Transcript: Dyslexia in the Writing Center: Multimodal Strategies

Sarah Murphy, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Transcript of YouTube video 

Hi, my name is Sarah Murphy and I wrote “Multimodal Strategies for Assisting Students with Dyslexia” to try and share ways writing centers can be more accessible to students with learning disabilities. One of the most difficult aspects in fostering this conversation is how to do so when writing centers do not generally have access to students’ accommodations and we, as tutors, should always avoid making assumptions about students’ abilities. [00:30] So, I would like to show how the guide I have created can help writing centers and tutors be prepared to work particularly with students with dyslexia, but that also features helpful adaptive strategies to support many different learning styles. Here I showcase the examples I refer to in the accompanying text that can help students without crossing a boundary that may make the session uncomfortable for the student. The following are examples of ways to incorporate [01:00] multimodal strategies that specifically help students with dyslexia, even if they have not disclosed this information to their tutor.

The first program I discuss is unsubtlety named OpenDyslexic. This is a free program that will take a document that is difficult to read and it will reformat it to a more readable typeface. OpenDyslexic is a font type that was designed to help some of the common problems people with dyslexia face. [01:30] It can be helpful for any students with sources that have difficult-to-read fonts. This is a program writing centers can consider having downloaded on their computers so students can use this resource 

There are other programs that can also help students read material. I list three different free text to speech software. Each of these will read documents aloud. Here is an example of how Natural Reader processes texts [02:00] [Natural Reader demo] Students can either put their readings or their paper into these programs and it will read the document back to the student. These are more programs writing centers can consider having already downloaded on their computers. 

 [2:30] Multimedia sources can also be a great way to incorporate non-text sources into an assignment. Students often don’t think to use things like images, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks. Tutors can constantly be thinking about other types of sources students can use so that they are not limited purely to print sources. A student can listen to a podcast like this. These strategies, along with the ones [03:00] I discuss in my paper “Multimodal Strategies for Assisting Students with Dyslexia” have the ability to make our writing center accessible to students with dyslexia. By continually incorporating these programs and strategies into our daily tutoring practices, we will make more students feel welcomed and supported in our spaces.