Supporting children with Support Needs

Giglets supports the literacy development of pupils with special educational needs.


How Giglets can help with Additional Support Needs (ASN)

We place accessibility and inclusion at the centre of product development and we take care to consider the contexts in which our product is being used. We take the view that children need in-platform control of things features like colour schemes, font size and typeface so that they can access material independently and at the same time as their classmates.

When a child has logged in, there are a range of accessibility features within Giglets, but individuals are not singled out when they use them as these adjustments are presented as 'options'. They are then seen as something everyone in the class can use, not a special adjustment a child’s peers may otherwise make fun of.

In developing accessibility features Giglets worked with pupils and teachers across the UK. We also undertook a review of the Giglets literacy resource with Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning Scotland (CALL Scotland, University of Edinburgh). Our aim was to use a digital experience to better support all learners, particularly those with additional support needs. It is incredibly important that books within the Giglets are accessible and can be shared with pupils who need additional support. Giglets supports the literacy development of pupils with special educational needs in a number of ways.

Audio support

Within Giglets books, your pupils will often have the option of listening to the story using an audio icon just above the book pages. Audio is made available for as many books as possible, with a focus on providing full audio support for all books at lower reading levels. Audio is also provided for most Gaelic and Welsh books as well as for many stories across the range of languages in the library. The audio support is particularly valuable for children speaking languages other than English as these are often not supported by text-to-speech screen reader software.

Keyboard and alternative input support

Giglets tests its products in terms of keyboard and alternative input support to better aid children who are unable to interact with onscreen content using a mouse or trackpad.

Text-to-speech support

Giglets is compatible with text‐to‐speech screen readers, although, as described above, these are often less useful when the child is reading in a language that is not English. Where devices allow, your pupils can also dictate answers into text boxes.

Text display

Giglets displays text in one of two typefaces, both of which are designed to be accessible to dyslexic readers.

Giglets uses Heinemann Education as this was developed for reading in primary schools. Heinemann is defined by longer ascenders and descenders that help children to distinguish between letters, rounded edges on all letterforms help focus the reader on the individual letter shape and modified characters ensure instant recognition of letterforms.

Open Dyslexic typeface is also available on pupil‐facing screens. This has been designed specifically to eliminate some of the common problems faced by dyslexic readers. Letters are given heavy weighted bottoms to prevent the characters from flipping and swapping for the reader as well as helping to reinforce the line of the text. Characters are evenly spaced and are uniquely shaped to be more easily‐discerned, in line with recommendations from the British Dyslexic Association. Within Giglets, Open Dyslexic is simply referred to as ‘Font two’.

Adjustable font size

Within the Giglets reader, font sizes can be made larger or smaller to make the text clearer to read. Text or book content automatically adjusts and repaginates to a change in font size – a feature often lacking in other products of this type which were not built from the ground up with accessibility in mind.

Tailored text and background colours

Within the Giglets reader, the page background colour can be adjusted to suit each pupil’s reading needs.

Available colours include:

  • white,
  • ivory,
  • grey,
  • yellow,
  • blue,
  • sepia,
  • pink, and
  • purple.

Giglets can also present text in white or yellow on a black background page.

It is worth noting that the purple background page colour was added in response to a request from one young pupil; she uses purple acetate sheets when reading on paper and finds that the colour supports her reading better than any other. She sent a request to Giglets through her learning support teacher, we were more than happy to add the colour to our selection. If one of your pupils has a similar bespoke requirement please let us know and we’ll do our best to provide support.

Flexibility for the teacher

Teachers can use Giglets in many different ways to ensure that they are best meeting their pupils’ needs. We encourage involving children, where appropriate, in choosing books from the library. Some of our non‐fiction texts about animals and wildlife may be suitable for older pupils with additional support needs as the imagery is ‘real’ but the text reading level is lower. Other texts in the library provide a variety of engaging illustrations, animations and theme music to stimulate discussion and support understanding. Giglets books are often used to present to an entire class, encouraging listening and talking – developing both oracy and vocabulary skills.