The EMU Book - Statewide Vision Resource Centre

The EMU Book - Statewide Vision Resource Centre
The EMU Book:
A Curriculum for Using an
Electronic Magnifier Unit
Marion Blazé
Education Officer for Vision Impaired
marionblaze@svrc.vic.edu.au
Statewide Vision Resource Centre
PO Box 201
Nunawading 3131
Melbourne, Australia, 2007
http://www.svrc.vic.edu.au
© Statewide Vision Resource Centre
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A curriculum for using an
Electronic Magnifier Unit
The term “Electronic Magnifier Unit” incorporates a range of different equipment.
Previously, devices which performed the function of electronic magnification were called
Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs) or more recently, Video Magnifiers. We have chosen
Electronic Magnifier Units as the name to describe many units, which combine camera,
screen and magnification capability.
When can an EMU be an appropriate low vision aid?
 when conventional optical aids cannot provide sufficient magnification
 when the student‟s vision fluctuates, requiring varying degrees of magnification of
print
 when the student‟s textbooks contain a variety of print sizes not accessible through
enlargement or optical low vision aids
 when student has difficulty reading own or others‟ handwriting
 when alterations in contrast make a significant difference to reading efficiency
 when glare is an issue and a reverse image (white print on black background) or
different colour background can help this
 when use of conventional optical aids causes fatigue for prolonged reading
 when student requires significant enlargement of graphics (maybe just for
mathematics) and pictures, and uses other media for reading (braille, audio,
electronic)
 when other physical disabilities prevent use of conventional low vision aids
Advantages of using an EMU
Instantly enlarges text or graphics
Enlargement can be customized
Colour, brightness and contrast can be customized
Students can view at comfortable reading distance
Can relieve visual fatigue often associated with reading print which is a bit too small
Can enlarge handwriting as well as print
Can be used post-school when large print is less available
Disadvantages of using an EMU
Should be prescribed or recommended by an optometrist or orthoptist experienced in the
use of low vision aids
Can be large, heavy and not very portable
Requires skill and practice to use efficiently
Requires a power source
Can require maintenance, although I‟m told newer ones really only need a globe changed
now and then
Can be expensive
Features of EMUs to consider before you buy
Black & white or colour
Some of the newer models offer an upgrade so you can buy black and white now and
upgrade to colour later, if you find you need it
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Other colour options
Some EMUs enable the user to vary the background colour, although they may not
magnify a picture in full colour
Monitor size
The larger the monitor then the larger the span of magnified letters on the screen.
However, if the student‟s vision will not allow him/her to see this span of letters, then the
larger monitor is not necessary. Also, the larger the monitor, the heavier and less portable
the EMU will be.
Height of monitor
Many EMUs have adjustable monitor height. Especially for smaller children, this might be
critical to them being able to maintain a comfortable viewing position.
Focus options
Most new EMUs have “auto-focus”, but check how much the EMU will accommodate
varying thicknesses of reading materials e.g. from a single page to a thick book.
Magnification
The specifications of the machine should tell you the range of magnification available (e.g.
from 2X to 40X).
Contrast
Check the ability to alter contrast
Brightness
Check the ability to alter brightness and whether this affects the contrast
Positive/negative image
Most EMUs can switch between black on white and white on black.
Tray
