of guarantee of success. We also do not receive any financial or other exchange benefit from making specific recommendations. We sincerely want to provide our professional opinion about what may be an effective intervention for your child. This is not a complete list. There are many other effective techniques which we are continually discovering.

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

Interventions for Challenged Readers

1. Orton-Gillingham Techniques for Dyslexia
Of all the reading programs specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds, Orton–Gillingham was the first. Today—decades later—many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas based on a multi-sensory approach to reading and learning.
https://www.orton-gillingham.com/

2. Tools for Unfocused, Overwhelmed and Other Readers w/ LD

a. Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759)
Low-tech tools for reading physical books, documents and other printed media
http://www.focusandread.com/products

b. Reading Focus Cards App (Patent 8,360,779)
Digital tool for Macs and Windows PCs that allows readers to more easily and more comfortably remain focused on digital media--both online and offline (for web pages, digital documents and more)
For Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12
For Windows PCs: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

Instruction Techniques for Dyscalculia (Math Learning Disabilities)

1. The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project
UCSMP has created a curriculum for students from pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. UCSMP materials, including Everyday Mathematics for Grades preK-6 and seven UCSMP textbooks for use in Grades 6-12 mathematics (Pre-Transition Mathematics; Transition Mathematics; Algebra; Geometry; Advanced Algebra; Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; and Precalculus and Discrete Mathematics), are being used currently by an estimated 4.5 million students in elementary and secondary schools in every state and virtually every major urban area. (Usiskin) We find that these techniques are appropriate for children with strong visual memory, language, and fluid reasoning ability. They are not as effective with children who are concrete learners and who need foundational memorization of facts and consistent scope and sequence of skills.
http://ucsmp.uchicago.edu/about/overview/

2. Connected Mathematics
CMP is a problem-centered curriculum promoting an inquiry-based teaching-learning classroom environment. Mathematical ideas are identified and embedded in a sequenced set of tasks and explored in depth to allow students to develop rich mathematical understandings and meaningful skills.
https://connectedmath.msu.edu/

3. Saxon Math (for Elementary Students w/ Math LD)
Saxon takes an incremental approach to math, introducing a new skill or principle each day, then reviewing these concepts and skills day after day for weeks. This approach helps build students’ confidence in their ability to “do” math successfully. Students who have used this program receive consistently high scores on standardized math tests. We find this technique to be successful with concrete, sequential learners who need memorization, review, and scope and sequence learning.
http://www.hmhco.com/shop/education-curriculum/math/saxon-math

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) (for Middle to Sec. Students w/ Math LD)

1. I Can Learn
A full-curriculum mathematics software solution that is a self-paced, mastery-based technology fully aligned to Common Core State Standards for math grades 5th through algebra and allows for effective differentiated instruction in a positive learning environment.
http://www.icanlearn.com/

2. Accelerated Math
Students must learn to think critically—like mathematicians—in order to master math. Accelerated Math keeps students working—and thinking—to solve a set of 6 problems before they see which ones they missed. The right amount of productive struggle helps students learn.
http://www.renaissance.com/products/practice/accelerated-math/

Assistive Materials for Dysgraphia

1. Stem sentences, essay templates and graphic organizers for dysgraphia
http://storey.weebly.com/graphic-organizers-and-writing-templates.html

2. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings (Second Edition)
http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294986798

3. High School Essay Templates
http://writewellapp.com/high-school-essay-templates-and-formats

4. Elementary School – Sentence Generators
http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/

5. More Stem Sentences
https://www.pinterest.com/explore/sentence-stems/

6. Handwriting without Tears
http://www.hwtears.com/hwt

Sources

Evidenced-Based Intervention Techniques for Dyslexia, Learning Disorders, and ADHD-from Turning Point Assessments
https://iqtestingdenver.com/2017/05/31/evidenced-based-intervention-techniques-for-dyslexia-learning-disorders-and-adhd/

Orton–Gillingham: What You Need to Know-by Peggy Rosen and Understood.org
https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/orton-gillingham-what-you-need-to-know

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Fluency Results in Improved Reading Rate, Comprehension and Retention, too!

