How Imagine Edgenuity Supports Students with Dyslexia

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) defines dyslexia as a language-based specific learning disability that involves difficulties with processing speech sounds, reading, listening, and speaking (IDA, 2017; Chernek, 2018; Wagner, 2008). Students with dyslexia have problems with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, trouble spelling and decoding, vocabulary, and background knowledge, which can impede reading comprehension (IDA, 2017).

Studies suggest that struggling students, including those with dyslexia, should be explicitly taught how to  identify the main idea of a passage (National Reading Panel, 2000), monitor comprehension (National Reading Panel, 2000), visualizing (Johnson-Glenburg, 2007), make inferences (McNamara, 2007), summarize (National Reading Panel, 2000), and generate and answer questions about texts (Duke & Pearson, 2002; Keene & Zimmerman 2007, Marchand-Martella et al., 2013; McNamara et al., 2007). Teaching struggling students about the structures that undergird narrative texts (e.g., characters, setting, conflict, plot, theme) and expository texts (e.g., compare and contrast, problem and solution, cause and effect) is also essential to building reading comprehension and writing skills (Duke et al., 2001; Duke & Pearson, 2002; Gersten et al., 2011; Marchand et al, 2013).


Our Solution

Imagine Edgenuity incorporates a number of evidence-based practices designed to meet the needs of students with disabilities.

  • Explicit instruction- Our courses feature highly-qualified, certified on-screen instructors who deliver explicit instruction, orient students to the lessons’ goals, builds background knowledge, delivers a wide-array of models, demonstrations, and worked examples, scaffolded practice. Imagine Edgenuity regularly checks for understanding and that show the answer and offer clear and concise explanations of subject matter. 
  • Explicit Learning Strategies- Imagine Edgenuity’s on-screen teachers model learning strategies and explicitly teach students a wide variety of metacognitive strategies, such as self-monitoring, self-evaluation, goal-setting, questioning, and self-explanation.
  • Smart Scaffolding to Support Learning- Edgenuity presents a wide array of tools to support student learning. 
    • Before instruction- Teachers can create tutoring modules to give struggling students a more simplified explanation of fundamental concepts and skills.
    • Prescriptive and Pretesting options
    • Assignment calendars- With clear due dates give students the structure they need to maintain focus and efficiently manage time and effort. 
    • eNotes- Imagine Edgenuity's embedded note-taking feature
    • Toolbar- This includes text mark-up (highlighting, word lookup, and annotation), language support (read-aloud and translation), as well as a number of specialized tools for math and science (a variety of calculators, references such as a periodic table, and other learning supports).
    • CloseReader™- Contextual definitions for key vocabulary, text-based teacher’s notes, audio commentary, and embedded comprehension questions are included.
    • After instruction- Educators can extend the time allotted for assessment and number of retakes.
  • Corrective Feedback- Students receive immediate, corrective feedback each time they respond to a question within Imagine Edgenuity’s instruction and assignments.
  • Universal Design for Learning- Imagine Edgenuity provides students with multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement (see For example:
    • Multiple Means of Representation- Imagine Edgenuity uses video lectures, graphic displays, text, simulations, video captioning, and read-aloud support features. Key concepts and tasks in Imagine Edgenuity courses are explained using multiple representations (verbal, concrete manipulative, numerical, graphical, and symbolic), and students are guided in mapping meaning among the varied representations.
    • Multiple Means of Expression- Imagine Edgenuity requires students to master learning objectives by asking students to read, write, practice, explore, create, and discuss. Throughout Imagine Edgenuity instruction and assessments, students are presented with opportunities to manipulate images, answer multiple choice questions, highlight text, complete surveys, and fill out graphic organizers.
    • Multiple Means of Engagement- Activities are designed to engage students in a variety of ways. The self-paced technology is a motivating medium for students, and the on-screen teachers presents course concepts in ways that are relevant to students’ lives.

Imagine Edgenuity has focused, explicit instruction in vocabulary and reading comprehension for students.

