W is for…

W is for…Writing. There are already lots of tips in this A-Z of learning for making your writing better. Have another look at A is for…Adjectives, C is for…Connectives, O is for…Openers, Q is for…Quality and Quantity and V is for…Vocabulary.

However, the best thing you can do to become a good writer, besides practise, is to read. If you haven’t already read R is for…Reading, have a look at that now. When you read, have a notebook next to you and if you find any words or phrases that you like, write them in your notebook.  This will help you to remember them and then you can use them in your own writing. This isn’t cheating (as long as you don’t copy a whole story into your book)!  It’s called being a magpie (because magpies like to take anything they like the look of and use it themselves).  If you tell your teacher that you have started a magpie book they will know exactly what you mean and they will be impressed that you have taken a big step towards improving your writing.

Related posts:  V is for…     X is for….

M

How Dyslexia Friendly are Your Documents?

Yesterday I attended a course on dyslexia, and the trainer gave us a few tips to make your documents easier to read and process for people with dyslexia. They are easy to implement and will have no, or very little, cost to you or your organisation.

One of the problems people with dyslexia have is glare from the paper. This can cause words to appear squashed together with big spaces between which sometime resemble rivers running down the page. To help counter this:

  • Use cream paper instead of white for hand-outs
  • Don’t cram too much text on a page. Leave plenty of space.
  • Use a minimum point size of 12 for printed documents and 28 for PowerPoint presentations.

It is difficult for them to distinguish between certain letters such as b and d, or p and q. Simple ways to help with this are:

  • Use a dyslexia-friendly font: Comic Sans, Tahoma, Verdana and Primary Sassoon are the best. In an emergency Arial will do, although the letters in Arial are less rounded so it is not quite so good.
  • Never use serif fonts (the ones with flicks) such as Times New Roman.
  • Never use block capitals for headings. Capitals have no ascenders (sticks up like in b d h) or descenders (tails below the line like in g p y) so it is harder to distinguish between the letters.
  • Never use underlining, because the line mixes in with the letters) or italics because that distorts the letter shapes. To emphasis a word or phrase use bold.

Finally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to track along a line of text and then back to the beginning of the next line. To help make this process easier:

  • Use a minimum line space of 1.5.
  • Avoid using columns as this means they have to track back more often.
  • Use bullet points to break up long, text heavy paragraphs.
  • Always left align documents rather than justifying it.
  • Don’t start a new sentence at the end of a line.

Many thanks to Rachel Ingham for these ideas. If you have any other ideas for making documents more dyslexia-friendly I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

Related posts:
A Multisensory Approach to Spelling
A Multisensory Approach to Reading

For links to other interesting education-related articles, please like my Facebook page.