How to Use Technology to Support Struggling Readers

Reading is not a skill that comes naturally for many children. While kids learn to read at different ages, for struggling readers, the activity can be an unusually tough one. They have to struggle with lessons and assignments, which can be frustrating. Most struggling readers learn early enough that the earlier they fall behind, the harder it is to catch up. 

When a child cannot read, school becomes unpleasant and their confidence goes down. But struggling to read shouldn’t be a challenge. Technology has revolutionized learning for children, especially those with difficulties reading, writing, or organizing their thoughts coherently. Here’s how you can use technology to help such children. 

Table of Contents

Use Text to Speech (TTS) Software

Text-to-speech software lets students see text and hear it read aloud at the same time. To activate the tool, students highlight or click on words and a computer-generated voice reads them. Children can use TTS to read books, web pages, and any digital text. They can also convert text files into audio files.

The software helps students understand text more by reading digital or printed text aloud. Students are more likely to comprehend text when unfamiliar words are read out to them. Text-to-speech software can help students spot  grammatical errors and revise their work.

Educators can use text-to-speech software to supplement reading programs and enhance students’ reading fluency, decoding, word recognition, and comprehension. The software is very helpful to students who learn best through audio methods–those who retain more information through listening rather than reading.

Visual Learning Software

Visual learning software presents ideas and concepts graphically. It is ideal for improving students’ reading comprehension skills and may include mind maps and graphic organizers. Graphic organizers may be digital or use pen and paper. Students can use them to take notes as they read, increasing their comprehension. 

Students can use visual learning software to illustrate diverse text structures including narratives, descriptives, and argumentatives. The software is ideal for helping children identify key elements in reading material and get an overview of the entire text.

In settings where students are reading to learn, visual learning software ensures reading doesn’t put a high burden on students’ working memory. This helps them categorize ideas easily or link supporting evidence to key concepts.

Digital Texts

21st-century readers need to comprehend different types of texts–comic strips, news, informational documents, and much more. While some text is available in digital and print forms, some can only be accessed through technology.

Digital texts greatly facilitate differentiated instruction. The display control on screens allows students to control how text is displayed. They can customize settings such as spacing, font type, size, bolding, or color contrast, freeing up cognitive load to increase comprehension. 

Some digital texts have features such as table of contents that help students to better understand the texts’ main ideas and structure. Hyperlinked text helps students access further information to build on their background knowledge.

Reading is a challenging task that activates many cognitive processes simultaneously. Technology can support other methods educators use to teach. It can highlight areas of weakness and improve comprehension. Regardless of the technology you use, teach all students reading strategies that encourage them to use contextual cues, ask questions, focus on metacognition, make connections, and expand on previous knowledge.

About The Author:

Adam Smith is a content writing guru at Contenterist. He is adept in IT as well. He loves to write on different topics. In his free time, he likes to travel and explore different parts of the world.


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