If you could do only 3 things to teach your students to read, 3 things to teach them to write, and 3 things to develop their study skills, what would these be? I got the pleasure of checking out Scott Marfilius’ webinar on the Top 9 Concepts for Reading, Writing and Study Skills. Scott has more than 30 years of work in the field of cognitive and learning difficulties, so when I heard he was surveying his contacts to identify what they feel are key features for helping struggling students succeed, I knew the results would be a commendable list.
Here are Scott’s top 9 concepts framed within Kurzweil 3000-firefly:
Top 3 Tools for Reading
- Customizable Text-to-speech Aids Auditory Processing
Different students process sound, pitch, tone and language differently. That is what’s great with Kurzweil 3000-firefly’s approach to audio files – they are totally customizable. You can turn it off completely, you can speed it, slow it down and there’s numerous voices to choose from. Some students will listen to pleasure reading at a faster rate because the can process the content faster than they would their biology text book. Teachers should check in with their students to know what they prefer for reading speed and voice.
- Visual Processing Enables Students to Connect with Text
Just like with audio, visual information can be processed differently by different users. Too much visual change can make it hard for students to engage. Again, customization is key here. Kurzweil 3000-firefly controls visual components making it simpler for students to connect with the written word. An example of this is highlighting preferences. Students can follow along with highlighting features that can be tailored to highlight the individual word being read, the line or the entire sentence, based on preference.
- Interacting with Text Encourages Active or Close Reading
Reading is not passive. Scott mentions that his nephew wouldn’t get excited if you read history to him. But when he learned he could access his favorite skateboard magazine in Kurzweil 3000-firefly, and have that content read to him, he became actively engaged. We don’t want students to just read text and not interact. Kurzweil 3000-firefly delivers study skills toolbar that make the content interactive. An example Scott cited included a school in New Jersey where the teachers have a process of turning headings into questions to get the students to engage.
Top 3 Tools for Study Skills
- Highlighting to Interact with Text
We mentioned highlighting as it applies to reading, it is also key for studying. Learning Information by highlighting words or phrases (whether these be names, facts or additional supporting information) call attention to where to focus learning. By highlighting electronically what they need to review later – students can save time and be more focused, not having to reread an entire document. Students also enjoy the ease of extracting highlighted text to create a study guide or a vocab list with a click of a mouse.Creating a review for studying for a particular exam has never been so easy. Students don’t even have to print materials out to carry home because when they are done, they can save it to their cloud library to access at school, home or the library.What is also easy with the vocab guide is the students don’t have to look up the definitions. Their highlighted words can be saved to a new document that automatically populates the meaning next to the word.
- Footnote and Voice Notes to Assist Student Thinking
Students use Kurzweil 3000-firefly’s footnote tool to type in what they learned. But for those who struggle to write there is even a voice note option that through clicking easily creates and attaches an audio file.
- Side by Side Documents are More Productive
This feature opens 2 documents using tile windows so students can read on one side of the screen (or have copy read to them) while taking notes or forming outlines in the other window. What makes this really appealing to students is the click and drag feature. Students who don’t like to type can just highlight text from one window and drag it into the other – making note taking a breeze.
Top 3 Tools for Writing
- Use Speech to Monitor Writing for Improved Results
For students to proof their work, a reading spell check comes in handy. Many students don’t like the program to read their letters while generating text. Again, customization lets students tailor the word or sentence they want to hear. This not only keeps them engaged, but also allows them to identify misspelled words and grammar mistakes when the sentence is read back to them.
- Don’t Start with a Blank Screen
85% of students try to write in final form. Teachers know that outlining before starting to write is a much better approach. Kurzweil 3000-firefly provides writing tools that can help the visually-minded student create a graphic to organize their thoughts, then automatically view these thoughts in an outline form.
- Writing Path and Writing Templates Guide Effective Writing
Kurzweil 3000-firefly’s writing path can provide unsure students with instruction on where to go next with their writing assignment. Allowing them to cross check there efforts.Writing templates provided by Kurzweil 3000-firefly provides students with detailed notes for what they should include into the type of written assignment they are producing. For example, if they are putting together a persuasive paragraph, the solution will provide them with notes on the structure for what crafting a persuasive position.
Listen to Scott’s Webinar On-demand
Learn how to simplify your day, watch this free webinar now to learn more about Scott’s 9 concepts for reading, studying, and writing. You are invited to schedule a one-on-one demonstration with one of our consultants today.