Most educators know that a variety of skills come together to enable a student to read and so so proficiently. Those same educators will cite the specific reading skills required for this to be accomplished.

The right tools, strategies and teaching techniques can make all the difference in successfully developing and improving these skills in emergent as well as experienced readers. The following is a list of basic or primary reading skills needed for effective reading to result:

Primary Reading Skills

1. Phonics: To know the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language is essential for reading.

2. Word recognition: Many common words in English, such as "the" and "one," do not fit the normal phonics rules, so your child will need to memorize them.

3. Fluency: To read fluently, your child must not only be able to recognize words instantly, but also be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks.

4. Spelling and writing: Your child increases his knowledge of how print works when he spells and writes on his own. When he sees each letter, he learns to associate a sound with it. At first he may write "book" as bk — because he hears the /b/ and /k/ sounds. With instruction, he learns correct spelling.

5. Comprehension: To read, your child must understand the meaning of the words. She builds comprehension when she discusses what she thinks a book will be about and summarizes what happened in a story. Her understanding increases as her vocabulary expands.

In this article, our focus in on fluency (#3 above). We wanted to provide resources and information to help with the improvement of this all-important reading skill of recognizing words instantly and dividing them into meaningful chunks. Developing fluency does not simply require the teacher or parent to "force feed" a group of words or text to a child. It most definitely does not involve "speed reading" or increasing the rate of the words viewed by a reader, which many software programs attempt to do. The teaching of fluency requires specific activities and resources to encourage a child to attack the text needing to be read.

In a 2011 focus study of secondary students who were challenged readers, it was found that when implementing the appropriate strategies and tools, reading fluency improves, which in turn significantly improved the student' reading rate and comprehension. For more information on this study, please visit this link.

So, in our attempt to help parents and teachers with the development and improvement of reading fluency, we have provided here a list of resources and links to assist you. We hope you will discover that the following links will help your child or students do just that---Improve fluency so that reading rate and comprehension will follow. In the end, retention of what has been read will also be positively impacted with these improvements.

Reading Fluency Resources

Fluency Resources for Reading - from Brennan Innovators, LLC
70+ reading fluency resources all in one place
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/fluency-resources-for-reading/

Reading Fluency Activities - by ReadingResource.net
The FREE reading fluency activities on this page are essential for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. These activities can be taught in the classroom (small and large group setting) and can also be implemented at home! Keep checking this page for more free printable reading fluency activities and other ways to increase reading fluency!
http://www.readingresource.net/readingfluencyactivities.html

A Complete Guide to Reading Fluency- from Scholastic
Videos, activities, strategies and more to help develop and improve reading fluency.
http://teacher.scholastic.com/resources/fluency/

Sources

Breaking the Code: Primary Grade Reading Skills---by Scholastic
http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/milestones-expectations/breaking-code-primary-grade-reading-skills

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Get 'Em In-Gear for a Great School Year!

The summer vacation time has always been a great season to reconnect with family and friends at a much more leisurely pace. Travel and enjoyable activities both indoors and in the sun can do much to help all of us recreate and refresh. This is especially true for children who have a chance during the summer months to experience important downtime, allowing for more creativity and reading for enjoyment than during the much more structured school year.

However, how can we best get them ready for late August or early September when the new school year begins? There are a few ways parents can do this, ways that are relatively painless and that may even go unnoticed by the children! Here are a few great ways to start the ball rolling to get your kids in-gear to begin the new school year:

GREAT Ways to Get Kids In-Gear for the New School Year

1. Get the children to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule. However, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine: start the transition now to earlier wake-up times and bedtimes. Structure and consistency are very important here.

2. Provide for healthy meals. Hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning, so good nutrition plays an important role in your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program (see link below for additional information).

3. Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.

