The ability to fluently decode words, numbers or symbols that have been presented in an encoded format (e.g., visual symbols for text, haptic symbols for Braille, algebraic expressions for relationships) takes practice for any learner, but some learners will reach automaticity more quickly than others. Learners need consistent and meaningful exposure to symbols so that they can comprehend and use them effectively. Lack of fluency or automaticity greatly increases the cognitive load of decoding, thereby reducing the capacity for information processing and comprehension. To ensure that all learners have equal access to knowledge, at least when the ability to decode is not the focus of instruction, it is important to provide options that reduce the barriers that decoding raises for learners who are unfamiliar or dysfluent with the symbols.
- Allow the use of Text-to-Speech
- Use automatic voicing with digital mathematical notation (Math ML)
- Use digital text with an accompanying human voice recording (e.g., Daisy Talking Books)
- Allow for flexibility and easy access to multiple representations of notation where appropriate (e.g., formulas, word problems, graphs)
- Offer clarification of notation through lists of key terms