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A life-saver for those who suffer from reading difficulties such as dyslexia

 

About The C-Pen Reader


The C-Pen Reader pen scanner is major technological breakthrough for anyone learning English, Spanish or French and is a life-saver for those who suffer from reading difficulties such as dyslexia. The C-Pen Reader is a totally portable, pocket-sized device that reads text out aloud with an English, Spanish or French human-like digital voice. 

The in-built dictionary puts the power of Collins English Dictionary (30th Anniversary Edition Tenth edition) and the Oxford Spanish and French Dictionaries in your hands. Simply pass the nib across a word and it instantly displays the definition and reads it aloud. It is also a scanner for capturing lines of text and uploading to a PC or Mac, making it ideal for students, teachers and professionals to capture essential information.

The pen is half the size of other portable pen scanners on the market and at 50g is half the weight.  Importantly this means it can be used by a younger generation of English, Spanish or French learners making this learning tool suitable for children (age 6+) and adults. This is the only portable line scanner on the market that is both Mac and PC compatible. There is no software required, just connect the pen up to a computer with a USB cable and it appears as an external hard drive. Other features include a built-in voice recorder with playback.

As well as promoting Independent Reading this pen features:

  • Hear words & lines of text read aloud

  • A Collins 10th Edition Dictionary

  • An Oxford Spanish and French Dictionary

  • Scan, store & transfer to a PC or Mac (1GB of storage & downloads to a computer like using a USB key - no software required)

  • Scan direct to the cursor on a computer

  • A voice recorder

  • Free future upgrades

  • Available in a class set of ten pens


Which pen is right for me?

Dictionary Pen

I am learning English** and my mother tongue is:

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

  • Arabic

I am English and learning:

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

I am a customer looking for the best line scanner capable of scanning in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Russian

  • Mandarin

Reader Pen

I have dyslexia and I am learning:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

I have some sight loss* and I am trying to read in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exam Reader

I need help reading an exam paper in:

  • English

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

I have dyslexia and I am learning:

  • Italian

  • German

I have some sight loss* and I am trying to read in:

  • Italian

  • German

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Note: If you can use a yellow highlighter pen to highlight text in a book/on paper then you could get some use out of this C-Pen

** Note: If you mother tongue is not listed above, the Dictionary Pen will still help you learn English however it will not translate the word back into your language.


Flyers

UK
US

C-Pens are amazing! In the world of AT, this is a tool everyone needs. Within minutes’ students and teachers are using the pens to read worksheets, vocabulary words, bus schedules and even cake mix boxes. My students love the fact that the pen is small and doesn’t make them look different. Thanks for making such as great tool.
— K. White, Assistive Technology Specialist, Wisconsin USA - June 2016

Key Product Features


OCR Engine

C-Pen Reader contains a high accuracy OCR that enables you to capture and save quotes and other text of interest instantly. The text is saved in text files which is then easily transferred to your computer. Extremely handy if you are a student or a reseacher or if you just want to save some text of interest. Simply use the pen to scan a word, a paragraph, or why not full pages. It´s easier than you think! 

Text to speech

Use C-Pen Reader to read printed text for you! C-Pen Reader features a high quality naturally speaking British English, American English, Spanish or French voices. Use it to listen to pronounciations or to help you read in general. Why not really benefit from the OCR and capture larger amount of text which C-Pen Reader reads for you while you follow the text in the text book visually? More senses = better learning. It´s easier than you think! 

Dictionary

Not sure about a word? C-Pen Reader contains high quality electronic dictionaries. Capture the word(s) and they are located in the dictionary for you. It´s an instant experience. C-Pen Reader also remember words that you have looked up and keep the history available for you. 

C-PEN READER SPECIFICATIONS

Screen OLED 256*64
CPU 600MHz
Memory - 4GB (OS 1G, User 3G)
Earphone 3.5mm
Battery 1,200mAh
Scan Font Size Range 6.5 - 22 pt
Electronic Dictionaries - Collin English 30th Anniversary Dictionary 10th Edition (156,120 words) 

Diccionario Oxford Pocket para estudiantes de ingles 4th edition

Oxford Spanish Dictionary 4th edition

Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary 4th edition

Dictionnaire Oxford Poche pour apprendre l’anglais

Certifications CE RoHS FCC
Size Dimensions: 135*33*19mm Weight: 50g

USB - USB 2.0 High speed / Micro USB
Extracted Content - Extracted text saved as a .txt file
File System - FAT\FAT32\NTFS
Menu Languages - English

 

Voice Memos

Aside from everything else C-Pen Reader also features a microphone (and of course speaker and headphones connector) allowing you to record audio. Like voice memos. The audio files are saved in the device, can be retrieved and listened to any time. You can also upload the audio files to your computer. It´s convenient! 

