How dyslexic students learn.

Student perspective video: Strategies that dyslexic students use when reading (4 minutes : 48 seconds)

Ryan Beardsley (School of Physics & Astronomy), Annie Evans (School of Humanities), Anna Kidd (Nottingham University Business School), Michael Shaw (School of Biosciences).

Kate:
How do you find doing research where you’re now having to read lots of journal articles and things like that? Can you work with your supervisor for guidance?

Ryan Beardsley, PhD student, Physics:
Yes sure, sometimes he’ll come in and he’ll give something to me to read and want me to comment on that, and that’s quite difficult because it takes me time to read it and I feel quite conscious that it takes me longer than it perhaps would other people, so what I tend to do is pick out a graph or an equation and engage with him verbally about it, and I can learn what the paper has to say through that discussion and then shore up my knowledge later by going through it more carefully.

Kate:
So you focus in on particular, often, images and then trigger a conversation.

Anna Kidd, MBA Student:
I have been told I read slow, but I have to say compared to a lot of people on my course I do read quite fast. But I did languages for my first degree, and one of the things you’re taught when you’re translating is skim reading, and I do do that, partly because I get frustrated having to sit and read things word by word, so if I don’t understand a word I hop over it, replace it with something else and carry on, replace it with a word that fits and carry on.

Annie:
Just reading and spelling, I think they’re my worst bits, but I have the flickering, so if I can’t see the page I will just give up. Sometimes I wear sunglasses because they’re green because I haven’t got the green glasses yet. So sometimes I’ll try, but I do feel a bit silly reading indoors in sunglasses, but sometimes I do that.

Kate:
We know that dyslexia actually has very, very different effects and impacts on different people. How does it actually impact on the way that you study and the way that you read or write? How do you feel it affects you?

Michael:
For example, when I’m reading journals I do find the print too small. And when I’m reading I tend to lose track of where I’ve finished, the lines might jump or I have to keep going back, and I have to keep reading it and reading it to absorb it, it takes me a really long time to absorb it even if I highlight it. I think the main thing is the print on the journals is a lot smaller, and the amount you have to read.

Kate:
So what kind of visual presentation of...?

Michael:
I’ve tried the coloured cover sheets, which does help. I’ve asked my tutor to make the prints bigger which has helped, but again I do find it a lot more time consuming to read through a journal and absorb it, it takes me a really long time.

Kate:
Ryan, how does it impact you?

Ryan:
We’re pretty similar really. It’s hard to articulate what I see when I look at a page, it’s not that the words are fuzzy or hazy or that they move particularly, but it kind of shimmers on the page, and it’s quite off-putting. So I’ve just got some coloured overlays that I’m starting to use now, and that makes an improvement, but I’ve only just got them a few days ago.

Kate:
What colours particularly help?

Michael:
More yellow.

Kate:
And people would be different?

Ryan:
Yes, it’s orange for me. I find, as well, if I format all my work with double line spacing and larger spaces between the words, that helps a lot.

Kate:
So it’s not just size of text, it’s white space as well. And colour of paper, does that make a difference when you’re getting handouts?

Michael:
Not for me, no.

Ryan:
I don’t really know.

Michael:
I have had journals read by a reader and that helps, and what happens is they put it on recording and I find if I listen to it and read it I can absorb it better when I'm hearing things, which I picked up from recording the lectures, I find that when I listen to things I absorb it better through the ears. So what I do is, I’ve got a reader who reads my journals onto my recorder, and then I will listen to that. But again, it’s being able to fit that into your time management, because each reader might need a few days to tape it, and you might need the journal in those few days. So again it’s trying to get a nice balance in-between, but that definitely does help because you’re hearing it and you can read it as well, so you can stop it and go back to it.

Produced: June 2007, in collaboration with the University's Promoting Enhanced Student Learning (PESL) initiative.

This video also in:
Teaching: Setting reading (student perspective)

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Printed: 04:00 pm, Tuesday 16th April 2024