Supporting Eloise's Reading

Eloise's reading
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Eloise was born with a degenerative vision impairment. She managed well through most of primary school, but in Grade 6 began to find it difficult and time-consuming to read the small text in the books and novels used by her class. When her teacher became aware of this, she consulted Eloise about the conditions which made it easier or harder for her to read and then investigated possibilities for magnifying text.

The teacher also consulted a school librarian who explained that a number of options were available, depending on what Eloise was required to read. For example, when the material was online, it was easy to magnify by adjusting the computer screen, and the school could purchase electronic versions of some books. However, the school would need to purchase a magnifier for material which was not available online. The librarian also suggested that a hand-held e-reader could be a good way for Eloise to access novels, because it was portable and she could adjust the text size easily.

The librarian offered to show Eloise and her teacher how to adjust the size of text on the school’s computer screens, and the school purchased a magnifier to be set up in Eloise’s classroom for her to use whenever necessary. The school also purchased an e-reader which it loaned to Eloise, with the class novels available on it. To encourage Eloise to read beyond the set texts, the teacher also began to collect a wide range of age-appropriate novels for the e-reader so that Eloise could browse other books and read them whenever she wished.

Eloise adapted quickly to using the new technology. She became adept at using the magnifier in the classroom, and she chatted regularly to her teacher about the books she had read and enjoyed using the portable e-reader. Sometimes she requested that a specific title be added to the collection. The school is now investigating the purchase of several e-readers to make available for loan as part of a broader strategy to engage students in reading.