Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Look: A Free Interactive Reading Tool by CVI Scotland

Look logo from CVI Scotland

CVI Scotland has created "Look", which is a new free interactive reading tool for children with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI).  They write:

We are delighted to introduce a new reading tool we have developed called Look.
 
We know that many with CVI struggle with reading. One of the reasons is once more...clutter!
 
Many think of clutter in terms of a busy classroom wall, or an untidy bedroom, or fussy wallpaper. These are examples of clutter and will create challenges for the person with CVI, but for many it goes much further.
 
When reading, a child with CVI may struggle, losing a word within (the clutter of) a sentence or paragraph of many words, particularly when they are learning to read and don't recognise most of the other words. For some children, the single word itself is a clutter of individual letters, each of which must be individually learnt, and recognised, then put with the other individual (learnt, recognised) letters, in the same original order, then somehow reviewed to form the word, and this is not only difficult, it doesn't make any sense. This is actually how most of us learnt to read, and without CVI it is a very effective method, but for many with CVI, it is stressful and frustrating.
 
There is a different approach that has proven very successful for some children with CVI, and this is to learn to read using recognition (rather than phonetically, as described above).
 
With this in mind we developed Look, a reading tool that hopefully ticks a number of different boxes. Look presents individual words with a range of settings options, on a clear uncluttered screen to create the optimal environment. Combining Look with an approach to reading using recognition can enable some children with CVI, who have struggled with reading, to both learn to read, and develop their reading skills independently.
 
We asked eleven year old Katherine to help us throughout development, and the case study below shows her amazing journey over two months, from not being able to read, to being able to read a story to herself for the first time. Key was that she loved it. For the first time text was presented in a way that made sense to her.
 
We have tried to explain in detail what we mean by Reading Using Recognition, and think it makes a lot of sense. We can't make promises, but we really think it is worth a try.
 
We are very interested in feedback as we have further developments and additions planned, but these need to reflect the real needs of the users. For example we plan to make Look easier to use independently. Please email us at info@cviscotland.org if you have any comments or suggestions.
 
Best wishes,
 
The CVI Scotland Team

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