As the new term looms (it might have already started for some of you) I’ve been turning my attention to finding resources that assist with making a room dyslexia friendly. There is often lots of talk about allowing pupils to have different coloured paper, using clear fonts, having a selection of overlays and using suitably coloured backgrounds on our IWB but, when it comes to the crunch, do we always remember to do all of these things? And why oh why are so many simple resources that assist in this area so costly? Inclusion is about making sure all pupils have the resources to reach their full potential. It can be, therefore, a little annoying when basic things like books with coloured paper cost so much more than their plain alternatives.
With this in mind I set about looking for a few easy things I could do to improve the situation a little bit. My first consideration was the overlays. We do have them in school and they are very worthwhile but when my daughter (who is mildly dyslexic) was in school they were quite new and not easy to get hold of. As an alternative I popped down to our local Woollies (oh, how I miss it!) and bought some tinted plastic polypockets. They worked really well for her so I thought it might be worth seeing if something similar was still available and I found something similar, and available in a few different colours, here . Reuse-able and not very expensive – just the job! My second task was to have coloured dry wipe boards in addition to the usual white boards. I have made these before using pastel coloured card and heavyweight laminating pouches – they work perfectly well with a dry wipe marker and can last a long time. This time I though it might be worth finding out if something was available to buy and I happily came across these, although they are a little pricey in my mind.
Writing books were next on my agenda. These are mostly priced at over £2 each on various dyslexia product sites but I have found some that are a little cheaper here.I know that I could just get packets of coloured paper but this seems unfair when other children in school all write in books – kind of gets in the way of the actual inclusion bit I feel!!! I’ll be posting more about dyslexia friendly ideas and resources over the next few weeks and there are a few posts about recording work differently, touch typing and other things to assist with inclusion that you might find helpful. But my final tip of the day is this. In school we use Promethean IWBs running Activ Inspire. Something I have always thought was a great tool on these was the handwriting recognition tool – give the board a suitable background colour, set a suitable font (considering size and colour) and it turns your not always perfect handwriting into easy to read print. It’s not always accurate (so keep an eye out for mistakes) but it does make things clearer. And the wow factor when children see it for the first time is huge!