USB drive

C-Pen Reader also double as a USB drive. 1GB user space is available. Most likely enough to store a backup of your documents or other important files. Connect it to a USB port on your MAC, Windows or Linix computer. 

Interfaces

C-Pen Reader uses a standard micro USB connector for charging and connecting to computers, and a standard 3.5 mm connector for your favourite headphones.

Compact

The C-Pen Reader is small, portable, and light making it easy to carry with you anywhere you like to read. 

Warranty

Products are warranted against defects for 1 year from date of purchase.

Support

Free support is available.  The manual is here. The quick start guide is here. For the latest firmware, please click here and a version history is here.

Trial

We offer schools a free 30 day trial, please send a school purchase order to orders@scanningpens.com

Package Contents

C610 Exam Reader
Carry Case
USB Cable
Instruction Manual
Headphones

Videos



Webinars

Future Webinars

Past Webinars

UK Case Studies


International Case Studies



Awards


Quotes

I just wanted to thank you all for making such a fabulous tool. I am a Special Education teacher for a small 7-12 campus. I’m the only ‘special ed’ person on our campus, so my classroom gets pretty hectic. I teach resource Math and English classes and I have students who come down all throughout the day to get extra assistance on any class they’re in. So, if I’m teaching a class and a group of kids come down with a test that they need read aloud to them, I’m forced to juggle teaching a lesson while I read an exam. It’s not effective and distracting to all involved. To make it manageable, I usually stop teaching and read the test. The C-Pen has completely changed everything! I just found out about these little gadgets and I’m hooked. My principal bought one for my classroom to use with a particular student. It has worked beautifully...that student actually has it assigned to him, so he takes it home and to his other classes. Once the others saw it in action, they wanted one too. So, I went and begged my principal for more. He was able to find enough money in the budget for a couple more, but not for the class set I was hoping for. I now have 3 of these pens and the kids argue over who gets to use it and who needs it more! I LOVE that it allows me to continue teaching my lesson when they come down. This pen has just changed everything in my classroom, and I’m on a mission to get my hands on a class set! I’ve been looking at various fundraising opportunities for our class, and I even made a Donors Choose project for them, but I just wanted to let you know that this has single handedly been the very best piece of assistive technology that I’ve had in my classroom in my 14 years.
— Chelsea Yosten Jr. High and High School Special Education
With the help of the C-Pen ReaderPen, my students can now go to the library and choose a book of interest that they truly enjoy reading. This has broadened their interest levels, vocabulary and exposure to fiction and nonfiction books. Before the C-Pen Readers, my students were limited to books at lower Lexile and independent reading levels. For this reason, many of them were bored by the content or frustrated by the sheer act of reading.

Through generous grants and donations, we were able to purchase a set of reading pens and now my students can experience what so many of us take for granted each day, the ease of reading words fluently and effortlessly.
— Mississippi School District Dyslexia Therapist/Certified Academic Language Therapist
This student struggled with learning to read but by reading a lot of digital text with text to speech and word by word highlighting he was able to begin reading at grade level.
However; he struggled transitioning to reading traditional/paper books. After receiving the C-PEN ReaderPen he has now bridged that gap and is now happily reading traditional (paper) books that are just above his reading level because he can use if for the words he doesn’t know. He finds it easy to use, accurate, and discreet.
— Virginia Regional Education Program, AT Facilitator
The C-Pen significantly improved G’s ability to be an independent reader in his grade 6 classroom. The C-Pen’s discrete look helped with G’s confidence and he began to feel positive about his reading abilities. The smile on his face as soon as he heard the words being read aloud was all we needed to see what a great tool this was for this student.

Notes from Student

-uses it for reading worksheets, literacy books and math textbook

-easy to use-just put the pen against the page-just like a real pen

-iPads can do more but the apps have glitches and it takes a long time to get set up

-you can use it for re-reading- just click on the button so that I can hear the sentence again

