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