Friday, 25 October 2013

October 25, 2013 - Getting started with Read&Write and Google Docs…

Many of you have seen this icon appearing when you open the documents on the UGCloud.  Today, I’d like to offer a brief outline of how to use it…

First, when you open a document you may recognize
 this toolbar at the top of the page. This is called the ‘Study Skills’ toolbar and is where you will find the icons for the app.  If you are having trouble seeing the tools for the document you can click on the double arrow on the icon it will hide it for you.  Similarly, if you would like to use the study skills toolbar just click on the double down arrows.

With the Read & Write app, you are able to have documents (including scanned and uploaded PDFs) read to you.  There will be no need for Kurzweil any longer, and anyone, not just students with SEA equipment, will be able to have text read to them.

First, open the document from your Google drive (simply click if it is a Google Doc, if it is a PDF right click on the title and select ‘open with’ and then select “Read&Write for Google”).
When the document opens, highlight the text by clicking and dragging the mouse along the text you would like read.  Then in the toolbar, click on the black triangle and the text will be read to you. To stop the reading, click on the square box or tap the double bars in the ‘study skills toolbar’ to pause the reading. As the text is being read aloud it will be highlighted so that it will help the reader with comprehension and word recognition.

The voice of the reader can be altered from male to female and from a faster reading pace to one which is slower.  To change the voice, speed, or translation language, click on the gear in the upper right hand corner and select from one of the voices in the drop down menu.  Of the available voices, I prefer the US – Ava, as I find she is the least robotic and recognizable.  By choosing French – Virginie, you are able to have Read&Write read French texts aloud for you.

One of the key features of Read&Write is the Highlighting aspect.  By selecting text, you can then click on one of the coloured highlighters in the ‘study skills’ toolbar to change the text to that colour.  Although this appears to be nothing new, the highlighted information can be collected and placed into a new document.   By clicking on the ‘collect highlights’ icon, only the information you have highlighted will be organized into another Google document.  You can choose to have it collected by colour (so say you highlighted everything about dogs in yellow, and everything about cats in blue, all the dog and cat information would be grouped together) or order it chronologically by selecting “position” from the drop down menu when you click on collect highlights.  This is a great tool for students who are learning (or need practice with) how to summarize key points in an article they have just read (CASI).  

Additional Fun Tools
Dictionary - by double clicking on a word (or selecting it with click and drag) and then clicking on the dictionary icon (dictionary), the app will give you what part of speech it is and a definition for it.

Picture Dictionary- by double clicking on a word (or selecting it with click and drag) and then clicking on the picture dictionary icon , you will be given a clip art of what the word means.

Translator - by double clicking on a word (or selecting it with click and drag) and then clicking on the translator icon it will give you a few translations of the word in French or Spanish.  If you find the translator is translating to Spanish, simply click on the gear icon on the right hand side and select French from the drop down menu next to ‘translation’.

Vocabulary builder - when you highlight words and then click on the vocabulary icon a new document is created which lists all of the selected words in a table, including their dictionary definitions, a symbol for it, and a place for students to write in notes.

Fact Finder - helps find information quickly by searching the web for relevant information about a topic.  To use Fact Finder, click on the fact finder icon. Type your search term in the Manual Text Search Box and click OK. Fact Finder will open another browser window and display search results for your keyword using the default search engine. Great for students working on research projects.

I hope these are helpful for you and for your struggling readers.


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