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Addressing Reading Difficulties

image of poster

Poster details and download button


  • Published: 2015
  • Revision: 1.0
  • Format: A3
  • File type: pdf
  • File size: 0.1Mb


An accessible breakdown of this PDF poster is available further down the page.

A step-by-step guide in the form of a question and answer 'checklist' helping you to identify problems and suggesting a range of practical technology focused solutions to support pupils with writing difficulties.

The infograph is available as an A2 poster, and also as a PDF with clickable links that take you to sources of information on the internet.

An accessible breakdown of this PDF poster is available further down the page.

Contents of the PDF poster

This is an accessible breakdown of the contents of the PDF poster, designed to be accessible with a screen reader, and also for people who find it hard to see or access the links in the poster.

Who could help?

  • Consult school Support for Learning teachers, librarian and colleagues
  • Consult local authority ICT/ASN Specialist
  • Check for contact details in your area -

I have a pupil with reading difficulties. What could help?

1. Identifying the problems, gathering information, team approach

Refer to local SfL/ ASN guidance Document(s). Involve SfL/ASN Team. Consult Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit. Consider consulting VI/ Dyslexia/Assistive Technology Service.

1.1 What do the difficulties arise from?

  • Seeing or understanding the text, due to dyslexia/specific learning difficulties with language, reading, spelling
  • Understanding the text due to learning difficulties
  • Holding the book or turning pages, due to physical difficulties
  • Understanding the text, due to language impairment or as a result of hearing impairment
  • Seeing the book, due to vision or visual processing, acuity, visual field tracking

2. Have you addressed these difficulties with reading interventions?

  • Reading comprehension
  • Paired reading
  • Reciprocal reading
  • Precision reading
  • Phonological awareness

3. Have you tried adaptations?

  • Coloured overlays or lenses
  • Magnifiers
  • Book stands

4. Have you tried other types of reading materials?

  • Graphic novels
  • Age-Appropriate books eg. Barrington Stoke, Rising Stars

5. Have you tried digital books?

Commerical eBooks

  • Kindle & Amazon
  • iPad & iBook Store
  • Google Books
  • WH Smith, Waterstones

Free eBooks

  • Books for All
  • The Seeing Ear
  • Load2Learn
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Public libraries


  • Kindle
  • iPad
  • Windows
  • Android
  • MacOS Nook, Kobo etc

6. Techniques for reading digital books

  • Font
  • Font and colour backgrounds
  • Font size, line spacing, character spacing
  • Physical access
  • Navigating the book

7. Have you tried textto-speech (TTS)?

Use the Protocol for Accomodations in Reading to Compare TTS with unaided reading (De Coste and Wilson, 2012)

What to Look for in TTS

  • Does it highlight the text as it reads?
  • What programs can it read from?
  • Does it come with good voices?
  • Does it have other features (word prediction etc)?


Apps with TTS eg. ClaroRead, Co:Writer, Voice Dream, iReadWrite


  • TTS Programs
    • WordTalk for Microsoft Word
    • Free eg Balabolka, Orato, Minireader, Natural Reader
    • eg ClaroRead, Co:Writer, Penfriend, Read & Write Gold
  • Scottish Computer Voices




Apps eg. Easy Text to Speech, Voice Read Aloud Voices eg. Cereproc, Ivona

8. Have you tried audio books?

  • Free/low cost audio books
    • Calibre
    • Public libraries
    • Project Gutenberg
    • Load2Learn
    • Listening books
    • RNIB
  • Commercial audio books
    • Amazon
    • iBook Store

9. Have you tried other alternative formats?

  • Large Print
  • Braille
  • 'Easy Read'
  • Symbolsupported

10. Have you tried making accessible formats?

  • Copyright
  • Audio
  • Braille
  • eBook formats
  • Large Print
  • PDF
  • Scanning Paper
  • Books
  • Word

11. Next Steps

  • Source books in required format
  • Identify tools/features needed to support reading
  • Identify device(s) and software apps
  • Provide device software and books
  • Teach learner