-keeps it in desk in the case and brings out when needed
— Learning Resource Teacher, Mountview School
I brought a C-Pen out to a school and introduced it to the teacher librarian and a couple of other teachers. They trialled it with a student and he loved it! They’re planning on getting more for the school library media centre. I’m looking forward to bringing out the C-Pen and sharing that resource with more teams in the fall.
— AT Specialist, Portland Public Schools
I have been working with three students one-on-one all year. Each one is significantly below grade level in reading, writing and spelling – two have been identified with severe dyslexia. Once I introduced the C-Pen Reader to each student, they were thrilled to have the independence to read text placed in front of him. One of the students, a 6th grader reading at approximately a 2nd grade level with behavioural issues, said, “I need this pen! I have a Boy Scout book I have to read, and I want to take this home”. He was so excited to show his parents and be able to read the required Boy Scout manual by himself, thanks to the assistance of the C-Pen.
— Education Specialist, Northern California District
The reading pen was very effective when working with an apprentice with severe reading challenges. The pen helped the apprentice access reading materials without the often-lengthy training process required of other technologies as the apprentice had little time for training.
— - Toby Marritt - Accessibility Counsellor, Mohawk College, Canada
The students are able to use the device independently. Many of our students are using them for reading for example math word problems on a worksheet or anything on a worksheet. Previously, the teachers would have to spend precious time scanning and emailing worksheets and other documents. With the use of the C-Pen students can access the worksheets on the fly without teacher preparation.
Students who are reading below grade level are using the C-Pens during center time to read preferred leisure books that are age appropriate and look “normal” whereas before the C-Pen Reader these students were pretending to read and just looking at the pictures. These students did not want peers to think that they could not read what everyone else was capable of. Now they are actually learning content, and hearing the words spoken increases their reading skills.
A middle school student is using the C-Pen to read his textbook during in class reading time. Before he relied on a teacher assistant to read to him, was distractible, and embarrassed. Now, using the C-Pen, he reads independently, is more confident, and actively participates in discussions.
— MHS OTR/L Assistive Technology Specialist, Bayless, Webster Groves, Valley Park, and Mehlville School District, Missouri
Student - “Helps me stay in class”

Teacher – “this student was having to leave General Education class to have reading assignments read to him. Whenever the students had to read, even a paragraph, he would leave and come to his self-contained classroom for help. The pen made it so that he could follow along in the class and stay with his peers.”

Teacher - “this scanning pen has saved me valuable time. I no longer have to track down the auditory text book or modify the assignment to meet the students independent reading level. My students can stay in their classes and more importantly, they are not falling behind waiting for me to make time to go over the reading. We can no spend time understanding what was read.”

Teacher - “One of my students took the pen to his HS Natural Resources class. They were reading from a magazine. He sat in a normal desk and used the pen to listen to the article. When it came time to answer questions, he knew what the article was about. I want to highlight this because he had never been able to answer a question about an article. Usually, an aide would call him to the back of the room and read him the article. When he was helped with reading, he was ashamed that he couldn’t read, and everyone knew. Even though we thought he was getting the information from the aide, his embarrassment kept him from learning. The pen gave him independence and boosted his confidence. Now, he can do it himself and knows the answer.”

Teacher – “Kids that were mortified when an aide would offer to help them in a mainstream class are now willing to try because they can blend in.”

Teacher – “My students are much more independent and willing to use the scanning pen. It’s not embarrassing for them to take out the pen. Kids that were not able to go to classes because their anxiety was debilitating when they were sent to another reading alternative, can now be successfully mainstreamed.”