Most EMUs come with an X-Y tray for moving the page being viewed. Most have “brakes”
to restrict the movement in one or both directions.
Size and weight of EMU
This has a significant bearing on portability.
Other features
Lines and blinds: Many EMUs have line features: the ability to block off part of the screen,
place a line above and/or beneath the print being read, or screen off all but the line of print.
Students with central vision loss find this feature especially helpful as its assists them to
track lines of print. Some devices with computer connectivity, will allow a “split screen”
feature: i.e. with part of the screen showing the EMU image and the other part the
computer screen image simultaneously.
Computer connectivity: Some EMUs can be connected with a computer or utilize the
computer monitor as a screen.
MyReader: Both MyReader and MyReader2 have the capacity to scan and capture a page
(or pages) of text, and scroll it across the screen, a line or word at a time. They can also
function the same was as other EMUs for viewing diagrams, or real objects (in “live
mode”).
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Remote controls: some EMUs have a set of controls on the EMU (usually just below the
monitor) and an additional set on a remote (usually wired). This can add flexibility to the
way the EMU is used. If you don‟t like where the controls are, you can position your
remote where-ever.
Distance capability: some EMUs are capable of viewing not just a book on your desk, but
more distance things, like the black- or white-board. This might be a very important feature
for school students, but in some cases, adds considerably to the cost. Distance cameras
which plug into a laptop or PC can be cheaper than the stand alone units, if a student
already has a computer.
Some general notes on EMU use
Monitor the posture of your EMU user and ensure seating is ergonomically suited to
comfortable EMU viewing. Remember that when viewing print on an EMU the screen is
vertical, unlike reading a book or page where the print is usually horizontal.
Monitor lighting in the room. Avoid placement of the EMU with windows, or lighting behind
it. Avoid glare coming off the EMU screen. Some users prefer working in a dimly lit room,
so the brightness of the screen is enhanced.
When tracking, move the X-Y table and not your head and eyes.
Some research suggests that the best reading speeds are achieved when about 24
characters can be viewed in one span.
The optimal character size should be determined for each reader, to elicit the fastest
reading speed.
Some users experience feelings of motion sickness when viewing the movement of the
EMU, often when making the sweep to return to the beginning of a line. Sometimes this
only happens when someone other than the viewer is controlling the movement of the
image, so the sooner they control it themselves, the better. If this still happens when the
student is moving the image, encourage him/her to slow down the movement, or ask
student to look at the edge of the monitor when returning to the beginning of a line.
Learning to read with an EMU
Motivation
It is very important for the student to start with the right attitude to this new way of
accessing print. The student might best learn the benefits of using such a magnification
aide by using it to view familiar images and things in which s/he has a particular interest.
Be aware that students with poor motor skills or cognitive skills might find using an EMU
difficult because they need to manipulate part of the whole image they are seeing and to
realize that this is part of the whole. Lots of language and concept work might be
necessary to develop the idea that we are looking at only a part of the whole picture.
Check that the student has an understanding of concepts and vocabulary such as:
 top & bottom
 up & down
 left & right
 small & large
 horizontal, vertical & diagonal
 zoom in & zoom out
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

