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What parents need to know
Read & Write is a simple yet powerful program that goes above and beyond your standard text-to-speech tool: It helps kids read independently, comprehend more of what they're reading, see and listen to definitions of unfamiliar words, and highlight important sections. When they're writing, it can help them find the words they’re looking for, hear and check their spelling, carry out and organize research, and even translate from Spanish or other chosen languages. Depending on where your kid needs the most support, they may only end up using a couple of the tools, but there's lots of great help available whenever they want it.
What's it about?
Read & Write is a text-to-speech program that gives kids a set of tools to hear difficult words aloud, see corresponding pictures, listen to definitions, and better understand what they read. All options are accessible in a toolbar that works with any Windows application. You can choose from three sets of icons to identify the tools, each with or without text. Customized sets of tools are available for reading or writing. Additionally, tutorials and training curricula are available. Cool features include Screen Masking, which frees you from distraction by highlighting the exact part of the page you're focusing on while masking the rest of the screen.
Is it any good?
It's excellent. More of a set of tools than a single application, it offers a wide variety of supports for any reader or writer. Although each separate utility is well integrated into the program as a whole, many kids will use only a few of the tools, so the toolbar can be customized to show only what they need. The spoken reading voices are clear and customizable, and the clean interface as well as super-accessible help videos for most tools make it very easy to learn.
Read & Write's tools are powerful for all kids, but they make a huge difference for those with disabilities who may have been really struggling with the whole reading experience. It enables kids to go ahead and access the important information they might be missing otherwise while improving actual reading skills at the same time.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Explore the different tools in the program together and figure out which ones will help your kid the most.
- Encourage recreational reading (perhaps try a Bookshare.org subscription) to help them experience the fun of independent reading.
- Use simple texts or emails to show your kids how they can correct their own errors with the writing tools.
- Subjects: Language & Reading: phonics, reading, reading comprehension, spelling, text analysis, vocabulary, writing
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, logic, prediction, problem solving, strategy, thinking critically
Self-Direction: academic development, achieving goals, effort, identifying strengths and weaknesses, work to achieve goals
Communication: asking questions, listening, multiple forms of expression
- Genre: Educational