Students - “It tells you the word you don’t know how to read” ”Makes you smarter”
— California County Office of Education Teachers & Students
I ordered the pen for a student in the Practical Nurse program. She really liked the fact that the pen was able to accurately pronounce most of the medical terms as well as prefixes and suffixes.
— Jody Beresford, Learning Strategist Student Development, New Brunswick Community College
I have a couple students who come to use the pen regularly and it has made a difference for them. They are my English Language Learners - who have strong oral skills but not strong reading skills. It has been particularly helpful in math - where there is a lot of language content and once they understand the question they can do the activity
— Natalie Walker, Thorn Lodge Public School
It is not unusual to spot a student using text to speech software on their computer at our school. But, some content is difficult to present to students in a digital format. Scanning textbooks, worksheets and novel studies is time consuming and not always feasible, not to mention that the formatting is not always kept intact. Using the C- Pen at our school has given students greater independence and frees up Educational Assistant’s time for other students. While showing the C-Pen to one of my students to use for a math test she responded with “That’s amazing”.
— Cathi Graveline, Assistive Technology Specialist Foothills Academy, Calgary AB
At a recent re-evaluation meeting for assistive technology, the student’s opinion was documented as he’d just completed a 5-week trial of the C-Pen Reader. The student responded, “I think the C-pen is working out great!” He continued, “It holds its charge and it helps me read longer books and figure out words I don’t know. It also helps me understand books much better than just reading them in my head.” As his SPED teacher, I see the positive attitude facilitated through the use of the C-pen as being key to improving reading attitudes, reading skills and independence.
— 5th Grade SPED Student & Special Education Teacher Indian Creek Middle School, Illinois
“I can see an improvement in the student’s confidence.” “We see the benefit of using it.” ” They are able to access their curriculum better and this improves their confidence.” “It has definitely helped me free myself up so that I can work with more students at once. The ease of use with the pen allows for more students to be autonomous. It was great.”
— Education Specialists, California Charter School
They were performing remarkably below grade level expectations at the beginning of the year and received specific dyslexia interventions and then used the pens in their general education setting for individual assessments and they both passed their reading STARRS exam. We all had a huge party.
— Special Education Coordinator, Middle School, Texas School District
The two young ladies I trained I did so together and they said that they were so used to using mobile phones they found the pen like using a simple app. They both felt they could easily set up the pen after being shown just three times and then proceeded to do so. They were level 6 students I believe so next year will be HNC. They were both keen to use it in exams over Texthelp and given the courses they are on are generally paper based I am thinking it will be easier for the lecturers too. They mentioned feeling conscious of being somewhere else or using a laptop when everyone was writing so felt this was far more discreet as well.
It was pure coincidence they both asked to come at the same time so I just went with it, they agreed and bounced of each other talking about why and how they would use it and what it would help them with so it was quite nice.
— Michele Macleod, Fife College, Scotland
The use of Assistive Technology throughout college is increasing already there are success stories to tell you about. Here are just two as examples;
A mature part-time site carpentry student was experiencing great difficulties with his theory work. His tutor and I introduced him to using a reader pen to aid his comprehension of text. What followed was a remarkable increase in his self- confidence, attitude to work and increased independence. He had previously had failures on end tests, but since using the reader pen, he has now passed all of his end tests. He is currently saving up to buy his own reader pen as he uses one regularly in class and would like to use it onsite to read Site Specifications.
Another student in Employability was experiencing difficulties with tracking his reading, whilst he was using Internet resources. However, after using Assistive Technology to highlight his position on the page he was able to avoid the frustration of losing his place.
Emerging technologies always make Assistive Technology exciting as you never know what new developments are around the corner. I would like to thank the staff who have co-operated with me to date, and I welcome requests from anyone who would like further training.
— Lesley Urquhart, Assistive Technologist, Shrewsbury College
During our school trial, a student provided his feedback. He loves it (pen) so much he has continued to use it. He found it very easy to use and loves that it helps him with unfamiliar words that he hasn’t learned yet. He likes how he can use
headphones.
— District Dyslexia Director, North Texas School District
Harley has been using one of your reading pens. He said: It has helped me a lot and meant that I can be more independent, I can do tests faster, I am getting higher marks and it makes me feel better about myself. I would definitely recommend that other children who struggle to read have one, as it makes you feel so much more confident.
— Christobel Cousins, Headteacher, Lilleshall Primary School
I work with cognitively impaired high school aged students. Many of my students have difficulties with reading and comprehension. The reading pen has been empowering for my students who struggle to read. My students look forward to reading now. It is not just with the reading curriculum. I teach life skills so it is being used across curriculums. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to meet you at the conference and to have had the opportunity to use such a great tool in my classroom. I like it so much that I am putting in a request to purchase a class set. Thanks again for all of your support and for representing such a good product.
— Doug Herron, Alaska Anchorage Public Schools
Our students love the C-Pen and our teachers are seeing improvement in reading!
— Dyslexia District Director, South Texas School District
Our students use the Reader Pen to allow them to read independently at an age appropriate level and to check word meaning in the internal dictionary. The pens helped them to gain confidence, independence and fluency.
— Antonia Canaris, Director, Neurosensory, NSW
Thank you for allowing Carver Middle High School to trial the C-Pen. The pens have been used in the Language Based Program. The program provides services to students in grades 6 through 8 with severe reading disabilities. The pens have been instrumental in promoting independence in the inclusion classroom. The students are able to use the pens during class to read unknown words, to take tests, and quizzes in the classroom in place of being pulled to an alternative setting, and they have used the pens to read books, and articles that would have been read to them. The students are excited about using the pens. The pens are small, and not noticed by other students. When asked if they like the pens students responded, “they help me read words I don’t know”, “they are cool”, and “they are easy to use”. As a teacher of students with reading disabilities, I think the pens are a “must have” in the classroom. The pens are easily accessible, and the students enjoy using them. The pens enable students to learn beside their peers, and access the curriculum independently.
— Katie Laliberte, Carver Middle High School, Language Based Program
I have used the reading pen for one of my students who has limited reading skills. We used the pen last year as a trial and then our district bought some this year. He is currently in fourth grade. The student we have used it with is in an inclusion classroom with the support of a paraprofessional. She helps him read the grade level material and provides support in all curriculum areas. The reader pen takes a little getting used to, however, once you have the angle right it is very helpful. The pen has helped him to be more independent on worksheets and helps him feel more a part of the class. He is able to do the work the other students are doing without needing the paraprofessional to read it to him. Using the pen has given him the boost of confidence that “I can do this”. When we asked him what he thought of the pen he said, “I like it, I can read my books now!”
— Deb P. Special Education Teacher
I love the C-Pen reader. It makes reading so much easier for the struggling reader. It’s also wonderful for those students who benefit from having auditory input along with the visual input while reading. Plus, it helps when they don’t know a word. It’s a fantastic device and we’re extremely grateful to you for showing this to us.
— R. Richards, So. California Tri-Counties Branch IDA
Awesome technology is what our 11 year old said about your pen. Thank you so much for making written content accessible to our son. We are so grateful to you.
— From a parent via email.
“I hate to have to have the teachers come and re-read the directions to assignments, so I just sit there. I tried this once and I actually found a dictionary in there that helped me understand a word that I didn’t know.”
— Tony, 8th grade boy, English Language Learner
“Sometimes my teachers forget to enlarge the reading articles that they hand out, so I have used it to read the small print that I can’t see very well. It has been pretty cool. I don’t have to wait for someone to make me another copy.”
— Caden - 9th grade boy - Vision disability
“I used to have to wait for my teacher to read to me, and now, I go to the reader station and I can do it myself. I am not missing class as long as I used to.”
— Carol, 7th grade girl - reading disability
@scanningpens 10 months ago we bought our nearly 12 yr old #dyslexic daughter a c-pen. Her reading age was 4.9 yrs. It is now over 9!!!! she is now 12 and made her teachers cry when for the first time ever she was able to answer questions in class because she could “read” the sheets handed out! She read outloud on camera recently and is totally flying in year 8. She also has the highest number of housepoints in her year group. (1st out of 240) , all because we bought that c -pen. Its been life changing! We dont live too far from seend and she always shouts thank you for changing my life when we drive by.
— Lou ‏@sausagerisotto on Twitter

