JAWS Resources

Sometimes it's hard to know how to get started with teaching JAWS. Students who are in elementary school benefit from beginning technology instruction at an early age. If your student doesn't have typing skills, consider acquiring a braille display to go along with a PC laptop so that he or she can begin learning how to use a computer with JAWS right away. If you aren't able to acquire a braille display, consider using a typing program like TypeAbility or Talking Typer to help teach your student keyboarding skills. Below is a brief sequence to help you get started in teaching JAWS and attached are a basic assessment and two different lists of commands, as well as a compilation of tactile tools. Please contact me directly with any questions: wibbenmeyern@tsbvi.edu


JAWS Instruction Sequence

***Helpful Prerequisites (if possible)

  • Students should have JAWS already installed on their district computer and have daily access to this computer so that they can practice

  • Students should have keyboarding skills (a working knowledge of alphabet and number keys); they should be able to type 10 words per minute and to write and compose a complete sentence

  • Talking Typer (APH), TypeAbility (YesAccessible!) are good typing training programs

  • If a student has a braille display, it is possible to bypass the keyboarding prerequisite

***JAWS Settings

  • Teach laptop commands, even when on a desktop, as they are interchangeable

  • Go to startup wizard (JAWS program, Help Menu, Startup Wizard): change settings to “Use Keyboard Layout: Laptop” and check the checkbox for “Use Virtual Ribbon Menus”

Basic Computer Concepts

  • Explore the computer tactually; teach students how to identify the different parts of the computer

  • Teach background knowledge: operating system, hardware/software, why computers are used

  • The desktop is our “home base” – how does it appear to a user with vision (use tactile tool)

  • How to navigate around the desktop (Tab or Shift Tab)

  • How to navigate within each area of the desktop (arrow keys or first-letter navigation, Enter to activate)

  • How to open a program (MS Word)

  • Computer focus

  • How to cycle through open programs (Alt + Tab Tab Tab)

  • How to go to the desktop at any time, no matter what program you are in (Windows + M or D)

Reading Commands

  • Open MS Word

  • Read story and teach commands to navigate/read text

  • Read all

  • Read by word or line

  • When more advanced, read by sentence or paragraph, current word/line/letter, spell current word

Help Commands

  • Cycle through open programs (Alt + Tab Tab Tab)

  • Go to desktop (Windows + M or D)

  • Read current program title (Caps Lock + T)

  • Read current line (Caps Lock + I)

  • Repeat control in a dialog box (even works in other areas) (Caps Lock + Tab)

MS Word Editing/formatting

  • What is the ribbon (aka “Menu Bar)? How does the program layout appear to a user with vision (use tactile tool)?

  • Why do we use MS Word?

  • Cursor placement; when to use backspace and delete

  • How to save a document

  • Editing practice, practice, practice: journal entries, editing worksheets, simple assignments for school (short papers, spelling lists)

  • Travel to top or bottom of document quickly (Ctrl + Home/End) or to beginning or end of line quickly (Home/End)

  • Spellcheck

  • Flash drive

  • Selecting text and making changes to it (copy, paste, bold, italicize, underline, change font)

  • Learning to navigate the ribbon: changing margins, adding page numbers, inserting bullets and more advanced skills


  • Teach why we use Internet

  • How to be safe and confidential on the Internet

  • Typing in web addresses

  • Students should practice on accessible web pages first

  • Navigating and reading accessible web pages

  • How to copy and paste text from accessible web pages

  • Less accessible web pages and problem solving

  • Google researching (whenever possible, locate accessible web pages for your student to choose from when they are given a project in class as Google searches take extreme amounts of time for VI students)

  • Gmail

  • Google Drive

  • Google Docs

  • Google Classroom

Collage of JAWS screenreader

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