Students with dyslexia frequently have reading difficulties, a slower speed of reading, or find that when focusing upon the process of reading, their comprehension and memory of what they are reading is compromised. This is especially true in high pressure situations such as examinations, or when reading unusual, subject specific technical vocabulary such as textbooks.
Reading pens are pen shaped electronic devices that scan the printed text on the page and read it aloud via earphones. They are small, portable, discrete devices that, with a school application for Access Arrangements (see other blog posts) can be used in GCSE and GCE (A Level) examinations. This means that students with reading difficulties including dyslexia can sit their examinations with their peers in the main exam hall with headphones plugged into their pens and work independently, without relying on the support of a human reader.
There are a couple of different smart pens available to purchase.
The CPen READERPEN https://amzn.to/3fm4oWz enables individual words and lines of text to be read aloud. It is completely self-contained, NO computer or Wi-Fi required to use the reading function. The C-Pen has multiple built-in dictionaries to search definitions including the Oxford Primary Dictionary. It not only scans in multiple English accents, but also in other languages, including French and Spanish. This reading pen is probably the best choice for day to day use.
For examinations, dictionary’s are not permitted. Therefore the exam specific (orange coloured) EXAMREADER C-Pen is available. This is often purchase by school’s where there is a need to use exam specific pens that have the spelling and grammar support removed.
C-Pen also have over models, such as the LINGOPEN (for EAL students); READERPEN SECURE (for workplace use) and CONNECT (a Bluetooth enabled scanner pen/digital highlighter with embedded character recognition).
A video demonstrating the C-Pens in action can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXVk0bG1i1c
Lastly, the Livescribe Echo Smartpen. This records everything you write and hear, so you never miss a thing. You can then transfer your notes to your computer. Ideal for anyone with dyslexia and who needs to record lectures or meetings. However this does not scan and read text aloud. https://www.dyslexic.com/product/livescribe-2gb-echo-smartpen/
– Recommended Books for Teenagers & Students with Dyslexia and Books about Dyslexia for Teachers and Tutors https://shop.dyslexiauk.co.uk/
For information on assistive technology that can help people with dyslexia go to: https://dyslexiauk.co.uk/weekly-blog/f/neurodiverse-friendly-apps-for-dyslexia,- apps-for-dyscalculia and https://dyslexiauk.co.uk/weekly-blog/f/dyslexia-friendly-word-prediction-software
For information on using reading pens in exams, read our blog on Access Arrangements: https://dyslexiauk.co.uk/dyslexia-blog/f/access-arrangements