4. Read Together. Take the pledge to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together. Change it up and promote variety by including read-alouds, sustained and independent silent reading and discussions about what you read. Do it TOGETHER!

5. Talk about and discuss ways to manage or limit school stress. If you or your children are overly anxious about performance in school, work through your negative beliefs, especially the beliefs about the implications of school failure. Challenge those negative thoughts that the worth of a person or future prospects hinge entirely on academic grades. Good performance will be achieved only when you and your children manage or overcome your fears and discover your own personal worth.

6. Set goals. Enjoy setting goals for your children and yourself, so weaknesses can be transcended and full potentials can be reached. Study goals must be realistic and achievable. For example, encourage small steps to reach higher targets.

7. Motivate the need to learn. Achieving some goals will certainly motivate children to reach more challenging targets. Another motivating factor would be to understand that a child works primarily for herself and her future career. Apart from the external rewards that parents may promise, a child or teen must understand that studying well is an opportunity for self-development and personal improvement.

8. Provide interesting learning opportunities that engage your child. To encourage your children or teens to prepare for the new school year, expose them to activities that inspire them to learn about things that interest them. A visit to a museum in a particular area of interest for the child is a place to start. A day trip to several libraries outside your usual locale can also be a good idea. Look into library and civic programs that may be offered over the summer months at little or even no cost.

Additional Important Tips for Parents

1. Communicate with teachers and the school. Contact your child’s teachers at the start of the school year. Get acquainted with them and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student to learn and grow. Plan to keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress throughout the school year. And, consider serving on your local PTA or joining other parent groups that engage with and support your child’s school.

2. Take your child to the doctor, and make sure your child has health insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So, check your state’s immunization requirements (see link below for additional information). And, always keep your own copies of any medical records.

Sources & Resources

Get in Gear for the New School Year: Back-to-School Tips for Parents by ed.gov
https://blog.ed.gov/2013/08/get-in-gear-for-the-new-school-year-back-to-school-tips-for-parents/

Eight tips to start the new school year by My English Pages
http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/reading-tips-for-new-school-year-start.php

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
https://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp

State Vaccination Requirements
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/laws/state-reqs.html

For information about tools & resources for children & teens with reading challenges, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tools and Strategies to Help Unfocused, Overwhelmed and Visually-Fatigued Readers

There is no doubt that in today's world, most of us are often unfocused, inattentive and overwhelmed as a result of the amount of reading required of us each day. There was a time (and not that very long ago!) that we were not faced with a hundred emails in our inbox, various "white" papers needing our attention and attached digital documents requiring review and signatures. Needless to say, that has all changed, AND these kinds of digital media vie daily for our attention in addition to the physical media demanding our readers' eyes. To say the least, we are fast becoming immersed in text 24/7. Is there any wonder that we feel overwhelmed by it all?

Then, for a moment, imagine a challenged reader who also struggles with ADHD, dyslexia or another reading issue, too. This individual is frequently overwhelmed and often unfocused even BEFORE attempting to read. What can the average amount of media currently presented daily cause for such a reader? The result is much more challenge and struggle than many of us can visualize.

There are ways to manage such focus and overwhelm issues with large (or small) amounts of reading or text. Sometimes the right tools can make all the difference for a number of readers. For others, it might be a particular tool, focusing strategy (or combination of tools and strategies), resulting in more attentive reading with better comprehension and retention.

We have gathered here a list of resources that include BOTH tools and strategies for such readers. In fact, most readers could benefit from knowing about these resources for those times when they are fatigued or just have too much reading to accomplish in a specific time period.

We hope these resources will help you or someone you know who struggles with focus and overwhelm when reading!

