YouTube To The Rescue

It’s no secret that students with LD have a much easier time with the assistance of a good  study resource; when they’re faced with reading assignments that present dense text, complex ideas, and/or unfamiliar vocabulary, students can just shut down, especially those with reading disabilities.

Rather than enrich their lives, these assignments can make reading and studying akin to torture.  The assignments often exceed a child’s range of interest, or more importantly, ability to read. A strong study resources can help to minimize the difficulty of these types of assignments.

In working with students who are struggling to cope with texts that are staples of current middle and high school curricula, like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,”  “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Macbeth,” “Moby Dick” or even “The Bill of Rights,” we’ve found that YouTube can help save the day as an excellent study resource.   For just about every assigned text, a student can easily find excellent YouTube postings that allow an individualized approach to understanding a text.

Offerings range from an entire movie reduced to several more easily digested segments to readings by professionals that break the texts down to sentences or paragraphs, which are shown on screen so the student can simultaneously listen and read.

When our students have had to study plays, like “Macbeth,” we’ve used YouTube to show how different directors and actors have interpreted crucial scenes.  The variety of approaches helps stimulate a student’s own creative juices and also helps him or her thread through the complexity of the ideas; appreciate the import of the language; and begin to grasp the majesty of the play.

When books or plays are presented in short segments, they tend to match the attention spans of children with reading difficulties; consequently they hold the child’s interest and reduce fatigue.  Because they are more easily digestible, they can spark curiosity, which leads to genuine interest in the book, play, or other text. And isn’t that what we’re really after?

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