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light & dark
clear & blurred
focus
enlarge & reduce
background & foreground
For this beginning motivation-enhancing period, students can view things of interest like:
 own or others‟ hands and fingers, including any injuries (?)
 other students‟ art work
 family photographs
 pictures of favourite sports stars or rock stars
 favourite pictures in books or magazines
 live bugs, worms or small animals
 school photos
 familiar and much-read books (making sure they‟re not too challenging)
Familiarization
Allow child some time to “play” with the controls and experiment with what they do to the
image. This can be done with some fun materials such as those above.
Demonstrate how when the image is largest there is less of the page or photo on the
screen.
Learn where all the controls are and what they do.
Experiment with focus (if it‟s not automatic), colour, brightness, contrast, line blocking, and
of course, size.
Focusing
Most new machines have automatic focus, but if your student‟s does not, try these steps.
Discuss and demonstrate the concept of “in focus” and the idea that things in focus are
much easier to recognize. Use some fun activities to try putting the image in focus and out
of focus and back in focus again.
Explain that if you place a thick book under the EMU after viewing a single page, the focus
will need to be altered because of the difference in height of the two objects.
Enlargement
When the EMU was prescribed, the optometrist might have recommended a size to be
viewed with the EMU. If so, initially teach the child how to enlarge various sizes of print to
the size s/he has been recommended on the EMU.
The optometrist‟s recommended print size should only be used as a guide, because
preference for print size can vary greatly from the clinical assessment and over time. Using
something like a learning media assessment (testing reading efficiency with sustained
reading tasks) can help determine what print size is the most efficient for the individual
student. In fact, some students choose not to use a particular print size for regular use, but
to use the magnification control as an ongoing choice.
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Start with lowest magnification and gradually enlarge image on screen until it matches the
size required. Start at top left of page. Try to maintain the image on the top left of the page,
even though only a portion of the page can be seen when enlarged. If the child has
difficulty manipulating both the position of the image and changing the size, the teacher
can do the moving while the student concentrates on the enlargement.
If no information was provided about the recommended print size with the EMU, present
print in various sizes to evaluate which size best suits the student. Remember to maximize
the span of letters seen at a time. If the print is too large, it will impair the reading process.
Using the X-Y table
The X-Y table moves in four directions to allow every part of a page to be viewed. It is the
part of the EMU which is least familiar to students and requires some practice. It is not
unusual for a new reader with an EMU to skip or reread lines of print.
Initially, the X-Y table should be controlled using both hands.
X-Y tables are engineered so that they move more easily left to right and right to left, less
easily top to bottom or bottom to top or diagonally. You can restrict the student movement
to just left to right or right to left with no up and down movement. Some have margin stops,
so if you are reading a small column of print, the movement can be restricted to this span.
To block off lines you can find it useful to use “lines” and “blinds” of text.
It helps before this stage to establish if the child is clear on concepts of left, right, up,
down, back, forward, away, towards, slow, fast, etc. as these are words which will be used
when describing the desired movement of the table.
The recommended movement with the X-Y table is to start at top left, move across the
line, then move back across the same line to the beginning of the line before moving down
to the next line.
To begin this process, lock the table so that only left to right or right to left movements are
possible and help the child establish a tracking speed with just this horizontal movement.
At first s/he can track a single line such as on the Exercises – page 1.
You can start with lines of letters, as shown in the Exercises – page 2.
Other activities which can assist students to develop skills with the X-Y table are provided
in the Exercises – pages 3 to 7.
Learning to read with the EMU
After these exercises, start with single lines of text – one line per page, and gradually build
up more lines as the child becomes confident.
Try one-liners like tongue twisters, short riddles, names of pop stars, names of films, etc.
Try to choose material which is age-appropriate and of interest.
Build up to reading more than one line using longer riddles, jokes, song lyrics, or short
passages out of favourite (known) books. Use a finger at the beginning of each line as a
marker to find the next line.
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Once the child is up to reading paragraphs at a time, use repeated reading exercises to
increase speed. These are usually done using short, interesting, factual pieces. The child
reads a passage once and is timed. S/he reads it again and is timed again, and hopefully
the reading speed has increased.
Locating print on the page
Children will need plenty of practice with different books: some with one line of print, others
with several, with text always in one place, with text in varying locations on the page.
Some of the Dr Seuss type books have text placed very creatively on the page.
Use the lowest possible magnification first to get an overall view of page and locate where
there is print or pictures, then magnify to reading print size to read. It may take some
practise to increase the magnification, and at the same time, remain on the part of the
page you wish to view. If the child has difficulty with this, try placing a bright or bold sticker