Other Resources to Help with Focus and Overwhelm

How to Stay Focused: Train Your Brain from Entrepreneur
Amid the noise, understanding your brain’s limitations and working around them can improve your focus and increase your productivity. This article will provide some tips for how to do that.
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225321

The RIGHT Strategies Get the Job Done for Challenged Readers w/ ADHD & Others
Refer to this set of specific strategies often, and then match the appropriate strategies to every reading situation in order to improve focusing and tracking skills as well as overall reading success.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-right-strategies-get-job-done-for.html

Distracted Reading in the Digital Age by Elizabeth Randolph and Vassar
This article describes how an English professor and a librarian help students focus and read with more success.
https://vq.vassar.edu/issues/2015/01/features/distracted-reading.html

Strategies and Accommodations for Challenged Readers
This web page provides a FREE downloadable list of strategies to help unfocused and overwhelmed, challenged readers of all ages.
http://www.focusandread.com/learning-strategies

Kindle & Reading Focus Cards Apps Work TOGETHER to Help ADHD & Dyslexic Readers Succeed!
The combination of these two desktop apps can work together to provide more FOCUS and less OVERWHELM than any other tech device for ADHD or dyslexia.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-kindle-and-reading-focus-cards-apps.html

10 Bible Verses For When You Feel Overwhelmed by Rachel Wojo
Sometimes, the best remedy for feeling overwhelmed is reading God’s Word. The article here may be a simple post, but it is a beeline of verses that might hit the heart of the matter and could be just what the doctor ordered.
http://rachelwojo.com/10-bible-verses-for-when-you-feel-overwhelmed/

18 Tips to Support Dyslexics & Other Challenged Readers
This article offers readers a list of 18 tips to help and support the challenged reader(s) in your family or in your classroom.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2017/02/18-tips-to-support-dyslexics-and-other.html

Feeling Overwhelmed is a Common Anxiety Symptom by CalmClinic
Feeling overwhelmed is perhaps the most common symptom of anxiety, and it can actually affect you on a very base level. This resource from CalmClinic will provide some ideas to help you manage the anxiety of being overwhelmed.
http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/feeling-overwhelmed

Low-tech Reading Focus Cards - Customizable reading tools for physical books, documents & other applications (From $16.95)
http://www.focusandread.com/products

Reading Focus Cards App - Virtual index card-like reading tool to aid visual focus, tracking, fluency, comprehension & retention---infinitely customizable (Mac, PC-$5.99)
http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

OpenDyslexic - Font designed by Abbie Gonzalez to ease visual aspects of reading for dyslexia (FREE)
http://opendyslexic.org/

For more information about tools & resources for children & teens with ADHD, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Best ADHD Resources on a Budget

As parents and educators, we know that attention issues are more prevalent than they should be for the estimated 11% of children 4-17 years of age who have ever been diagnosed with ADHD (as of 2011, statistics provided by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). That's right. Depending on the state of residency, more than 6.4 million children in our country from ages 4 to 17 are challenged with some type of attention issue.

Because of continuing budget cuts for schools and a challenging economy for family households, funds are not always available for the necessary resources to address the pressing needs of these children and teens with ADHD. Although medical care and medications for ADHD can often be covered by family healthcare insurance plans, holistic or non-medical resources for ADHD are rarely included in such plans or coverage. Parents, teachers and others who care for and serve the significant number of children with ADHD are many times left to locate, research and obtain services and resources for their children or students on their own time and with their own personal funds, too.

We thought it would be beneficial to help provide some current ADHD resources to at least help save valuable time for these adults who are "on a mission" to help kids with ADHD gain access to the resources they need. As a result, we have gathered a sizable collection of ADHD articles, strategies, service providers, tools and other supportive resources---all in one place on our ADHD Resources & Support Pinterest board (1,300+ resources!) It will be good to know that many of the resources in this collection are available at very low or even no cost, too. We hope you will find all or most of what you need to help a child or teen you know and care about who struggles daily with ADHD.

