Tech & Dyslexia

Tutoring Program Adds Specialized Texts for Dyslexic Readers

New Century Education Foundation is embedding lessons into its adaptive, online tutoring system, to address the needs of dyslexic students of any age. New Century, a nonprofit that focuses on helping teachers and parents improve the learning of students with specific needs, is working with Noah Text to add its stories into the organization's "Intelligent Tutoring System."

The online reading program was developed with Sarah Blodgett, the developer of Noah Text, as well as researchers at Michigan State University and Orton-Gillingham Academy-trained reading specialists.

Tutoring Program Adds Specialized Texts for Dyslexic Readers

Noah Text uses an approach in its specialized books designed to guide the reader toward the most critical patterns in English, bringing predictability to a system that, as Noah Text described, "is otherwise very complex to the dyslexic reader." The method is intended to reduce the burdens posed by English and its many irregularities. The goal is to help students focus more on the meaning of the text, while increasing reading fluency and speed and helping them to have a more fluid and relaxed reading experience.

Noah Text is currently embedded in a series of chapter books, titled, The Mystical Years of Franklin Noah Peterson. Teachers have reported to the company that these are often the first chapter books that their dyslexic students have read with success.

Along with the use of the Noah Text book content, the New Century lessons provide other mechanisms to help teach students the orthographic patterns needed to decode more complex words found in the text. The text includes supports for helping students with articulation. The lessons also provide pre-reading, reading and close reading exercises with features for helping readers develop better skills with understanding literal comprehension, main idea and inference.

"We have been working with New Century for a year to develop lessons to help older students with dyslexia using Noah Text. Noah Text enhances reading fluency, stamina and independence by highlighting critical word patterns within text," said Associate Professor Troy Mariage, an associate professor at Michigan State's Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, in a press release.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.