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TextHelp software makes literacy accessible for Aberdeen learners

When Aberdeen City Council wanted to make modern communications more accessible for some 20,000 students in the Scottish city, giving them a better chance of mastering all curricula, it turned to TextHelp Read&Write literacy support software.

The council is one of 32 education authorities in Scotland responsible for local schools, including financial responsibility for 48 primary and 11 secondary schools.

Hazel Lynch, education officer at Aberdeen City Council, said their aim with education technology is to meet education accessibility requirements, while also giving every pupil unrestricted access to all the tools they might need.

“In Read&Write, we’ve found a solution that works across all our schools – primary and secondary,” Lynch said.

TextHelp’s Read&Write is offered to every local school pupil as part of a programme that started in 2017. Two pupils and two teachers in each school were trained as mentors for peers using the software, with families and carers invited to learn via parent groups and evening workshops.

“A big part of Read&Write’s appeal is that it’s based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles. That’s something we believe in wholeheartedly, giving all students equal opportunities to succeed,” Lynch said.

Katie Westacott, a primary school teacher at Kaimhill School, said: “We’ve got Read&Write on pupil Chromebooks as well as teachers’ laptops. It’s really well integrated with Google Classroom plus Docs and Slides that we’re using all the time.”

The software not only can help with the comprehension of written material but with writing and correcting work. Many children like to have PDF documents read to them, particularly if they have problems recognising words, Westacott said.

TextHelp Read&Write is also available for the workplace, assisting adults with diverse needs or English as a second language in office communications and projects — whether using Windows, Mac, Google, iPad or Android platforms.

“Success depends on realising the full potential of all your workforce, and that means giving everybody the confidence to feel engaged and able to deliver their best,” according to TextHelp.

Other TextHelp education solutions include EquatIO, which aims to make maths more accessible by allowing users to type, write or dictate any numerical expression without using code, and WriQ, an app for assessing writing tasks and receiving feedback on written work.

(Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash)

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