Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Support your students' literacy with Google Read & Write Extension

Not all our students find reading and writing easy, but it is such a vital part of today's life. They might have trouble reading, or writing meaningfully. Many of my students have struggled to re-read their work and self-correct, and buddy-systems don't work for everyone either. Add to this spelling programmes, which are useful only really become meaningful when they are personalised and related to what the students is reading and writing about and I wouldn't be the only teacher wondering how to fit all this into my day with my students!

I absolutely love the Read & Write for Google extension, a great tool to support student literacy. It is not going to take all literacy issues in the classroom away, but it includes text-to-speech, speech input, word prediction, talking and picture dictionaries, vocabulary builder, highlight collector, simplify and a translator funtion (French and Spanish).  The basic version (with limited features) is free, comes with access to the Premium features for 30 days. The lovely people from Texthelp are giving away 12 month access to the Premium features for free for teachers, you can register for it here. Here is a little video I made a few weeks ago showing you some of the functions you can use with the free version.

WHY use it?
All students deserve to be set up for success, literacy is vital to success in education and in life.

HOW use it?
This is an extension for Chrome, so you need to be using this browser. From experience it works well for GAFE schools, for use within Google Drive and on the web, but also for anyone else as Read & Write for Google also works on websites, PDFs, ePubs etc. (Premium version).
For students who struggle with reading and writing, the Premium Version might be very useful. Everyone will still benefit from the text-to-speech function in the Free Version to listen to text and to their own writing.

WHAT to do with it?
Both versions:
  • Listen to text in Google Docs or on the web.
  • Listen back to your own writing to extend and improve it.
  • Have text translated.
Premium version only:
  • Dictate your text into Google Doc
  • Use the talking dictionary, picture dictionary and fact finder to gather more information
  • Collect highlights from Google Docs, Web, PDF, ePub into a new Google Doc
  • Build your personalised spelling lists
  • Simplify cluttered websites.

Please find here a video by Texthelp about more of the features:

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