ADHD Resources & Support

ADHD Resources & Support---ALL in 1 Place!
This is a collection of 1,300+ ADHD supportive resources for parents, teachers, homeschoolers & others who help or care for children & teens with attention challenges.
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/adhd-resources-support/

Sources

Data & Statistics: Children w/ ADHD--from Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html

For more information about tools & resources for children & teens with ADHD, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Friday, March 31, 2017

The 6 Most Important Things About Dyslexia Teachers Need to Know

For many years, there is has been such controversy about dyslexia in the world of education. The reasons for this are varied, but the results of this controversy have been staggering and pervasive. For too long, there have been far too many students who cannot read. The nearly 1 in 5 students (17%) challenged with dyslexia continue to pay the price for this long-lasting controversy.

In this article we thought it would be helpful to all involved and invested in helping these students if we were to provide a short list of points for educators to keep in mind as the topic of dyslexia accommodations continues to be at the forefront of educational discussions across the country. In this way, perhaps teachers will be better able to begin addressing the pressing needs of their students with dyslexia in ways that will indeed make a difference in their academic and life experiences.

The 6 Most Important Things about Dyslexia Teachers Need to Know

1. Dyslexia is NOT a myth or imaginative condition. It is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia is not a vision problem. It is not about intelligence. It certainly is not about laziness. Dyslexia affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. Individuals with dyslexia have trouble mapping letters onto sounds and vice versa. Students with dyslexia usually have a hard time reading, but they can also struggle with spelling, writing and even pronouncing words.

2. Dyslexia is inherited and lifelong. It is not something a student will outgrow. At the same time, dyslexia and its symptoms may appear or be experienced differently at different times throughout development. Very often, a child’s diagnosis will result in a parent realizing for the first time that he or she also has dyslexia.

3. Dyslexia is more common than many believe. The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) estimates that as many as 15 to 20 percent of people have some symptoms of dyslexia. These individuals have trouble with reading, spelling and writing, or mixing up similar words. Dyslexia affects people from all types of backgrounds, too. Of the 13 or 14 percent of school-age children who have a condition that qualifies them for special education services, 7 percent are diagnosed with a learning disability. Furthermore, 85 percent of those children have a primary learning disability in reading and language processing.

4. Prior to Kindergarten (and even as late as third grade), dyslexia may not be obvious or suspected. Children are generally diagnosed with dyslexia when they learn to read or begin reading in order to learn. That may be in kindergarten, first grade or even later at the primary level. However, as dyslexia is often suspected or discovered in older students, it is still a good idea to request assessment since the condition sometimes isn’t identified until much later. Early identification and treatment can make a very significant difference in the long-term quality of life for students. Teachers have a very important role in all of this because they are on the front lines when it comes to identifying dyslexia.

5. There is no one solution for all with dyslexia. Not all children with reading, decoding and spelling problems consistent with dyslexia actually have dyslexia. Other language problems that cause reading challenges also need attention. Educators can use tools like the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) to help determine what individual students with language or literacy problems need to succeed in the classroom. It is important to note that in the case of dyslexia, a combination of the right tools, strategies and other supports may be required for reading success. A unique combination of these may very well be needed for each individual students affected with dyslexia.

6. Current and pending dyslexia legislation in many states will very soon affect teaching and learning methods, strategies, accommodations and more in many U.S. classrooms and at all grade levels (K-12). It is most important that educators begin to build their own "dyslexia toolbox" so that a portfolio of resources will be ever at-the-ready for dyslexic students (and others who struggle with reading) at every grade level. To learn more about the current and pending dyslexia legislation in your state, visit Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site.

Sources

10 Things About Dyslexia Every Teacher Needs to Know-by Nickola Wolf Nelson, Ph.D.
https://www.weareteachers.com/things-about-dyslexia-every-teacher-needs/?utm_source=WeAreTeachers_Pinterest&utm_campaign=BrookesP_5212&utm_medium=Article_04

8 Things Every Teacher Should Know About Dyslexia-from We Are Teachers
https://www.weareteachers.com/8-things-every-teacher-should-know-about-dyslexia/

Dyslexia in the Classroom: What Every Teacher Needs to Know-from the International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
https://dyslexiaida.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/DITC-Handbook.pdf

For more information about tools, strategies & support for challenged readers with dyslexia, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Celebrate Dr. Seuss Day in Style with These GREAT Resources!

One way to the heart of a reluctant reader or one who is challenged in other ways is to mention the name of the legendary Dr. Seuss. If you are already one of his grown-up fans, you probably know that Dr. Seuss Day is just around the corner and fast approaching, too. March 2 is the BIG day, and you'll most likely want to celebrate it in a special way with the young readers (and maybe the older ones, too!) you know.

On this second day in 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, author and illustrator of such beloved children’s books as The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother’s maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books–--including some for adults–--that have sold well over 200 million copies and have been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches and live in places like Hooterville.

This week's article will make it easy for you to commemorate the famous Dr. Seuss. We have gathered here a sizable collection of resources to make the day memorable for you, your children or students and others who love the books written by Mr. Geisel. These Dr. Seuss resources are FREE or at low cost to you. The most difficult part for you will be to choose the very best ones for the individual or group you serve, as there are so many great ones.

We know these reading and math resources will definitely get you in the mood for the GREAT day! So, you'll be all set to motivate young readers on March 2 with this ready-to-use bundle of activities, games, recipes, apps and other "goodies." These resources will help you celebrate Dr. Seuss' Birthday in style with ALL the readers you know. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

GREAT Reading Resources for Dr. Seuss Day (March 2)

Dr. Seuss We LOVE!
Here are 120+ resources (all in one place!) to help you celebrate Dr. Seuss Day in a BIG way. You'll discover math activities, videos, finger puppet instructions, recipes, apps and so much more to make March 2 a great day to remember Dr. Seuss!
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/dr-seuss-we-love/?etslf=4828&eq=Dr.%20Seuss

Seussville.com---from Random House
Random House's website for all things Dr. Seuss---Games, activities and more that are all about Dr. Seuss. FREE resources for teachers and homeschooling parents, too.
http://www.seussville.com/#/home

55 Dr. Seuss Activities For Kids---from No Time for Flash Cards
A collection of Dr. Seuss activities and resources from other blogs and websites.
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2014/02/dr-seuss-activities-kids.html

Sources

1904-Dr. Seuss born---from History.com
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dr-seuss-born

For more information about assistive technologies for challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Courtesy of U.S. Stamp Gallery at http://usstampgallery.com/view.php?id=419a16d52b4e30c45d78c6ff65fa1aaea8220ef8 and
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

18 Tips to Support Dyslexics & Other Challenged Readers

Reading and learning do not come easily for every student. Parents and teachers often look for specific strategies and resources to assist struggling readers and learners, especially for the many with dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and/or other issues that can impact reading success.

Making using of such strategies or accommodations allows for more fairness in the classroom where other, more typical readers and learners at the same grade level may be present. These are supports that can actually help "level the playing field" for many children, teens and adults who would not otherwise receive the support needed to be successful readers and learners.

In addition, such supportive accommodations should be implemented for as long as they are needed by the individuals. Here is a printable list that you might consider to help and support the challenged reader(s) or learner(s) in your family or in your classroom:

1. Request or allow course and book content to be available via audiotape, CD, or DVD.

2. Use a portable, hand-held spell checker (such as the Franklin Spelling Ace) for unknown words.

3. Use graph paper or the Reading Focus Cards for math to promote accurate placeholder work.

4. Use interactive computer reading programs that require only a limited number of tasks at a time.

5. Underline or highlight important key words in a set of directions BEFORE beginning an assignment.

6. Fold a worksheet so that only a small amount of text, information, or problems is visible at one time. Using individualized tools can help with this as well.

7. Allow for standing at a desk/table or moving to optional work areas with less distraction.

8. Allow for the experience of a variety of sensory learning techniques such as those from the use of a computer, e-tablet, mp3 player, tape recorder, projector, and/or manipulatives. The more senses you appeal to and employ in the learning process, the more success the student will experience.

