Text Help and Word Prediction

Word prediction is an "intelligent" word processing feature that can alleviate writing breakdowns for a range of students simply by reducing the number of keystrokes necessary for typing words.

Word prediction works like this. As a student types, the software monitors the input letter-by-letter, and produces a list of words beginning with the letter sequence recorded. Each time a letter is added, the list is updated. When the target word appears in the list, it can be chosen and inserted into the ongoing text with a single keystroke. (Typically word lists are numbered and words can be chosen by typing the corresponding number).

Students with Motor Impairments

Many word prediction programs were first developed for students whose keyboarding skills were severely limited by their motor impairments. For students who cannot use the standard keyboard, alternate methods for selecting letters--switches, trackballs, head and mouthsticks--can be slow, increasing the gap between generating ideas and capturing them in writing. Word prediction can reduce this gap simply by reducing the number of selections necessary for encoding words.

Students with Learning Disabilities

Educators are beginning to see the power of word prediction for students with learning disabilities. Many students who are poor spellers avoid words they are unsure of and therefore have extremely limited writing vocabularies. Others are less constricted while composing, but find that spellcheckers frequently do not generate appropriate choices. Word prediction provides poor spellers on-line assistance, making the whole endeavor less stressful (Source article: NCIP).

People with Dyslexia also find TextHelp and Word Prediction programs invaluable.

Useful Text Help and Word Prediction Resources

  • Word Q / Speak Q. A word prediction and speech recognition package.This word prediction has pretty good flexible prediction, so may well offer some competion for Co:Writer, but works with other applications. Some really nice features such as context sentences for homophones on the fly and text to speech that works beyond it's window. The speech is a plug in for the Word Q is interesting, but in my limited experience... ineffective! Teachers I have shown this to really like the other elements of the program though. Costs about £120. Free demo on the website, though I have problems with the download- have reported this. You can also contact them, or their UK distributor which appear to be REM for a demo disk. Definitely worth knowing about if you are doing any work with schools/students. More information about Word Q . . .

  • ClaroRead. A text to speech support tools that allow computer users to read and write independently. By making a computer speak any text with a human voice, text documents can be proofed out loud along with web pages, e-mails and any other text. ClaroRead can reduce reliance on teachers, partners, support staff and parents by giving its user the opportunity to achieve the same standards as everyone else. More information about ClaroRead . . .

    ClaroRead Tooolbar
    ClaroRead Toolbar

    ClaroRead for PC V5 word prediction
    (explained by the onboard voice)

    ClaroRead for PC V5 spell check tutorial
    (explained by the onboard voice)

    ClaroRead for Mac V4
    (explained by Acapela Rachael)

    ClaroRead for Mac reading in Safari tutorial
    (explained by Acapela Heather)

    More on the ClaroRead YouTube channel . . .

    Extract from AbilityNet Newsletter Autumn 2009. ClaroRead V5 has new some features including Visual highlighting. The new focus sentence feature greys or dims out sentences in MS Word not being spoken. This is helpful for focussing the eye on the text, and also tracking the position in a document. The word trail feature allows effective word by word highlighting, with minimal visual disruption.

    The new ClaroCapture program lets you collect text from any document and web page, grouping it as a project file. This can be sent to Word or PowerPoint. Claro has always aimed to offer the highest quality voices and now has two new excellent voices, a Scottish female and an English male.

  • Reading Made Easy. America and Canada. A huge range of products available. They have developed a complete suite of products that address "reading, writing and information transfer" needs for individuals with visual, cognitive and mobility challenges. www.readingmadeez.com/Products.php

  • Virtual Reading Ruler by Crossbow Education. It works just like an ordinary reading ruler, removing the glare so stabilising the print on any area of the page. At the same time it can mark the specific line or paragraph being read. It can be used with any application - including the internet - and moves with the mouse. Read more about Virtual Reading Ruler . . .

  • TextHelp Read&Write 8 / Read&Write 8 Gold - Auto copies to clipboard once highlighted and then reads out. Also converts docs into MP3 format. R&W Gold is good at detecting homophones and 'confusables', like rough and tough, through etc. Takes over control of spellchecker - using it's own. Uses speech to read out possibilities in the context of the sentence. Reads web pages and includes a Daisy reader. Also does a very good job at scanning in text - even from coloured brochures and then reading it out.

    Read&Write Gold V8 Toolbar

    TextHelp Read&Write Gold V8 toolbar

    Using TextHelp Read&Write Gold V8:

    TextHelp Read & Write Gold V8 Screenreader:

    Using Read&Write Gold to read PDF files

    Using Read&Write Gold with Vista and K12 Maps

    Text Help Read and Write 9 has some new features including Screen masking, to help with some of the visual issues associated with dyslexia, the ability to block out any text you are not reading. Other options include:
    • Tint my whole screen
    • Tint the window I am typing in
    • Tint the line I am typing on
    • Tint everything except the line I am typing on
    • Underline the line I'm typing on
    • Underline my mouse point
    It also comes with Tim and Tina! These new voices have been specifically designed for Education purposes to ensure that students have the best listening experience.