C-Pens are amazing! In the world of AT, this is a tool everyone needs. Within minutes’ students and teachers are using the pens to read worksheets, vocabulary words, bus schedules and even cake mix boxes. My students love the fact that the pen is small and doesn’t make them look different. Thanks for making such as great tool.
— K. White, Assistive Technology Specialist, Wisconsin USA - June 2016
The C-Pen has been a fabulous help. I recently was diagnosed with dyslexia and I am entering graduate school this fall and I know the C-Pen will come in very handy. I believe the C-Pen is a quality product. I spent a few months researching the different products on the market and it was the camera scanner that sold me. Thank you C-Pen, I know that I will be able to take on my future school readings with confidence.
— Martín C. Muñoz, Utah – June 2016

We are extremely pleased with the C-Pen Reader. Our seven year old daughter is dyslexic and this C-Pen reader was absolutely one of the best purchases we ever made for her. She didn’t like to read simply because at times it became very difficult and overwhelming for her to even complete a sentence or a paragraph. She has been using the c-pen reader for several months at home and in school. The c-pen gives her the ability to read on her own without having to ask for help constantly. In fact, she is using it less and only when she truly needs it to get through times when she’s struggling. The C-Pen has given her great confidence and independence to help her grow! We were concerned at first all she would do is scan everything, but that simply wasn’t the case at all. We noticed when she did need to scan lines she not only would listen to the words but would follow the words being pronounced on the screen. This was amazing for us because we realized it wasn’t just a reader... it was teaching her the ability to recognize words too! The reader is amazingly fast and the battery life is excellent lasting days. We can’t thank you enough for this powerful tool. It’s made a huge impact in her confidence, and really creates a better reading environment for her. Her reading assist specialist can’t believe how amazing the C-Pen works and the confidence it has produced for our daughter.
— Dave Lloyd, Delaware – June 2016
As the demand for exam access arrangements increases we have had to look for alternative methods that are both cost effective and pupil friendly. A laptop is not an ideal solution, and a scribe plus a chaperone expensive. Over the last three months we have trialled C-Pen ExamReader.