9. Use word processors or computers to complete written work, especially when writing is a struggle.

10. Allow for kneeling or standing at a desk (if needed), as long as it does not cause problems or distractions for others.

11. Allow for access to a copy of prepared notes, especially after a teaching session or discussion.

12. Arrange for a second set of textbooks at home so that materials are always at hand when needed.

13. Use very low-volume music (instrumental) or environmental sounds (seashore or other nature sounds) while doing independent work.

14. Allow for student to work cooperatively at times with others as part of a "buddy" system of support.

15. Use colored paper for all printed materials including worksheets, outlines, notes, etc. Experiment with pastels as well as bright shades. One particular color may produce the best results for an individual.

16. Use colored overlays or the low-tech Reading Focus Cards for focus and reading challenges with physical book pages, worksheets and other documents. These inexpensive reading aids can diminish or eliminate the visual “stress” or discomfort some readers/learners experience with the white backgrounds of most text pages. These same tools can also be used with Kindles, Nooks, and other e-readers (Model #001-Shorter) as well as iPads and other e-tablets (Model #002-Longer), too.

17. Make use of websites such as www.math.com, www.khanacademy.org, www.mobymax.com or other free sites for help with specific math, science or other content challenges.

18. For reading online or offline digital media, use the Reading Focus Cards desktop app with Macs and Windows PCs to provide more focus and fluency, better tracking, increased comprehension and improved retention for unfocused or overwhelmed readers.

For more information about assistive technologies for challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image source: Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

5 Decoding Tips and Tools for Reluctant Readers

What IS Decoding?

The term decoding refers to the process of translating a printed word into a sound. To demonstrate, please read the following words aloud: dog, table, jump. This is an example of decoding regular words and is sometimes called word identification skill. Regular words are commonly used words, i.e., words frequently found in printed material.

To further illustrate the skill of decoding, please read the following words, aloud: blud, wight, frish. This is an example of decoding non-words (or decoding pseudo-words) and is sometimes called word attack skill. Pseudo-words are pronounceable based on phonics rules but are not real words. A highly similar task involves asking students to read words that they have never seen before—i.e., unfamiliar or new vocabulary words.

How can we tell if a student is proficient at decoding? The two most common tests of decoding skill are to ask students to:

1. Translate printed, regular words into sounds (i.e., word identification skill) and
2. Translate printed pseudo-words or printed unfamiliar words into sounds (i.e., word attack skill).

We can measure a student's decoding accuracy—by counting the number of times the student makes the correct sound—or the student's decoding speed (also called efficiency)—by counting the number of correctly decoded words per minute. As one might expect, high proficiency is indicated by a high rate of accuracy and/or speed.

However, significant problems result when a student's decoding skill level is low or poorly developed. When he cannot breakdown words into the sound of each phoneme, fluency, rate, tracking and other skills also suffer.

There are a variety of tips, strategies and tools available today to help improve a reader's decoding skill. We hope the following 5 resources will help you and the readers you serve to get started in the right way. In the process, you will also be promoting more in the way of phonemic awareness at the same time. The end result may very well be that reading reluctance could turn into reading motivation for the individuals you help.

Tips to Help with Decoding

1. Use individual colored markers to highlight each phoneme (or syllable, if that is the phonics method you employ) in a word. Try a different color for each phoneme. For optimum results, consistently use the same color for the same phoneme from one activity to another. This may best be accomplished by using a key or legend shared with the reluctant reader you are assisting.

2. If a variety of colored markers are not available, box out each phoneme or syllable with a pencil or pen to show the beginnings and endings of words, blends or other phonemes. As in the above method, this also helps break down a word or phrase into chunks or manageable units for a challenged or reluctant reader.

3. Cover parts of words and phrases that do not need decoding at the moment. So much of the reluctance of a challenged reader is the feeling of overwhelm by just too many letters, words or lines of text viewed simultaneously or in rapid succession. This covering can be achieved simply with the aid of a one's finger.

