DeCoste Writing Protocol
Google for Education
Learning is For Life
Our story begins with a bright and talented high school student in Indiana named Katie. Years ago, she contracted an extremely high fever, and possibly meningitis. Thankfully, she recovered. But from that point forward, she had to deal with some mysterious conditions.
When Katie reads for too long, she becomes dizzy and develops an optic migraine which can trigger seizure-like activity. That means Katie, a gifted student, was in danger of seizing whenever she read—something that students like her must do for hours each day. Letting her experience consistent seizures was not an option, so Susie came up with an initial solution.
“When she was in 6th grade, everything had to be read to Katie,” she said. “In 7th grade, I hired a 1-on-1 aide. Now, this is an honors student we’re talking about. She had to have an adult with her all the time, one that would read everything to her. It was frustrating for her.”
It worked, but it wasn’t ideal for anyone, especially Katie. But in 2017, Susie went to an Indiana public schools conference where everything changed.
“Two years ago, I was at a Promoting Achievement through Technology and Instruction for all Students (PATINS) conference and I saw Snap&Read,” said Susie. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get a hold of this.’ I mean, what high school kid wants an adult following them around all the time?
“Soon after, I pulled Katie from her classroom and told her I found the coolest tool that we were going to buy. I made it a goal to apply for an AEMing for Achievement Grant and get Snap&Read district-wide.”
Susie applied for the grant in 2018 and got it. Snap&Read and Co:Writer were official tools for Mooresville Schools. Snap&Read gives students a set of reading tools across websites, PDFs, and Google Drive. Co:Writer provides word prediction, translation support, and speech recognition.
“I know a lot of times this software is a godsend for kids with significant learning disabilities, but Katie’s was an exceptional case,” she said. “This was an honor student who needed access in a different way.”
Susie and her team began taking data at the start of 2019. From January until the end of her freshman year, Katie went to the nurse’s office one time—and that lone visit was not migraine-related. Susie is completely elated with the results, but no one is happier than Katie.
“With Snap&Read, I’m able to do more because I don’t have to leave the classroom to be read to,” Katie said. “It’s helped me stay around everyone else in my class.
“It’s really helped me with my recall. Before, I’d have trouble remembering what the aide read to me in class, and I couldn’t re-read it at home on my own. I’d have to ask my mom for help. But now, I can go home and re-listen to it and comprehend it better.”
Katie has also seen how other students at her school have benefited from the new tools and just how much their recall has improved alongside hers. “Overall, Snap&Read has been an awesome program for us,” Katie said. “I feel like everyone has the opportunity to do better.”
In fact, the new tool had such a dramatic impact on Katie’s life that she made a presentation to the Mooresville school board where she gave Susie flowers to say thanks.
A doctor once predicted Katie’s pseudoseizures would prevent her from returning to school. But now, an independent college experience is officially on the agenda. And judging by her level of character, there appears to be little doubt that she’ll find success no matter what she decides to do.
While not many students have Katie’s specific condition, many students across the country need the help accessible tools can bring. Tools like Snap&Read and Co:Writer are opening doors for students with conditions that range from dyslexia to simply being easily distracted. Snap&Read helps students with a wide range of reading needs read independently, synthesizing and organizing ideas from the text, reducing distractions, and improving text readability.
If you’d like to know more about Snap&Read, the student’s personal reading toolkit, click here or contact us anytime.
For more information about Snap&Read and to request a trial click here.