Writing and Self-Editing Tools
This second article in the Read&Write Gold (R&WG) Tools series presents some of its writing and self-editing tools. Part 1 presents reading tools and part 3 presents study skills and research tools. Please note that R&WG works best when used with Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer (Windows), and Safari (Mac).
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.
- Speech Input Demo (Windows)
- Speech Input is not a feature on the Mac
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.
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
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.
- Sounds Like and Confusable Words Checker Demo (Windows)
- Sounds Like and Confusable Words Checker Demo (Mac)
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.
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.
How to Get Read&Write Gold
As previously announced, UMD students, faculty and staff have access to Read&Write Gold. It has been installed and is available on all ITSS lab computers and on Library 122, 124, and 126 computers, and 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, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
Further Read&Write Gold Information
The vendor, TextHelp, provides extensive documentation and Webinars regarding how to use Read&Write Gold.
- Windows (works best with Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, and Adobe Reader)
- Mac (works best with Microsoft Word, Safari and Adobe Reader)
- Read&Write Gold Videos
- Read&Write Gold Webinars