Read&Write

App review by
Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Media
Read&Write App Poster Image
Challenging tool provides read-aloud and spelling support.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn helpful word-identification strategies when using Read&Write for iPad to read text-heavy passages in Safari. By highlighting a section of text, kids can practice following phrases, sentences, and paragraphs as the tool reads them aloud. Kids also can use the built-in visual dictionary when reading or writing. Read&Write for iPad gives kids some tools to help them get through tricky texts, though an easier setup would make it even more useful.

Ease of Play

Steep learning curve, but becomes easier once kids practice. Accessing the assistive features requires multiple steps that must be repeated each time kids open an application.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Read&Write for iPad is an assistive tool designed to be used with a Web browser or word-processing tool. Kids with print or processing disorders may benefit from using this tool to read text aloud and to define new words using pictures or words. Read&Write for iPad also provides an assistive keyboard that displays letters in a font helpful for dyslexic readers. Kids may find using the tool challenging, since they're required to enable the keyboard or read-aloud tool every time they use it. After the three-day trial period has expired, users pay $19.99 to access full features. After enabling the keyboard, check its settings to make sure you have not enabled full access, which allows the developer to collect any data typed on the keyboard.

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What's it about?

READ&WRITE FOR IPAD opens to the setup wizard. This provides a video tutorial for connecting to a Google account or serial number, enabling the keyboard, and enabling read aloud/vocabulary software within Safari. Kids can also choose their preferences: highlight vowels, choose an overall color theme, and use audible clicks, Speak-as-I-Type, continuous reading, dyslexia font, or swipe to insert. It runs within different applications: To access from Safari, kids click on the share icon and select the Read&Write for iPad extension. When the pop-up tool appears, kids can double click on the web text to hear text read aloud, highlight a single word to hear or see one or more definitions of the word, or visit the developer's website for more help. When reading text aloud, it highlights the sentences in yellow, then highlights the spoken word in blue. Phrases are read by a computer voice, with pauses at appropriate punctuation. Within a word processing document, a kid can access the keyboard by clicking on the global icon at the bottom of the regular keyboard. Kids can see letters in a dyslexic font with predictive words appearing in a band of color above it. For instance, if kids type the beginning of a sentence, the keyboard will predict when articles or frequent verbs should come next. These features are only available with the premium version, which is free for 30 days, and then costs $19.99.

Is it any good?

Overall, Read&Write for iPad may provide helpful assistance to kids with print disorders such as dyslexia. It provides a lot of helpful features that aren't easily found elsewhere. However, some of the images for the definitions might not make sense to younger kids. For example, the images for basic include a square chart with one part colored red and two parts colored white. The word most offers multiple definitions that include a bowl with lots of circles, two exclamation points, a pie chart mostly shaded red, and an arrow on a line. Also, Read&Write for iPad is designed to work within Safari or a word processing tool, which means kids may need to click through three or more steps to enable the assistive features. Privacy may also present an issue: the developer warns that by enabling a keyboard, it may gather information about what kids type using the keyboard to make their predictive software better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about multiple word meanings when using Read&Write for iPad. Parents can help kids click on unfamiliar words and talk about which definition (or image) makes the most sense in the sentence provided.

  • Ask kids to read along with Read&Write for iPad. As the tool highlights words and phrases to read aloud, encourage kids also to read aloud. Seeing, hearing, and speaking at a regular pace can help kids increase their fluency skills. 

App details

  • Devices: iPad, Mac, Android, Chromebook, Windows app
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, vocabulary
  • Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: 30-day trial; $145/year
  • Pricing structure: Free to try (30-day free trial. $145 per year for a single license and access to Read&Write across all platforms. Group and site licenses also available.)
  • Subscription price: $19.99 for the iPad app
  • Release date: March 20, 2015
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 11.80 MB
  • Publisher: Texthelp Ltd.
  • Version: 1.2.2
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 8.0 or later

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