Tools and Strategies for Reading

At this time this page is not a course for professional development credit. It is provided as a resource and point of discussion for educators and parents. Source: AT Tools and Strategies for Writing Workshop hosted by the AZ Dept of Ed as part of the Technology for Learning Communities Workshop Series presented by Scott Marfilius on October 19-20, 2009.


Assistive Technology assists individuals to complete tasks - it is required when the student can't accomplish the task the way the other students are doing it.
Instructional Technology can assist students in acquiring information and is used to acquire or reinforce certain skill(s).

Before deciding on specific reading tools or strategies for students, we need to think about their needs and functioning levels as well as the tasks that they will be completing.

This form from the Georgia Project for Assistive Technology provides a range of student skill sets related to reading and provides some ideas for possible assistive technology tools to try: Academic and Learning Aids Reading Evaluation Protocol

A balanced approach to literacy instruction includes opportunities for working with letters and words (phonics/phonemic awareness), guided reading instruction, and independent reading for building fluency. See Children with Disabilities: Reading and Writing the Four-BlocksĀ® Way

Supports at the word/sound level:
Effective reading programs build on alphabetic knowledge, phonemic awareness, systematic phonic instruction, vocabulary development, and the reading of text. Students who struggle with phonemes or phonics may benefit from instructional approaches that include tools such as:

Developmental Stages/Levels of Reading (Ellery, 2005)
Teachers need to decide which strategies, techniques, and resources will best support their students and move them to the next stage:
-Emergent
-Early
-Transitional
-Fluent

Teachers may need to actively select and/or create texts for their students. Explore the Beginning Literacy Framework (Don Johnston Inc., 2002) for suggestions about students who are at emergent, transitional, and conventional levels of literacy.

Before reading, teachers may need to help students build background knowledge, develop connection to self, or establish a purpose for reading. Here are some possible tools:

During reading teachers may need to provide vocabulary support, practice developing fluency, and comprehension strategies.

Web Resources for Electronic Text (used when students cannot read independently):

After Reading, teachers may need to help students use/review/reflect on information learned, respond to questions, summarize and paraphrase. Tools/Strategies may include:

Technology Supports for Struggling Readers with brief summaries can be found at Assistive Technology in Texas Schools Series


Quick Overview Summary of AT Ideas for Reading
The following chart was developed by Easter Seals Southwest Human Development AT Program, Phoenix, Arizona, 2009. Adapted from a project in collaboration with the Arizona Department of Education. If you want to view without downloading, right-click below and choose "open link in new window."