on the part of the page you are aiming at.
Using screen blocking and line marking
Students who have difficulty remaining on one line, or have photophobia, can find blocking
part of the screen useful. Find the print, or the part you want to read, and then set to the
magnification required, then bring the line marker or screen blocks to the line of print
desired.
Learning to write with an EMU
Writing with a EMU can be tricky because the student must watch the screen rather than
their hand. Also, the working area for writing must be kept small whilst writing is enlarged
on screen. Start by letting the child play or scribble while watching the screen. The paper
to write on needs to stay still, so temporarily stick it to the tray and put the tray brakes on.
Then the child can try copying some simple shapes drawn first by the teacher. You might
need to remind the child to watch the monitor rather than their hand.
Try drawing long lines which will necessitate moving the X-Y table.
Try doing join-the-dot type activities. These swill help establish control over where the pen
should go.
When the student begins writing under the EMU, start with bold line paper. If the student
usually prefers not to use bold lines, these can be phased out as s/he becomes more
skilled.
It is easy to make the mistake of writing on a line where there is already some writing, if
the student is not systematic, or if s/he indents some material and does not check the line
before writing. Remember that the EMU narrows the field of view significantly.
It is also very tricky to do fill-the-gap type exercises using the EMU. This is an important
skill because it can be useful for such tasks as filling in cheques or forms. The difficulty is
in locating the position on the form to write while viewing the EMU screen. Start by doing
fill-the-gap activities where there is a bright or bold marker for each gap. Depending on the
child‟s vision, s/he may locate the marker by looking first at the original page (not the
screen), placing a finger on the desired position, then locating the finger on the screen –
or, this whole process may need to be done on screen.
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Some EMUs have a locating light. When you locate a position on the screen, push a
button for the “page locator” and this will shine a small light on the page position so that
you can place your pen there.
It can be tricky to judge the actual size of one‟s writing when it is being seen enlarged on
the screen. Students will need to practice writing and learn to “feel” the appropriate size
from the amount of movement of their hand and fingers. In the early stages, they can
adjust the size by visually checking the actual writing on the page, not on the monitor.
Independent living tasks
EMUs can be used for reading and viewing:
 Newspaper
 Telephone book
 Medicine bottles
 Food labels
 Directions on food packaging
 Writing cheques
 Filling in forms
 Cleaning and cutting fingernails
 Viewing photos
 Viewing bugs and objects from nature
 Cards for board games
 Greeting cards
 Bills and correspondence
 TV guides
“Reading” diagrams with a EMU
One big advantage of using an EMU is that the enlargement is variable and, when reading
a diagram, one can zoom in on detail. However, unless the viewer is systematic and
develops some strategies, details of a diagram might be missed. At least when reading
print there are contextual cues as to whether you‟ve missed a word or skipped a line, but
with a diagram, there are no such cues.
If possible, view the whole diagram first without magnification, to get an overall view. If this
is not visually possible, view first at the lowest manageable magnification.
Then magnify the top left corner of the diagram first and systematically track around the
whole picture. The viewer can stop and zoom in on labels or detail as the diagram is
scanned.
Methods might be different for graphs or pictures, or when the student is answering
specific questions from the graphic information.
Try to provide students with experience of different types of graphics. It can be useful to go
through a student‟s textbook (Maths or Science) and give them prior experience viewing
the graphics before they are required to use them in class.
Try doing simple jigsaw puzzles, dot-to-dots, viewing graphs, maps, pictures and photos
using the EMU.
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Increasing reading speeds
Once the student is competent with their equipment, some work can be done to increase
his/her reading speed. Continue to monitor fatigue, as this might increase along with
reading speed.
Typical reading rates for mature readers – Oral & silent reading rates (in words per minute)
Year level reading rates
Minimum oral reading rates
Typical silent reading rates
1
60
less than 81
2
70
82-108
3
90
109-130
4
120
131-147
5
120
148-161
6
150
162-174
7
150
175-185
8
186-197
9
198-209
10
210-224
11
225-240
12
(Foundations of Low Vision pp259)
241-255
Reading rates for people with low vision (in words per minute)
Ocular Media
Central Field
Clear
Intact
Loss
(Foundations of Low Vision pp284)
Cloudy
131
95
39
29
Teachers often believe that low reading rates are a natural outcome of having low vision
and hence do not attempt to provide training to improve skills. Suggesting that the low
vision student does every second question or reads fewer books because of time limits,
whilst often practical, perpetuates the low vision student‟s poor skills and stamina and
disadvantage in exposure to reading. Good readers become so through reading! Good
EMU readers become good EMU readers by reading with their EMUs!
Strategies for increasing reading fluency and speed
Here are some ideas for increasing reading speeds generally. These can be applied to
students using an EMU.
Because an EMU will reduce a student‟s field of view, practice can be done, at least
initially, using short phrases, which do not require tracking across a line of print. There are
some examples in the exercise pages 8, 9 and 10 or you can make up your own based on
the interests of your student.
Also try these strategies.
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Repeated readings:

use short, interesting stories (3-5 min.)

read and time

re-read and re-time

make student aware of rate increase

repeat several times
Paired reading

choose classmate with similar reading level but faster rate

have VI student read a passage on own (silently will do)

let classmate read passage aloud while VI student follows text

then two read together

VI student will try to match speed of classmate
Choral reading:

select easy reading material for a small group of children including VI student

read aloud together

since no-one is “on stage” this is a comfortable way for slower students to try to
match speed of faster readers
Echo reading:

similar to choral reading, but teacher and student read together

direct student to disregard meaning and concentrate on smooth eye movements

teacher gradually increases rate of reading as passages are repeated
Give the student a purpose for their reading. For example, ask him/her to answer a
question from the text. With a specific purpose to his/her reading, the student is less likely
to focus on using the EMU and more likely to focus on the reading task.
Fatigue
Vision impaired students should be taught to recognise the signs of both visual and
postural fatigue. Offer the student strategies to deal with them. For example:

take short breaks

close eyes

look into distance

change task - listen to audio book for a while

shift physical position of arms, neck, back, shoulders, etc.
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The student may also try relaxation techniques. “Imagine a knot behind your eyes, close
eyes and imagine the knot gradually untying, think of a peaceful place…”
Assessment and monitoring of EMU skills
Checklist of EMU user skills
General functions:
 Operates power on/off switch
 Able to focus
 Able to select appropriate magnification (maximizing span of print)
 Able to adjust brightness
 Able to adjust contrast
 Able to adjust colour options
 Able to adjust polarity (black on white vs. white on black)
 Able to adjust machine for comfortable viewing position
 Able top set locks on X-Y table
 Able to adjust lighting
Student‟s EMU use specifications:
 Optimum print size when using EMU
 Optimum viewing distance when reading with EMU
 Optimum letter span
 Preferred monitor set up: contrast, brightness, polarity, background colour
Reading functions:
 Able to locate print on page
 Able to locate beginning of text on page
 Able to smoothly track line of print
 Able to return to beginning of next line of print
 Able to sustain reading for … minutes, before fatigue
 Able to maintain a reading speed of … words per minute
Writing functions:
 Able to locate pen/pencil on page while viewing monitor
 Able to write on lined paper
 Able to write without lines
 Able to maintain appropriate writing size
 Able to read own writing
 Able to fill in forms or fill-the-gap exercises
 Able to underline words or phrases in texts
 Able to write notes onto text
 Able to erase writing with accuracy
Graphic viewing functions:
 Able to locate graphics on page
 Able to locate top right hand corner of graphics
 Able to track systematically around graphic
 Able to zoom in on detail while maintaining position
 Able to interpret graphics
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
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References
Corn, A & Koenig, A Ed. Foundations of Low Vision: Clinical & functional perspectives,
AFB Press, New York, 1996
D‟Andrea, Frances Mary & Farrenkopf, Carol Eds. Looking to Learn – promoting literacy
for students with low vision, AFB Press, New York, 2000
Kelly, Pat & Gale, Gillian, Towards Excellence – effective education for students with
vision impairments, North Rocks Press, Sydney, 1998
Hall Lueck, Amanda Ed. Functional Vision – A practitioner’s guide to evaluation and
intervention, AFB Press, New York, 2004
McCall, Karen, The Box Came Today, Now What Do I Do? – A Resource for CCTV
Assessment and Training, Karlen Communications, US, 2001/2002
Presley, Ike, Instructional Strategies for Using Video Magnifiers (EMUs) to Facilitate
Literacy, Paper presented at Getting in Touch with Literacy Conference, Philadelphia,
2001
AND
Thank you to staff of Humanware for lending us three EMUs to play with, and for being
very positive and encouraging in helping with the development of this booklet.
Thank you also to Rod Clement, illustrator of „Edward the Emu‟, for permission to use an
illustration from his book on the front cover of this curriculum.
Edward the Emu
By Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement
HarperCollins
Australia, 1990
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Exercises – page 1
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Exercises – page 2
