Universal Reader Plus

Website review by
ADK AccessAbility, Common Sense Media
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Read, translate, and summarize text with versatile tool.

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Educational Value
Kids can learn to be independent readers, get support in learning another language, and see good examples of how to summarize text. They can improve their reading comprehension skills; the program has a few ways to make text easier to digest. Its various features can support struggling students, or just help kids who have a ton of reading to accomplish in a short amount of time. Universal Reader Plus opens lots of doors to the wonderful world of words.
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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Universal Reader is a downloadable text-to-speech reader that also summarizes and translates text. It'll read selected text aloud, helping kids with comprehension and reading difficulties that would otherwise be a barrier. Even younger kids should find it easy to use; it'll make the online world and any text documents much more accessible.

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What's it about?

UNIVERSAL READER PLUS is a downloadable program that can read any text found on a computer screen, including Flash and PDF files. After you've installed it onto your home computer or device, simply select the text you'd like to hear aloud. Not only can it read text, Universal Reader also can translate it into eight languages as well as summarize any-size chunk of text into key points. You'll do all this using a floating toolbar that moves with you from Word docs to websites. Highlight and select your chosen text with a pointer or through a series of keyboard commands.

Is it any good?

With its simple tool bar, Universal Reader Plus delivers what it promises: universal access to text for kids who need it. There are other free readers, auto summarizers, and language translators out there, but Universal Reader Plus is the whole package. It uniquely reads Flash files, has a talking pointer that reads anything (even if the computer doesn't see it as print), can summarize a small chunk of information or a huge document, and can translate into eight languages.
 
One of the coolest things about Universal Reader Plus is its summary tool. Using algorithmic language technology, it can solidly summarize any amount of text from a single paragraph to a full chapter. This awesome feature can help kids with comprehension issues as well as those trying to digest a ton of information in a short amount of time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Encourage recreational reading through a Bookshare.org subscription.
  • Use texts and personal emails to show kids the fun side of the program.

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