A Blizzard of Winter Lessons! Are they Accessible?
January is a great time to order those seasonal books and curriculum-based materials! This fun time of year brings many winter topics and vocabulary to explore in classrooms. As classes are working on winter theme units, are your students with print disabilities able to access these thematic books and other materials to read this season? No? AIM-VA can help by converting teacher-created winter curriculum-based materials such as a Frosty Worksheets or Winter Weather Watch Charts and convert them to formats such as large print, accessible PDFs, structured WORD documents and ePubs.
A student with a print disability resulting from a physical limitation and potentially unable to physically hold a book or turn its pages can access their materials using AIM-VA formats paired with assistive technology. For example, this student may already use a tablet with a touch screen for Internet and email access. Now, using AIM-VA formats, this student can use the touch screen technology to access their textbook and other curriculum-based materials, such as classroom readings, worksheets, and tests. An ePub might be the format of choice.
- An ePub is a format created specifically for mobile devices. It would be a format available for uploading on a tablet or other mobile devices, including but not limited to an iPad, Kindle, iPhone, Android, or Nook.
- Epub content is reflowable, which means the text is optimized to fit the page regardless of font size.
- An AIM-VA ePub has built-in electronic navigation for students to freely move within the contents of the file and access the desired pages.
A student with a print disability resulting from dyslexia can access their materials using AIM-VA formats paired with text-to-speech technology. For example, a student might benefit from both a specialized font designed for individuals with dyslexia, such as Dyslexie, along with the opportunity to access text read aloud when desired. If so, a structured WORD format might be a good choice.
- A WORD document enables users to customize font types, size, and styles.
- An AIM-VA WORD document has built-in navigation designed to be used like a table of contents. This feature can be viewed with WORD’s document map and provide quick and easy links to chapters and other headings.
- AIM-VA WORD formats are designed to be free of extraneous graphics and pictures that are placed within standard textbooks and worksheets as aesthetically pleasing but unrelated to the actual content. This reduces visual distraction and confusion.
With thought and consideration, students who read using alternative formats can have the same opportunities as every other student in the classroom. Let AIM-VA help your students with print disabilities join in the fun and access reading materials more independently!
We Are AIM-VA AIM-VA is a service of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) through a grant to The Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities at George Mason University. AIM-VA provides accessible instructional materials to Virginia K-12 students who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Subscribe to AIM-VA's monthly newsletter. Sign up here.