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Exercises – page 3
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How many pictures?
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Exercises – page 4 (27 pictures)
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
17
Read the alphabet
a………………………………………………………………………b……………………………
…………………c……………………………………………………d……………………………
.e…………………………………………………..f……………………………………………….
………………………………………g…………………………………………………………….
…………..h……………………………………………i…………………………………………..
j………………………………………………………………………………………….k…………
…………………………………………………………………..l………………………………….
………………………………m…………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………..n.o……………………………………………………p
…….q……………………………………………………………………….r………………………
………………………………………..s…………………………………………………………….
………..t……………………………………………………..u………………………………v…….
……………………………………………………………………………….w………………….x…
y……………………………………………..……………………………………………………….z
Exercises – page 5
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
18
Read the alphabet, again
a………………………………………………………………………b……………………………
…………………c……………………………………………………d……………………………
.e…………………………………………………..f……………………………………………….
………………………………………g…………………………………………………………….
…………..h……………………………………………i…………………………………………..
j………………………………………………………………………………………….k…………
…………………………………………………………………..l………………………………….
………………………………m…………………………………………………………………….
……………………………………………..n.o……………………………………………………p
…….q……………………………………………………………………….r………………………
………………………………………..s…………………………………………………………….
………..t……………………………………………………..u………………………………v…….
……………………………………………………………………………….w………………….x…
y……………………………………………..……………………………………………………….z
Exercises – page 6
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
19
Read the story
……………The ……………………………………. sun …………………………………………
was ……………………………………………. bright …………………………………. and ….
………………… John ……………………………………….wanted …………………to ……..
……………………………………………………….. be …………………………….early ……
…………………………….. to ……………………………. the …………………………………..
……………………………. football ……………………………………….. finals. ……………..
He …………………………………………………………….. woke ……………………………..
up …………………………….. in …………….. plenty ………………………………………….
…….. of ………………………….. time ……………………………………………..to …………
…………………………………………………………….. pack …………………………………..
……….. his ………………………………….. lunch ……………………….. and ……………..
dress ……………………………………… in …………………………… his ………………….
……………….. team ……………………………………………….. colours …………………..
but …………………………………………. he ……………………………… just ……………..
…………………….. couldn’t ……………….. find ………………………………………. his ..
…………………………………………………………………scarf ……………………………….
………………….. anywhere. ……………………………………………………………. He ……
………………………………………………. wondered ………………………………..if ……....
………….. his……………………………. Mum ……………………………………. might ……
……………………….. have ………………………………… washed ………………………….
it …………………………………… but ……………………it ………………….. wasn’t ………
……………………………………………………..in ………………………………. the …………
……….. wash ………………………… basket. …………………………….. He ………………
…………………………………. looked ………………………….. in …………………… his …
…………… school ……………….. bag ………………………………………………………….
Exercises – page 7
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
20
Short Column Reading Exercise
the yellow ball
to the school
can live
has run away
will walk
it was
he was
on the chair
with us
up there
so long
has made
your mother
the new doll
the black bird
a big horse
could make
by the house
to the house
he would do
if you can
he would try
when you come
can run
the old man
to the barn
from the tree
went away
was made
they are

Exercises – page 8
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
21
Short Column Reading Exercise
Harry Potter Phrases (1)
send an owl
he led them along
cars don‟t fly
keeper of the keys
tap your wand
rubbing their ribs
pat his beak
wings flapped open
Ron and Harry
long hair and beard
back to school
at Snape‟s class
at the roots
wash their hands
dash of leech juice
in a mean smile
potion needs to stew
up the stairs
to the tower
the Great Hall
a long list
a good time
gulp of potion
the cold wind
not even Ron
roll up the map
out in front
Harry sped up
the dark side
upside-down
Exercises – page 9
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
22
Short Column Reading Exercise
Harry Potter Phrases (2)
two feet away
took out his wand
watch this spell
the dark mark
staff room door
the class came in
get a clear shot
his long robes
holding his wand
take its legs off
to get their bags
the Fat Lady
win the cup
saw the Snitch
all cats chase rats
the bell rang
put up his hand
a look in his eye
out of his room
side of the pitch
seen the Grim
the end of term
cold damp earth
top of his head
run for it
his scar hurt
the house cup
Exercises – page 10
Statewide Vision Resource Centre PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131 Tel (03) 9841 0242 Fax (03) 9841 0878 www.svrc.vic.edu.au
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