Our chosen pupils will require a variety of arrangements including readers. The trial has altered our thoughts on access arrangements for such pupils. The C-Pen has been a great success for both us and the pupils. We have now taken delivery of more C-Pens and The pupils will have their own C-Pen and use them not only in the Summer’s public exams but also in the classroom from now on.

We have also purchased The C-Pen ReaderPen for our reluctant readers in the lower school. We are now trialling them for two months.
— Bill Dewberry, Chingford Foundation School
Everything arrived yesterday afternoon and I have to be honest I tried it yesterday evening and was very impressed with it.

As a practising dyslexic I approach products like this with a very open mind with a view to hopefully being impressed. In this particular case I wasn’t disappointed.
— Edward
In my opinion it is ergonomic, helpful for my six, seven and nine year old to scan words quickly so the reading process is not slowed down by them having to stumble upon words and ask for help.
This is what I wanted, so I am happy with the pen.
— Caroline, a parent from Wiltshire

3rd Party Reviews


Academic Research

The impact of using a Reader Pen on Year 10 learners in a multicultural urban school.

Introduction

Research conducted by the Department for Education in 2013, found that 17% of 15 year-olds in England do not have a minimum level of proficiency in literacy. In 2013, just over one in eight secondary school learners also had English as an additional language (EAL) and these learners were in the majority in 117 Birmingham schools (NALDIC, 2013).  It has been argued that it takes ten years for a learner to move through the five stages of second language acquisition from no language to fluency (Stats Wales, 2013) ; a high proportion of these learners with EAL have not been in UK schools for this length of time and, although many may be competent in conversational language or Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) (Cummins, 2009), and seem therefore fully proficient, they are likely to be challenged by the transition to both receptive and expressive academic language essential for examination success at 16 (e.g. Topping, 2018). These learners are therefore vulnerable and at risk of under-performing in those public examinations so crucial to their future.

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Year 2:  Continuation of the Study of a 9-year-old child with dyslexic tendencies - the C-Pen ReaderPen for every day classroom-based work

In the early part of 2016 a primary aged student, Hester**, undertook the DST-J (2004) screening due to significant difficulties with reading and spelling.  She demonstrated six signs of dyslexia and therefore her school introduced standardised practices to support her disability.  Hester’s parents also provided the school with a C-Pen ReaderPen, hoping assistive technology could be incorporated alongside other strategies to support their child.

During the Autumn of 2016 the ReaderPen Study Team became aware of Hester using the ReaderPen and a long-term collaborative study was established, working with the school to gain insight and understanding of the use of assistive technology within the primary classroom setting.  (Franklin et al., 2017).

During the first year of study Hester gained confidence through the knowledge and support of her dyslexic confident Year 3 teacher (BC).  84% of teachers have informed the Driver Youth Trust (2014) that while they feel it is important to be trained in how to teach children with dyslexia, they currently lack sufficient training and feel they are failing these children.  Hester’s Year 4 teacher (AG), may have felt she did not have enough knowledge of dyslexia; however, she was enthusiastic and willing to use her teaching knowledge and insight to identify Hester’s learning styles, her abilities and use of this information enabled her to set encouraging learning challenges.

This second year’s study focused on the use of the other functions available on the ReaderPen.  Hester and her previous teacher (BC), had worked together to build confidence in Hester to reach for the pen when she was unable to read or decode a word; often prompted; creating a habitual behaviour.  However, the strategies now required specific guidance as to when and how the pen should be used when accessing written text outside specific reading time.  Therefore, the focus was to promote Hester’s independent learning, practicing keeping on task; to enable her to keep up with peers; to use the pen in other lessons; widening the identity of the pen by using it to record ideas and concepts for creative writing; and using it for pronunciation support for spelling tasks.  We also wished to promote and support the teacher’s (AG) own desire to further her knowledge of dyslexia.

The research question: How can assistive technology, the C-Pen ReaderPen, diminish the growing evidenced difference between children who have no reading difficulties and children with reading difficulties such as dyslexia?  

A SENDCo’s PERSPECTIVE

INTRODUCTION 

The following qualifications are required by those wishing to take on the role of SENDCo/SENCO;  

  • to be a qualified teacher and  

  • achieve a recognised award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years of their appointment.   

Which, in layman terms, indicates a large amount of on the job training.  Furthermore, a successful SENDCo requires a great deal of knowledge, understanding and personal qualities to excel in this challenging role, such as: 

  • planning and organising,  

  • adapting to the changing needs of the child, knowledge of the impact the disability/difficulty has on the child to enable them to access education, 

  • effective communication with children, the family and other professionals,  

  • understanding the myriad challenges each child’s disability or need will present throughout their educational journey. 

