Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that most often has the greatest impact on reading. The International Dyslexia Foundation® estimates that as many as 15-20% of the school-age population in the United States have some symptom(s) of Dyslexia. Of course not all of those people require accommodations, but many do.
Though research is scientifically inconclusive regarding whether or not color or fonts make it easier for people with Dyslexia to read text, users say that it does in fact help. The creator of the OpenDyslexic font, Abelardo Gonzalez, has Dyslexia himself. Gonzalez mentioned in an interview that he had originally created the font incorporating different aspects of fonts that are proven to help, including the weighted bottom of the letters and letter spacing. The OpenDyslexic font was added after a teenage student told Aaron Sherman, the creator of Storyboard That, how much the font made a difference in his ability to read independently. Check out the example to see the difference between Times New Roman and OpenDyslexic.
In addition to the Dyslexia font options, users have the ability to change the color of the background and fonts; the backgrounds can be in color, gray scale, or sepia. The user also has the option to change the color of the font to help with color contrast against the chosen background. Many people with Dyslexia have difficulty with contrast. These options allow the user to personalize their storyboard based on what works best for them, especially since not every person with Dyslexia has the same background or font contrast preferences.
As with anything, there are many different techniques used when teaching students with Dyslexia. A common, highly reputable method is the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach to reading. Multi-sensory instruction is wonderful and has had great success. It is frequently conducted in a small setting with a teacher specifically trained in it, but how do the students’ regular classroom teachers implement that approach through all subjects?
Storyboard That is a natural approach to the visual aspect of multi-sensory learning, especially for students with learning disabilities. Students with Dyslexia typically struggle with pencil and paper assignments, while incorporating a storyboard allows the students to use a visual approach to an assignment instead. The sample assignment mentioned in the storyboard is a book report. By composing a visual piece of work, it allows the student to focus on the representation of their comprehension of the book - rather than struggling with their written expression. Here is an example of the type of work the students could create as an alternative to a written report.
Students aren’t the only ones who can use Storyboard That. As a teacher, you can use it to tailor your lesson to specific students. Many students with Dyslexia will have accommodations on their Individual Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 Plans. One of the more common accommodations is the use of a graphic organizer. Storyboard That is printer friendly, which makes it a great way for an educator to create personalized graphic organizers. The vast array of scenes and characters allow the storyboards to be tailored to numerous subjects and topics within those subjects. This is an example of a character map that can be printed out and given to students to help them follow along while reading the story.
Storyboarding is Dyslexia friendly - a great and fun addition to any classroom where there are students with Dyslexia. It allows all the students to create work that represents their strengths while also being inclusive of all the students. The students’ knowledge of the material does not have to be lost on the difficulty of reading or writing when Storyboard That is incorporated. For additional ways to increase accessibility for students using Storyboard That, check out our article on Chrome Extensions for Accessibility!
How to Create Dyslexia-Friendly Storyboards
Font and Text Design
Use dyslexia-friendly fonts, such as OpenDyslexic or Dyslexie, that are designed to improve readability for individuals with dyslexia. Increase font size to ensure clarity and reduce strain on the eyes. Provide ample spacing between letters, words, and lines of text to make it easier to distinguish and track.
Color and Contrast
Use high contrast between text and background colors to enhance legibility. Avoid using busy or distracting backgrounds that may interfere with reading. Highlight important information using bold or underlined text rather than relying solely on color.
Use clear and consistent headings, subheadings, and bullet points to organize information. Break down content into smaller, manageable chunks to reduce cognitive overload. Use visual cues, such as icons or images, to aid comprehension and reinforce key concepts.
Incorporate visual elements, such as images, illustrations, or diagrams, to provide additional context and support understanding. Use captions or labels to clarify visual content and reinforce vocabulary. Include audio options, when possible, to cater to different learning preferences.
Simplify Language and Instructions
Use plain language and avoid complex or convoluted sentences. Provide clear and concise instructions, breaking them down into step-by-step processes. Use visual prompts or examples to supplement written instructions.
Provide Supportive Tools
Offer dyslexia-friendly reading tools, such as text-to-speech software or dyslexia-friendly web browser extensions, to facilitate access and comprehension. Encourage the use of assistive technology, such as speech-to-text or word prediction software, to support written expression. Provide opportunities for students to personalize storyboards, allowing them to adjust settings based on their individual needs.
Frequently Asked Questions About OpenDyslexic Font
What is the OpenDyslexic font?
The OpenDyslexic font is a typeface designed to help people with dyslexia read more easily. It features letters and characters that are easier to distinguish and differentiate, with certain modifications that make it easier for people with dyslexia to read.
How does the OpenDyslexic font work?
The OpenDyslexic font works by incorporating various design elements that help people with dyslexia better recognize and distinguish between letters and words. These design elements may include larger spacing between letters, increased spacing between lines, and more distinct letter shapes.
Who can benefit from using the OpenDyslexic font?
Anyone with dyslexia may benefit from using the OpenDyslexic font, but it can also be helpful for people with other reading difficulties, such as visual impairments or reading challenges related to neurological conditions.
Is the OpenDyslexic font scientifically proven to be effective?
There is some evidence to suggest that the OpenDyslexic font can be effective in helping people with dyslexia read more easily. However, more research is needed to determine the font's efficacy and effectiveness in different contexts.
Where can I download the OpenDyslexic font?
The OpenDyslexic font is available for download from various sources online, including opendyslexic.org and other font websites.
Can the OpenDyslexic font be used on any device?
Yes, the OpenDyslexic font can be used on most devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. You may need to download and install the font onto your device before you can use it.
Is the OpenDyslexic font free to use?
The OpenDyslexic font is typically available for free or at a low cost, depending on the source. However, some versions may be subject to licensing fees or other restrictions.
Can I use the OpenDyslexic font for commercial purposes?
This may depend on the specific license agreement for the font you are using. Some versions may allow for commercial use, while others may require a separate license or fee. It's important to read the terms and conditions for any font you plan to use for commercial purposes.
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