There are a few design features of WorldView Software’s social studies programs that make them ideal for learners with dyslexia. We’ll go over them shortly, but first, let’s define what we mean by dyslexia.
In her seminal 1996 article in Scientific American, Dr. Sally Shaywitz defined dyslexia as a problem with language processing, not visual impairment:
[it is] a deficiency in the processing of the distinctive linguistic units, called phonemes, that make up all spoken and written words…The phonological model is consistent both with the clinical symptoms of dyslexia and with what neuroscientists know about brain organization and function.
According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, some signs a reader might have dyslexia are the following:
- Read slowly and with much effort
- Are often the one to solve the problem
- Can’t spell; have messy handwriting
- Your writing shows terrific imagination
- Have trouble remembering dates and names
- Think out-of-the box, grasp the big picture
- Have difficulty retrieving and pronouncing spoken words
- Have excellent vocabulary and ideas
WorldView’s programs have features that can assist dyslexic learners. First, all of our programs are visible in the web browser of your choice, which means that the reader can adjust the size of the font. Compare a “normal” size — meaning the size I normally use — pictured here:
to the size the text becomes when it’s enlarged to 125% using CTRL+ (hit the CTRL key at the same time as the + key):
Second, as you can see from the previous screenshots, WorldView programs use a sans serif font for body text which is thought to be easier for people with dyslexia to read. Third, our programs also use a colored background with a gentle gradient, which assists readers in keeping place when reading on screen.
Fourth, dyslexic readers often find that taking notes and composing writing assignments is also easier on a word processor or computer. WorldView programs make that easy with our in-program guided essays and short answer questions.
Finally, we include sound files with our chapter overviews, which allow readers to listen to the text as they read the written copy. Just look for the sound buttons at the beginning of the section:
If you or your students have dyslexia and have suggestions on other ways to improve the presentation, please let us know in the comments!
Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at http://www.worldviewsoftware.com/preview/