However, before choosing to become a SENDCo, you must first qualify as a teacher, therefore how much training does a teacher receive to support and understand the variety of disabilities and difficulties a student may present with?  Research on the confidence which newly qualified teachers felt about their training when working with dyslexia revealed that:   

While a Government survey of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) indicates that training for teachers in how to teach reading has improved slightly in recent years, a third (32%) of NQTs in primary schools still rated their training in teaching children to read as satisfactory or poor.” (Driver Youth Trust, 2016) 

The Driver Youth Trust (DYT), is a charity which supports children and young people who struggle with literacy, particularly dyslexia.  The DYT wish to challenge and change current policies to improve knowledge around dyslexia and to promote understanding of consequences a child can experience when unable to read; not only with their self-esteem but also their long-term goals, (The Dyslexia Research Trust, 2018). 

Whilst newly Qualified Teachers may naturally feel a degree of uncertainty and worry about their skills in literacy education, surprisingly mature and experienced teachers also express concerns when teaching children with reading difficulties. 

“8 out of 10 (84%) teachers thought it was very important that teachers are trained in teaching children with dyslexia.  They do not want to be sent into classrooms without the skills they need to teach dyslexic children.” (DYT, 2016). 

Well-established literacy strategies being used in schools may only suit the needs of a proportion of children.  For the remainder of children, an individual approach is required for their specific need to be assessed.  A teacher who feels confident teaching children with reading difficulties may explore and consider alternative methods, so the use of identification is a powerful tool in finding the right approach for each child. 

As previously indicated, dyslexia is a disability, but one which may not necessarily be apparent compared with a child who has a visual or physical disability.  A disabled child requires the right support and tools to enable them to ‘live’ and access their education.  A dyslexic child may not require a pair of glasses or a wheelchair to enable them to access everyday living but, equally they have a right to access education.  If teachers could have greater awareness and understanding around the wide range of differentiation within dyslexia then a variety of assistive tools could become accepted within education, which should not be considered ‘cheating’, but can enable a dyslexic child to have increased access to learning.   

We have been very fortunate to work with a SENDCo who supports these concepts.  She wishes to work with the teachers within her school to enable them to feel confident when teaching children with literacy difficulties.  Furthermore, the school not only wishes to gain insight in how to improve and increase reading within all lessons, but to think ‘outside the box’, to enable each child to have a toolkit of strategies that will continue to help them in their future beyond school.    

Our research hypothesis: Focused use of the ReaderPen and ExamReader alongside Teacher/SENDCo led support and belief in the assistive technology, will help a child to gain improved knowledge, confidence and result in a marked increase of positive attitude towards education leading to the fostering of independent learning skills; which can be used both for education and life outside the school environment.   

STUDY – PRISON C – THE PRISONER’S VOICE 

Hearing the voices of inmates with little or no reading ability, was an important aspect of the long-term study currently being undertaken within prisons in the East of England. The following enables greater insight as to what is important to the prisoner, who is undertaking their first tentative steps in learning to read. I questioned why reading is important to them and the potential for this skill to open different doors for them, currently 60% of prisoners leave prison with no transferable skills (Coates, 2016) to use in the communities they move into. 

My hope is that prisoner voices will be heard, by asking questions such as how can education provide a difference to their lives? What obstacles prevent their regular attendance at education sessions? What resources/strategies could help with their education? What education means to these men, in daily life, wishing to seek and create long-term goals and enhance their life outside prison? The answers to these enquiries’ emphasises the importance of the work that prison educators undertake, with consideration as to the tools they have available to them to support this journey and the potential contrast to the required prison regulations which may interrupt these learning pathways. 

Functional skills within Prisons –  C-Pen ExamReader and ReaderPen  supporting Functional Skills in English, levels 1-3

May I introduce one of the first studies conducted with the educational department within a prison, aimed at gaining insight and understanding of the complexities of the use of assistive technology in a restrictive environment.  3 in 10 prisoners acknowledge they have a learning difficulty and therefore confidence and a less than positive experience of education, may create a block to learning.  Encouraging both areas to be explored and encouraged I felt the outcomes of the study would prove to indicate an increase in confidence, independent learning, curiosity and the capacity to explore within the prison classroom, with the right assistive technology readily available to the learner.  I am pleased to say my hypothesis was supported, the results are found in the following report.

