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Read&Write Gold Learning Technology Suite

UMD students, faculty and staff have access to Read&Write Gold software, which has the capability to help improve learning for everyone regardless of ability or learning style.

"Read&Write Gold is the award winning literacy software solution that allows students to access any curriculum and complete reading, writing, and research assignments..." - texthelp.com

Where is this Software Available?

Read&Write Gold has been installed and is available on all ITSS lab computers and on Library 122, 124, and 126 computers. It is available in Active Directory. Read&Write Gold may be installed on any UMD owned computer. If you run a lab in partnership with ITSS and would like to install it there, please contact Greg Mattsen, gmattsen@d.umn.edu.

How to "Take Home" Read&Write Gold

All UMD students, faculty, and staff may download a "Take Home" version for their personally owned computers.

If you need assistance, please call or stop by the ITSS TechCenter Help Desk (218-726-8847, Kirby Plaza 165).

What Does this Software Do and How Can it Help Me?

This program, once installed shows up as a customizable toolbar that either floats or docks to your monitor window and can be used with common programs such as Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, and browsers such as Internet Explorer and Safari. Features include:

Reading Tools

Text to Speech Reading IconText-to-Speech

A main feature of Read&Write Gold is a built-in text-to-speech synthesizer, which speaks information to the you through your computer's speakers or ear phones. It can read text materials such as reports, papers, lecture notes, and discussion forums. Make sure the sound on the computer is turned on. Click the play icon on the toolbar. The text is highlighted as it is read providing visual reinforcement. You can use the forward rewind and pause speech. You can set the program to read back completed text by word, sentence, or paragraph. You can select your preferred voice, pitch, speed, and volume to suit your individual needs.

Speech Maker IconSpeech Maker (e.g. MP3 Creation)

R&WG can convert digital text into audio files, such as MP3s with Speech Maker. You can turn documents into to MP3s and bring them to the gym to listen to them.

PDF Aloud IconPDF Aloud

This feature performs text-to-speech within accessible Adobe reader files and provides dual highlighting.

Screenshot Reader IconScreenshot Reader

The Screenshot Reader can be used to read a lot of inaccessible images of text. It does an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) conversion. It's not perfect. But it can be helpful in deciphering inaccessible images of text. From there the text can be exported to Word.

Online Translator IconOnline Translator

The translator can be especially helpful for people whom English is a second language. They can check a word in the dictionary immediately instead of having to use a second dictionary. It allows single words, paragraphs, or blocks of text to be translated into multiple languages.

Dictionary IconDictionary

R&WG has multiple dictionary options built into it. A talking phonetic dictionary is available to provide definitions as well as alternative words to help expand vocabulary and improve reading comprehension. Basic, advanced, and online dictionaries support the user's creative writing skills.

Picture Dictionary IconPicture Dictionary

An online Picture Dictionary is available to display images for a selected word. When a user comes across a word they are unsure of, they can search the picture dictionary for a visual image to better understand its meaning. A text definition is also included.

Screen Masking IconScreen Masking

Users can tint the screen using colors, like an overlay. This feature can help focus via masking out the active/non active parts of the screen.

Writing and Self-Editing Tools

Speech Input IconSpeech Input

Do you have a hard time starting a rough draft? Is a blank screen on the computer really tough for you? If you have an easier time talking out your ideas than writing, R&WG's speech input may be something to try out. This voice recognition function, which includes a voice training and setup program, enables you to dictate documents using a microphone. It converts speech to text. It is not perfect. It's not Dragon (a full-fledged speech recognition software program) but it does a pretty good job for the in-between. You still have to go through and clean everything up, but it can be a good rough draft starting point.

Spelling-Grammar Checker IconSpelling-Grammar Checker

The spell checker helps recognize unusual spelling errors. Spelling suggestions as well as definitions are provided and can be read aloud to ensure the correct replacement word is chosen. It gives more options and is better for phonetic spelling than Microsoft Word. Corrected choices and definitions for word choices are displayed and a log collects student data.

Verb Checker IconVerb Checker

The verb checker helps determine correct verb conjugation. Once the past, present or future tense is selected, the user is provided with multiple verb conjugation options.

Sounds Like and Confusable Words Checker IconSounds Like and Confusable Words Checker

If you are not careful Microsoft Word's spell checker changes the word "definitely" it to "defiantly". R&WG identifies words that sound the same (homophones) but are spelled differently (e.g., "eye" and "I") or words that are commonly confused (e.g., "through" and "thorough"). With the R&WG spell checker and the verb checker is not a contextual spelling and grammar checker. It will flag everything. And it will help with context and give definitions of commonly-confused words. Alternate choices are displayed, as well as their definitions.

Word Prediction IconWord Prediction

Word prediction helps develop writing skills by providing the tools to construct sentences with ease. It learns the writer's style and predicts the word they are typing and the word they want to use next. Words can be added to the prediction dictionary. This feature helps improve accuracy, reduce keystrokes, and build vocabulary.

Text to Speech Reading IconText-to-Speech

R&WG can be a great proofreading tool. If a person writes something and tries to proofread visually, it is easy to miss some errors. The brain is seeing what he or she meant to say. Text-to-speech isn't going to lie. It's going to read exactly what's on the page.

Some people for whom English is a second language may be better at hearing English than reading English. With R&WG Text-to-Speech they can tell that something sounds awkward when they hear it and can go back and change it in their document.

Study Skills and Research Tools

Text to Speech Reading IconText-to-Speech

A main feature of Read&Write Gold is a built-in text-to-speech synthesizer, which speaks information to the you through your computer's speakers or ear phones. It can read text materials such as reports, papers, lecture notes, and discussion forums. Make sure the sound on the computer is turned on. Click the play icon on the toolbar. The text is highlighted as it is read providing visual reinforcement. You can use the forward rewind and pause speech. You can set the program to read back completed text by word, sentence, or paragraph. You can select your preferred voice, pitch, speed, and volume to suit your individual needs.

Speech Maker IconSpeech Maker (e.g. MP3 Creation)

R&WG can convert digital text into audio files, such as MP3s with Speech Maker. You can turn documents into to MP3s and bring them to the gym to listen to them.

PDF Aloud IconPDF Aloud

This feature performs text-to-speech within accessible Adobe reader files and provides dual highlighting.

Screenshot Reader IconScreenshot Reader

The Screenshot Reader can be used to read a lot of inaccessible images of text. It does an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) conversion. It's not perfect. But it can be helpful in deciphering inaccessible images of text. From there the text can be exported to Word.

Online Translator IconOnline Translator

The translator can be especially helpful for people whom English is a second language. They can check a word in the dictionary immediately instead of having to use a second dictionary. It allows single words, paragraphs, or blocks of text to be translated into multiple languages.

Dictionary IconDictionary

R&WG has multiple dictionary options built into it. A talking phonetic dictionary is available to provide definitions as well as alternative words to help expand vocabulary and improve reading comprehension. Basic, advanced, and online dictionaries support the user's creative writing skills.

Picture Dictionary IconPicture Dictionary

An online Picture Dictionary is available to display images for a selected word. When a user comes across a word they are unsure of, they can search the picture dictionary for a visual image to better understand its meaning. A text definition is also included.

Screen Masking IconScreen Masking

Users can tint the screen using colors, like an overlay. This feature can help focus via masking out the active/non active parts of the screen.

Documentation

The vendor, TextHelp, provides extensive documentation and Webinars regarding how to use Read&Write Gold.

Demo

The following video by the Bismarck State College Student Accessibility office provides an introduction to some basic features of Read&Write Gold for Windows.