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AEM Café

Illustration of three cups of coffee held by different people's hands, from above

Are you looking for new or improved ways to integrate accessibility in your classroom or schools? The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) AEM Café may be the resource for you.

Creating Annotations to Support Reading

Drawing of a woman using a laptop

Creating annotations is important for readers who want to take notes while they are reading. Taking notes of important items to remember will make it easier to review the document for main ideas or important details. It’s also a way to note where there are questions that need to be answered. Creating annotations helps students become involved and engaged with the text. It may help students focus on the important content in the text.

Protecting Your Students When Reading: At Home

Image of a woman sitting on a sofa with her legs up and a laptop on her leg

When students are reading at home on a…

  • laptop, mobile device, large print, paper braille or refreshable braille displays
  • at home seated on a lounge chair, couch or bed

Students who read at home with various accessible options, most often do so in a very casual way; by sitting on a couch or lying in bed. What we need to consider when students read at home in this was is the position of their bodies and the impact it can have on how long they read, how productive their reading is, and how the position itself effects their bodies.

Protecting Your Students When Reading: Alternate Seating

Image of a boy sitting on a box

When students use…

  • any book or reading device
  • at a table or desk
  • yet require alternate seating!

Although sitting at a desk reading textbooks, reading books, large print or braille books while using a laptop, desk top computer or an iPad should follow posture guidelines, there are times when students are unable to do so in basic classroom chairs. At these times, alternatives need to be considered that can support the student in a sitting position that follows as close to the guidelines as possible.

Background Color

Laptop with the word reading displayed

In an earlier blog, increasing font size to help with readability on a screen was discussed. Similarly, this month we will talk about changing the background color to improve the readability of a document.

Protecting Your Students When Reading: Textbooks & Trade, Large Print or Braille Books

Photo of a few books open on a desk

When students use…

  • a book such as a textbook, trade, large print or braille book
  • on a table or desk
  • a typical chair

Sitting at a desk reading textbooks, reading books, large print or braille books should follow the same posture guidelines as sitting at a desk using a laptop, desk top computer or an iPad.

Reading Speed

Drawing of a woman using a laptop

This school year, we have discussed various common features that may make reading electronic documents more accessible.

This month let’s talk about changing the rate of reading speed in documents.

Protecting Your Students When Reading: Cell phones, iPads, and Kindles

Photo of a young boy holding a computer tablet close to his face sitting at a desk

When students use…

  • a small device such as mobile/cell or iPad/Kindle
  • on a table or desk
  • a typical chair

Using smaller devices such as an iPad, Kindle or cell phone can be more difficult to position at a desktop. This is especially true knowing that posture guidelines remain the same when sitting at a desk and using a desktop computer. The elbows, hips and knees should be at 90 degrees; the feet, flat on the floor; and the screen of the device at eye level when one is sitting up straight.

ALT Text

Laptop displaying the AIM-VA logo with a tag attached to the screen saying "This is the AIM-VA logo"

Happy New Year!

Let’s start the new year by looking at one of the important tools for students using screen readers or who have visual impairments, ‘alt text’ for visual data such as images, drawings, or other graphics.

Protecting Your Students When Reading: Laptops/Chromebooks, Refreshable Braille Displays

Illustration of a girl sitting at a computer desk using a laptop

When students use…

  • a laptop, Chromebook, or refreshable braille displays
  • on a table or desk
  • a typical chair

Using computer laptops, Chromebooks or even refreshable braille displays are not like using Desktop computers. Since these smaller, portable devices are most often used lying flat on a table or desktop, it’s important to address proper positioning to protect your students when reading.