  • Vocabulary: The content explicitly spirals academic and domain-specific vocabulary throughout its curriculum. Academic vocabulary words are carefully selected from the Averil Coxhead Academic Wordlist (2000) and Magali Paquot Academic Keyword List (2010). In lesson warm-ups, students preview four to six academic and domain-specific vocabulary words in the Words to Know section. During instruction, on-screen teachers define and teach critical words. Explanations of vocabulary provided are clear, easy to understand, and illustrate not only what the words mean but also how they are used. On-screen instructors describe words’ meanings, critical attributes of words, as well as providing contextual and definitional information. They also model the use of vocabulary for students—ensuring multiple exposures to high-yield words. After instruction, students complete tasks that require them to identify non-examples and examples, explain phenomena using descriptive patterns, and complete concept definition maps. As students practice, they can record notes about words in the eNotes feature. A lesson glossary allows students to look up words and add them to their personal word lists. Within the CloseReaderTM, students can look up unfamiliar words and can read the definitions themselves or hear them read aloud. They can also translate on-screen text into their native language.

  • Reading Comprehension: Imagine Edgenuity provides systematic instruction in comprehension strategies, literary analysis, grammar and mechanics, and writing as it relates to reading. It is designed to expose students to great literature and to develop students’ critical thinking skills.

    Students are explicitly taught comprehension strategies using authentic, engaging, content-related passages that range from mildly challenging to difficult to interpret. Instruction targets the thinking as it occurs before, during, and after reading.  Approximately 55 percent of the texts students read are literary. The remaining 45 percent are non-fiction or informational. While reading literary texts, students explore story elements, plot, characterization, conflict, setting, figurative language, voice, theme, and poetic structure. While reading informational texts, students learn how to identify main idea and details, pinpoint an author’s central ideas and supporting details, comprehend text structure in nonfiction, uncover problems and solutions, make inferences, draw conclusions, compare and contrast informational and literary text, and make arguments. zzz

    Imagine Edgenuity provides guided and independent practice in pre-reading strategies (previewing the text, accessing prior knowledge, formulating questions, clarifying understanding, setting a purpose, and making predictions), during reading strategies (visualizing, making connections, monitoring understanding, inferencing, re-reading, questioning, summarizing) and after-reading strategies (comparing, synthesizing, drawing conclusions, and validating the purpose for reading). Both programs capitalize on graphic organizers and visualizations to help students retain information. 

It is important to note that lessons are designed to provide struggling students’ with access to rigorous grade-level content. The program builds conceptual understanding by requiring students to answer text-dependent questions based on short passages with varying degrees of complexity and scaffolding. Text-dependent questions are posed in a logical progression. Students first answer factual questions (words, details, and phrases that help construct an understanding of the text), then conceptual questions (words, details, and phrases that show the author’s purpose and ideas within it), then procedural questions (sentences that reveal the texts structure), and finally metacognitive questions (sentences that relate the text to outside ideas or interaction within the text). Based on Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey’s Progression (Fisher & Frey, 2012), Imagine Edgenuity capitalizes on the following types of text-dependent questions:

  • General understandings and key details: these questions ensure students understand the overall gist of a text. Narrative text-based questions focus on tracking story elements such as characters’ expressions, reactions, gestures, appearance, motivations, and relationships; informational text-based questions address a subject’s facts, phrases, descriptions, or central idea. These questions often include who, what, when, where, why, how much, or how in their question stems.
  • Vocabulary—These questions ask students about how an author’s choice of words or phrases conveys emotion, style, or purpose.
  • Text structure—Narrative text-based questions focus on how an author uses the plot mountain (the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, or resolution of a story) to convey a theme in a narrative text. Informational text-based questions should ask students to identify the ways in which compare-contrast, problem-solution, cause-effect, sequence of events, and descriptions are used to maintain a logical flow.
  • Author’s craft—These questions address how literary devices (allegory, allusion, cliffhanger, flashback, foreshadowing, imagery, irony and satire, point of view, time lapse, tone and mood); poetic devices (alliteration, hyperbole, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, repetition, simile, symbolism, text features (charts, diagrams, figures, illustrations, boldface, font) and narration (first person, second person, their person, limited, omniscient, unreliable) contribute to a text’s meaning.
  • Author’s purpose—These questions concentrate on whether a text’s purpose is to entertain, explain, inform, or persuade. They also ask students to identify the textual clues that allow students to draw conclusions and justify personal opinions about different viewpoints.
  • Intertextual connections—These questions ask students to synthesize and make intertextual connections across stories, dramas, poetry, literary nonfiction, informational, and multimedia texts.