Keri McWilliams

Back to School: Are you improving reading comprehension with Read&Write?


In this first blog of our Back to School series, we’ve pulled together some of the main features of Read&Write that can help with reading comprehension.  Keep reading to learn how Read&Write can help you improve the reading age in your school. 


Superhero Texthelper in a cape, beside a backpack full of school stationary and Read&Write logo

“Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible, from complex word problems and the meaning of our history to scientific discovery and technological proficiency”

– Barack Obama


Read&Write is more than an accessibility tool and a purple puzzle piece that sits on your network computers! Its features can revolutionise literacy within your classroom - and we want you and your students to make the most of the features on offer. 

Throughout our Back To School blog series, we will explore various themes that matter most to you (the teacher) and demonstrate how the software that your school has invested in can help you think differently about your lesson planning.

--

In a recent independent study, students using Read&Write showed a steady increase of reading age in comparison with non-Read&Write users. Specifically, the analysis showed that 66% of learners who used Read&Write improved their reading comprehension, compared with just 27% of those who did not use Read&Write.

While Read&Write is the perfect companion for students who have dyslexia or other learning difficulties, it can also be a game changer for everyone in the class. 

For example, do you have students that process information better if it is presented visually, or auditory? 

This is where Read&Write can make a massive difference. Not only does it transform information, it helps students to better understand and comprehend what is in front of them so they are in the best position to complete tasks and absorb what is being taught that day. It also saves you time by instantly providing bespoke materials on an individual basis. 

For reading comprehension, here are the features you need to know… 


Auditory reinforcement 

  • Text-to-Speech
  • Audio Maker
  • Talking Dictionary 
  • Voice Notes 

All of these features have a ‘read back’ ability. For example, Audio Maker provides the opportunity for a piece of written text to be converted to an audio file. For students who are auditory processors, they can listen back to a short passage that they have written for their homework, and ensure there are no mistakes before submitting. 

Voice Notes also offers auditory understanding. If you are marking an assignment for an auditory student and want to give feedback, you can record the feedback as an audio file and insert it into the document. When shared back with the student, they can hear your feedback aloud, which will help them fully understand the point you are trying to make.
 

Visual reinforcement

  • Screen Masking
  • Picture Dictionary
  • Word Prediction
  • Highlighters 

All of these features can help students that require visual support. Let’s take Screen Masking as an example. By using this feature, the student can use their mouse pointer to fully concentrate on a line of text (with the rest of the screen and background displayed in another colour). This encourages focus and allows the student to read and fully understand one line at a time, rather than getting distracted and jumping ahead to scan and process what is written 5 lines further down the document. 
 

Features in action 

Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate these Read&Write features into day-to-day activities.


Self monitoring comprehension with highlighters

When you set your class a reading task, do you find that some students pretend to understand the meaning as opposed to fully comprehending the content? 

You could encourage students to use colour codes to highlight: 
  • Words they know and understand 
  • Words they have questions about 
  • Words that are new to them 
  • Words that they figured out for themselves (optional)

After sharing a passage of text in a digital document, the student can use the Text-to-Speech feature to read aloud the passage. 

Afterwards, you can ask the student to use the colour codes and highlight as listed above. 

A table showing the highlighters being used in a text paragraph. Each colour shows what the student understands and doesn't understand.

This strategy provides a visual of how much they understand, as well as being able to pinpoint what they do not. This can be a confidence boost while also helping you target your lessons to meet your students’ specific learning needs. 
 

Vocabulary Word Card Strategy 

Read&Write can play a crucial role in any word card strategy to help with vocabulary and comprehension. Create a 2 x 2 table in a document and add the chosen word to the top left box. 

Table split into 4, with each section detailing the information of an apple etc, the word, the definition, and image and the word Apple' used in a sentence.Share the document with your class, and encourage students to use Text-to-Speech to hear how the word is pronounced and practice saying the word aloud using the voice note feature.

Listening and speaking are the first steps to understanding a new word. 

Don’t forget, English Language Learners can also use the translation feature to translate the word into their native language for greater understanding. 

Students can use the dictionary feature to display the definition of the word and add it into the top right box. Before they paste it in, the student can listen to the definition by using the Text-to-Speech feature. The Picture Dictionary feature can also be used to provide a visual image of the word, which can be inserted into the bottom left box.  

The Word Prediction and/ or Talk&Type feature can help students put the word into a sentence or provide context for the word.  If the student has an idea of what they would like to say, they can start to type a word, and Word Prediction can predict what word should come next. Or, the student can speak the sentence, and it converts speech into text.  This can then be added to the bottom right box. 

--

If you find these Read&Write activity examples useful, check out our dedicated Back to School resource page for other handy hints and tips to help you get the most out of Read&Write

We’re also running live webinars for each of our Back to School blog series themes. If you would like to learn more about how Read&Write can help boost reading comprehension in your class, sign up to Richard & Anna’s ‘Using Read&Write to Support Reading Comprehension’ webinar taking place on Monday 16th September 2019 from 3:45pm- 4:15pm. 

Lastly, if you would like to share how you use Read&Write in your classroom, feel free to add your ideas to the comments section below. 

Comments

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
SHARE

Search

Submit

Subscribe To Blog

Google reCaptcha: