Students with mild disabilities often face the same academic challenges year after year. Their challenges may include the inability to read and understand written material, write legibly, express their ideas in grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs, attend to and comprehend lecture content or simple directions, and/or perform mathematical computations. However, these students are less likely to become frustrated, discouraged and, at some point, disengaged from their academic experiences if they receive timely assistance through technology. Write:OutLoud is a tool that supports and empowers students with mild disabilities in a number of important ways.
Type of software: Multisensory or "talking" word processor
Which students can benefit?
- Students of all ages who struggle with the task of composing grammatically correct sentences
- Students who could benefit from hearing omissions or inaccuracies in their work
- Students who could benefit from technology to support reading
What makes Write:OutLoud effective?
When used as a tool to support writing:
- Program can be used as a standard word processor.
- Program can be customized to read students' words, sentences, or paragraphs as they are written.
- Students can hear inaccuracies or omissions in their writing.
- A visual as well as an auditory prompt alert students that they have misspelled a word.
- Misspelled words can be identified and corrected easily; a "talking spellchecker" highlights and reads the misspelled word as it appears in the sentence and then allows students to hear "suggested words" read.
- Students can check for homonym errors by looking up the word in the program's "talking dictionary."
When used as a tool to support reading:
- Teachers can scan or import tests, worksheets, reading material, or other class assignments into the program.
- Students are able to hear as little or as much of the text read at any given time.
- If students are unsure of a word's meaning, they can highlight the word, look it up in the program's "talking dictionary," and have the definition read to them.
- If the imported text is an assignment or test, students can type their answers directly into a document, utilizing the program's writing supports.
When used to enhance the curriculum:
- Students can practice typing their vocabulary/spelling words into the program, checking for accuracy.
- Students can define words by using the program's "talking dictionary."
- Providing students with an unedited document containing common errors can heighten grammatical awareness. Students circle the errors and check to see how many errors they have successfully identified by opening the document in Write:OutLoud. Finally, students utilize the program's editing features to correct the document.
- If students correspond with e-mail pen pals, e-mail messages can be imported into Write:OutLoud and read aloud for struggling readers. Students can also use the writing support features of the program to construct messages in Write:OutLoud and then import them into their e-mail program for delivery.
- Research gathered from the Internet or other sources for a writing assignment can be read in Write:OutLoud; students can use the program's "talking dictionary" to look up unfamiliar terms.
Write:OutLoud is manufactured by Don Johnston (1-800-999-4660). The program sells for $99 for single copies. If you would like more information about this software or if you would like to schedule a training opportunity, please contact Cindy Richardson, Assistive Technology Specialist, at (757) 221-2374 or [[cxric2]].