Supporting dyslexia with Scanning Pens

Sofia’s story

We’re sure you’ve heard enough from us about how Scanning Pens’ reading support is changing lives in schools all over the UK. But what does that life-changing journey look like?

Join us as we look through the eyes of Sofia, just one of the students who have found a love for literacy with C-Pen Reader 2!

At the very beginning

I was always so excited about nursery rhymes and songs, but I just couldn’t get my head around the words. I’d try to remember them and forget half, or just get them in the wrong order. I couldn’t understand how everyone else could do it so easily.

When the reading books came out in Reception I couldn’t get out of there fast enough! I couldn’t connect all the new words I was learning with the letters on the page. I didn’t know it wasn’t normal. I just thought everyone else was a bit cleverer than me.

Even though my teachers were so nice about it, it still felt embarrassing and isolating when I was still reading the books with the pink square at the end of the year, and everyone else was moving on to red or yellow ones.

Scanning Pen

The start of primary school

By Year 1 I was well behind my classmates. And I’d do anything to avoid reading: talking to whoever I was sitting next to, diving off to visit the loo, even acting out to get myself sent out of class. It was just so embarrassing, how everyone else could do it and I couldn’t. I kept thinking – was I stupid?  

Even if I was, I didn’t want anyone to find out, so I didn’t talk about it much. 

Then everything changed when I moved into Year 2. My new teacher was really interested in my reading skills and kept asking questions about my eyesight, my memory, and how things looked on the page. She called my parents and said I should get a dyslexia assessment.   

The assessment wasn’t much to write home about at all, just a few reading and writing tasks and chatting about how I found schoolwork. It turned out that… 

  • I had dyslexia 
  • I’d had it all my life 
  • That’s why reading felt so difficult and exhausting! 
  • And no, I wasn’t stupid. 

We tried a couple of options after the assessment. At first, I had a reading assistant who sat beside me in class and helped me with decoding and meanings, but I felt isolated. Like I was being watched for being different to my friends. I didn’t like it at all. Then we tried something that gave me more independence: a reading pen. 

Girl sitting cross legged reading a book

C-Pen Reader 2

It’s a device that lets you hear the words on the page through audio. I just plug my headphones in and scan away, full lines at a time, and I can change it to fit my own pace instead of getting embarrassed to ask for my reading assistant to slow down. It’s got built-in dictionaries too (which I find super useful), and a bunch of other useful features in it.

Most important for me is that I can read independently: no more reading assistants at my table or asking my mum to read through my English homework every week.

Getting ready for secondary school

I just figured I wouldn’t pass any of my SATs, so it made me not want to bother… until I found out I could use my reading pen in SATs too! The tests quickly became less scary, but things got intense again in secondary school.

I was expecting to study a lot more subjects. Although I was interested and excited to learn, the anxiety got to me a bit over the six-week holidays between year 6 & 7.

When I did start in Year 7, my parents made an appointment with my new form teacher and the school SENCo to chat through what kinds of accommodations I’d need. It was all fine: nothing got taken off me like I’d been afraid it would! Apparently, that’s just not the way they do things, and I was still allowed to use my Reader 2 in lessons and Exam Reader 2 for exams. I remember walking out into the corridor and just thinking: Okay, I can do this now. And I did!

Girl using scanning pen at her desk

Check-in: Year 9

So, instead of having one or two workbooks, every subject had its own textbook, and we were expected to read pages and pages every week. It was much more complicated reading, and the text was smaller than in my old books, so it was a bit of a learning curve. I don’t think I’d have felt anywhere near as confident tackling it alone, but I adapted really quickly with my assistive tech. By the end of the first term, it was just… fine, actually.

This school had a far bigger library, too, with far more books I actually wanted to read. Around this time, I started to find out that I was interested in all kinds of different things, and I started to read bigger books for fun now!

Here come the GCSEs!

I’m in year 11 now and I’m ready to head into my GCSEs. I never thought in a million years I’d be sitting here feeling confident for these tests. I’ve even been looking at studying English at college. English. All that reading!

Hand holding pencil with workbook

C-Pen Reader 2 Trial for UK educators

We want everybody to be able to read with confidence and independence. When we open up access to reading, we’re opening up access to the whole curriculum, better test scores and new destinations that previously struggling readers might not even have dreamed about.

You don’t have to take our word for it either: UK educators can claim their FREE C-Pen Reader 2 trial at Scanning Pens, so that the learners in their care can experience the magic for themselves.

And to find out more about our reading tech and how it can empower the learners in your school, head over to the C-Pen Reader 2 Hub at Scanning Pens or check out our On-Demand Webinar Service that’s full of expert-led learning opportunities about our tech, SEN learners, and supporting better outcomes for all.

Blog Author: This guest blog was provided by Scanning Pens for CENMAC. All content and images used in the blog are courtesy of Scanning Pens.