 

Study of an 8-year-old child with dyslexic tendencies and the C-Pen Reader for every day classroom based work

Introduction

Supporting young children with dyslexic tendencies is not only a worry for parents, but also for teachers as cited in an article from Dyslexia Action (2017)2.  74% of those teaching dyslexic children feel dissatisfied with their initial teacher training, questioning whether if it provides them with the skills to identify and teach children with dyslexia.  Often dyslexic children are incredibly skilled and intelligent; therefore, it is imperative early identification of dyslexic tendencies are recognised to enable the implementation of the right teaching/learning style for that child (as recommended by educational psychologist Dr. Gavin Reid (2017))7.  However, reading problems can occur due to other issues such as medical and learning difficulties.  Early identification of dyslexia can prove to be challenging. 

When a clear identification has been achieved, teachers require a bag of strategies and knowledge such as access to supportive guides; for example, the Dyslexic Screener (available online)3; awareness and instruction on the use of up- to-date available assistive technology; which in turn will enable them to support the dyslexic child; and confidence to explore the child’s learning styles to help the child reach their full potential.    Finally, the teacher will need to understand the individual child’s emotional well-being, Rosie Bissett, (Dyslexia Ireland chief executive cited in Irish Examiner, 2017)8 recently stated “It is crucial that teachers understand dyslexia while at the same time having expectations for the child…”.

There are several research papers relating to assistive technology and students with learning disabilities; livescribe pen, (Harper et al. 2016)4 android software platforms, (Tariq et al. 2016)9 mobile learning (Alghabban et al. 2016)1.  However, many of these devices are aimed at the older student.  Studies involving primary aged children focus on computer-based training programmes rather than smaller hand-held devices which may encourage independence.

This study evaluated existing dyslexic teaching strategies; sounding out, phonics, learning words from sight, multi-sensory activities and aligning these tried and tested approaches with a device which promotes independent learning; the C-Pen Reader.

A further focus for this study was to gain understanding of how a primary aged child could develop independent skills and habitual behaviours which would support their future educational journey.  The dyslexic child requires continual feedback to confirm their success, they require extra time; to enable others to listen to them read; and they need to be motivated.

Extra time to practice reading and sounding out text is of great import to the dyslexic child, followed by confirmation from the adult (who often will have 20-30 other children in the classroom), before continuing with their work.  Obviously, this impacts on the dyslexic child’s chance of achieving all the work set in each lesson due to the extra minutes they require to ensure they are confident with their learning.   The C-Pen Reader was deemed the perfect device to promote such efficiency, with confirmation coming from the pen rather than an adult.

The research question: “How effective would the early introduction of assistive technology be to the primary aged child, to encourage emotional development, independent learning and lead to positive reading outcomes?”

Mature Students with identified disabilities

Introduction

Today’s mature student has a myriad of supportive technology at hand but may find it incredibly difficult to identify which technology will provide a best fit for their individualistic needs, after all one size does not fit all.

Liaising with a large city based university in the North of England, we were in a unique position to ask them to compare the C-Pen Reader with three other pieces of technology, Read and Write, Select & Speak and Claro Reader.

Hypothesis: The C-Pen reader would receive favorable comparison in relation to other supportive technology in trials undertaken by mature students with disabilities, due to its portability and variety of features.  

English as an Additional Language

Introduction

In 2013 just over a million pupils in England were identified as those for who English as an Additional Language (EAL) (cited in Strand, Malmberg and Hall, 2015) attended a mainstream educational establishment. 

EAL Students historically have been on a par as their First Language English (FLE) peers when undertaking GCSE’s. 58.3% of EAL students achieved 5+ A*-C in comparison to 60.9% FLE students. However, identified strengths have been in maths, as opposed to reading tasks. To date research has suggested the additional funding used to support EAL students has been influential in positive outcomes for this group of students. Current funding, for all students, has been cut; with this in mind it may well be prudent for secondary schools to consider alternate supportive strategies which continue to enable the EAL student to achieve academic success. 

The study is one of an initial growth of interest studies in relation to alternative supportive tools. This study will focus on the C-Pen Reader. EAL students were each given a C-Pen Reader for use in the classroom, free periods and home study. The students were encouraged to use the pen for social reading alongside encouraging their parents to make use of the pen; studies such as that conducted by Desforges and Abouchaar (2003) have suggested the importance of parental involvement in a child’s education. STUDY OF ENGLISH AS ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE STUDENTS AND THE SUPPORTIVE USE OF THE C.PEN READER - FEBRUARY 16, 2017 3 

As a first research paper on reader pens, this initial study will concentrate on suggestions for future studies alongside the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the research findings. 

Hypothesis: Use of the C-Pen Reader by EAL students will support them to gain understanding of any written text provided in lessons and enhance positivity of emotional well-being; namely confidence and attitude to learning. 

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