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RE: Cognition

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@crosslink.net>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 08:09:12 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net" <webmaster@dors.sailorsite.net>, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Cc: "'jonathan chetwynd'" <jonathan@signbrowser.free-online.co.uk>, "'youth@ipl.org'" <youth@ipl.org>
At 02:01 PM 8/3/1999 -0400, Bruce Bailey wrote:
>Anne P., Jonathan,
>How do some of the pages linked to from "IPL Youth Collection: Reading 
>Zone--Picture Books" at 
>http://www.ipl.org/cgi-bin/youth/youth.out.pl?sub=rzn2000 go towards 
>meeting your standards for "reading optional" sites?

There would be a huge problem getting a cognitively disabled reader to find
the picture books. They must be able to read enough to find the material
they can enjoy .... Once you get to the picture book, the navigational
controls are graphical and don't include "Next Page" on them.... you have
to guess that the arrow moves you through the book. But, if cognitively
disabled folks can always count on a teacher or caretaker to take them to
the right part of a site, the IPL site is useful for some children and
perhaps entertaining for cognitively disabled adults. 

For Taylor, my newphew, the site was a near bust. He's past reading the
pictures books and the bedtime stories are beyond his ability to read
himself (he's in 3rd grade: the stories available are Alice in Wonderland
(7th gr reading) and the Little Lame Prince (similar level but I haven't
tested it yet, may be lower). Many sites to link from ipl go to "classics
for children", but they invariably include only the guttenberg offerings in
e-text (none of which are written low enough for Taylor to use to learn to
read, or offers to buy the books. 

If I was trying to set up a year's worth of work following the Universal
Design idea of CAST, I would be stopped dead in my tracks planning for its
use in third grade. I am finding some of the content needed for science,
the study of survival pattersn, migrations, hibernation, and eating habits
of animals, but much of it will have to be read to Taylor instead of his
reading it himself. Nothing has shown up yet useful for his learning about
matter, energy and simple machines. I've found a little for his social
studies in the beginnings of civilization, but it is spotty and will need a
lot of supplementaation (buying books) for him to learn the fullness of the
concept anticipated by the state objectives. 

>I have CC'd this page's author because it is a shame to me that an "index 
>of picture books" (like this page is):

You are absolutely right. The user cannot get to these sites without help
from someone who can read. The site should be designed so that once a user
clicks on the icon for Youth on the opening ipl site, everything to get to
the desired books is user friendly for children. 

>1)	Has a large and distracting navigation sidebar (the attractive and 
>inviting icons take away from the resources on the page).  IMHO this 
>material belongs only at the bottom.

I had to go back twice to see what you were referring to. So, no, it isn't
distracting, at least not to me. 

>2)	There are no representative pictures for the links to the various 
>picture books!  This omission is tragic!  This means that non-readers who 
>find their way to a book they like will have a heck of time finding their 
>way there again (on another day)!  (Assuming that they have this IPL 
>picture book page indexed in some usable way.)

This is a bad flaw. The kids have to be able to read one or more sets of
high-level content words (text version, illustrated version, etc) to get to
the beginning of the story. Once you get to the story, it's OK, but getting
there will depend on an adult or older person guiding the young reader. 

Sorry it took so long to reply. I spent all day Sat. studying the CAST site
and pursuing some of the links there, picking out what had material with
potential and finding lots of stuff I can't use for a 3rd grader. I spend
much of yesterday with the ipl site, looking specifically at the offerings
for "youth" on reading. I've looked at everything from that set of links
except fables (which I will do today). I haven't looked at the math
offerings yet because for at least the first part of the year he will be
working with operations of whole numbers and I can create materials for his
lessons easily on my computer by using the random number generator in excel
and spitting out reams of worksheets to do to firm up and expand his
computation skills. 

Anne L. Pemberton
Enabling Support Foundation
Received on Wednesday, 4 August 1999 07:57:49 UTC

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