Tools to Help with Decoding

1. Use a ruler, index card or the low-tech Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), inexpensive tools for challenged readers, to easily breakdown or decode words, phrases and lines of text on physical pages, worksheets or other documents. Both the colored reading window and/or the notch at the top of the focus cards can be used for this decoding process.

Use of the Reading Focus Cards' reading window (yellow filter option) for decoding:


Use of the Reading Focus Cards' reading notch for decoding:


2. Use the digital Reading Focus Cards desktop app (Patent 8,360,779) for Macs and Windows PCs, an innovative and fully customizable application for challenged readers to easily breakdown or decode words, phrases and lines of text on digital pages or documents---whether online or offline.

Here are just 2 decoding steps out of a possible 7 steps to break down the word happiness with this Reading Focus Cards desktop app:


Sources

What is Decoding? article by R.E. Mayer, education.com
https://www.education.com/reference/article/what-is-decoding-reading/

For more information about assistive technologies for challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Fingernail photo: Mr. Barlow's Blog at https://mrbarlow.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/why-do-you-get-white-spots-on-your-fingernails/
Other images: Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Low-tech and Digital Supports for Challenged Readers and Writers

Part 3 & final article in a series about Assistive Technologies for Challenged Readers

Many of the keyword searches that bring visitors to our blog and websites revolve around the term “struggling" or "challenged" readers and writers (really?) We felt it was about time to provide a list of good tech tools for teachers, parents and others who work tirelessly with children and teens challenged with reading (dyslexia, convergence insufficiency, etc.) and/or writing (dysgraphia, dyspraxia, etc.)

To follow here, you will find a collection of supportive low-tech & digital technologies for spelling, grammar, decoding, tracking, fluency, word choice, reading level, and overall visual readability. We hope these tech resources will “fill the bill” for those who come to us looking for solutions to help the many struggling readers and writers everywhere.

Reading & Writing Support Tools for Challenged Readers & Writers

1. Clicker 7 - Custom onscreen keyboards, talking word processor, word prediction & more (Mac & PC-FREE trial)
http://www.cricksoft.com/us/products/clicker/home.aspx

2. Ghotit - Spelling/grammar checker software & mobile apps for dyslexia & dysgraphia
(Mac/PC/iOS/Android/Linux-FREE trial)
http://www.ghotit.com/

3. Ginger Software - Spellchecker for content (online, PC-FREE & $)
http://www.gingersoftware.com/

4. Grammarly - Grammar & spelling checker (FREE & $)
https://www.grammarly.com/

5. Low-tech Reading Focus Cards - Customizable reading tools for physical books, documents & other applications (From $16.95)
http://www.focusandread.com/products

6. OpenDyslexic - Font designed by Abbie Gonzalez to ease visual aspects of reading for dyslexia (FREE)
http://opendyslexic.org/

7. Reading Focus Cards App - Virtual index card-like reading tool to aid visual focus, tracking, fluency, comprehension & retention---infinitely customizable (Mac, PC-$5.99)
http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

8. Rewordify - Automatically defines, or substitutes simpler words in place on web pages (FREE)
http://rewordify.com/

9. Snap&Read Universal - Text-to-speech, image-to-text conversion & text leveling (simplify difficult words) for online reading (FREE trial)
http://donjohnston.com/snap-read/

10. Visual Thesaurus - Visual word map (online, Mac & PC-FREE & $)
http://www.visualthesaurus.com/

11. WordQ - Allows readers to modify word prediction to use specific vocabulary or topics.(Various $)
http://www.goqsoftware.com/wordQ.php?gclid=CN6P3K-l8KwCFRECQAod9TKxKg

12. WriteOnline - word banks, talking word processor, word prediction, mind mapping (online, Mac & PC-FREE trial)
http://www.cricksoft.com/us/products/writeonline/default.aspx

Sources:
My Assistive Technology Toolbox by Shelley Haven, ATP, RET
http://techpotential.net/attoolbox

Software & Assistive Technology by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/software-assistive-technology

For more information about assistive technologies for challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com