    The Screenshot Reader in Read&Write 9 GOLD speech-enables inaccessible text, such as 'locked' PDF documents or Inaccessible Flash. Examination boards frequently use inaccessible Flash for online exams. For instance, the City and Guilds GOLA exams are written in Flash. Read&Write 9 GOLD will read this text.

  • Free Download. Sensory software free downloads. www.sensorysoftware.com

  • Wordbar_v2 from Crick (and similar to Clicker 5) provides writing support for students. It is a toolbar which sits along the bottom of your screen and attaches itself to whatever word processor you are using. Every grid contains words or phrases that can be sent to the word processor with a click. Faster writing, improved spelling and accuracy. It includes high quality speech so you can hear words or phrases before you write. Good for 'mental blocks'. Free downloadable Grids

  • Mind Mapping. Brainstorming and concept mapping tools for visual thinking and learning. Inspiration has a 'quick fire' mode which auto exports text into boxes. The 'outline' view almost creates the document - with headings etc. You can move information round in outline view by dragging and dropping. Also speech output. Mind Genius will convert mind maps into Word docs or Powerpoint. Inspiration_v76

    Using Inspiration v8 - Lesson 1

    Using Inspiration v8 - Lesson 2

    Using Inspiration v8 - Lesson 2

    Creating an outline in Inspiration v8

  • Co-Writer. Works straight out of the box. In Word, the working window appears underneath. Everything stays in this window until the word is completed and then it is transferred to Word. Text is read out instantly Spells with you as you type. Prediction appears underneath the word being typed. (Best to turn off the word learn function for dyslexics). Co-Writer now comes preinstalled on the AlphaSmart. www.donjohnston.com

    Co-Writer SE

  • ieSpellCheck - a spell checker for Internet Explorer. A free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage. www.iespell.com/

  • Inclusive Writer. Predictive text etc www.inclusive.co.uk

  • Clicker. Text help with images www.cricksoft.co.uk

    Using Clicker 5

  • Widgit. Text help with images.www.widgit.com

  • PenFriend XP. Highlight the desired text and copy to clipboard. It is then read out. Word prediction appears in a floating window. Minus point - you have to take eyes off screen to see keyboard. Program learns from what is being typed (word frequency and patterns). In setup, uncheck 'learn new words'. (for dyslexics). Can add words to lexicon, but any docs have to be saved to .txt format (then add from file). Penfriend now integrates with the newClicker 5.2. www.penfriend.ltd.uk

    17/11/09 Note: The new version of Penfriend xl, text prediction software, now has letter phonics available when you use the speak letters feature. Few text to speech programs give you this option so it is useful to have the choice.

  • Tool Factory Reader.

    Screenshot of Tool Factory toolbar

    Features on the tool bar include Font, Spacing, Homophones, Spell Check and Settings. Homophones are words that are pronounced alike although they differ in spelling and meaning, for example, “pair” and “pear”. Tool Factory Reader will highlight homophones in the document by selecting the “Show Homophones” button, or alternatively have them highlighted as you type. Then by clicking “Check” the document will review all homophones, suggest alternative words, and provide the meanings of those words. This check feature provides a single button for use in Microsoft Word that combines a homophone dictionary, thesaurus and spellchecker, making the checking of your text and documents easier and more comprehensive. Text can be spell checked individually or as a whole of a document, also featuring over 1000 pictures to help visualize word meanings. More information about Tool Factory . . .

  • Free Homophone checking software

    tcpIQ Dictionary 1.1. This is freeware.

    The tcpIQ Dictionary is a free application that sits in your system tray monitoring clipboard. When you copy a piece of text into the clipboard, the dictionary opens up. Double clicking on the icon will take you to www.dictionary.com where the definition of the word will be displayed. It also features:

    a thesaurus
    spell check
    search the word using Google
    homophone look up
    anagram look up
    rhyming word look up
    search the quotations database and
    search the encyclopedia
    its freeware
    ...and it can be set to run automatically on start up.

    Goto website address http://wareseeker.com/free-homophones/ and scroll down the page.
    Grammarian Pro X 1.8.2. This shareware.

    Grammarian PRO X reads through your text and analyzes each sentence for potential spelling, grammar, and punctuation problems. Has much more spelling and grammar checking power than the limited checkers in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Office. Has over 200 built-in spelling and grammar writing rules compared to MS Office s 26 error corrections. Checks a large number of homophones--words that sound the same but are spelled differently such as its for its, accept for except, loose for lose, to for too and two, and many more.

    Goto website address http://wareseeker.com/free-homophones/ and scroll down the page.

  • Free toolbar, which overrides the page settings for font size and colour. Very effective and easy to use. www.techdis.ac.uk

    Jisc Techdis toolbar

  • Curser help. Find the curser. Follow.exe is no longer available. Alternative is Mouse&Caret. www.ahf-net.com/Mcbuddy.htm

  • AlphaSmart Neo. A portable word processor. Just type in the text (disregard spelling), connect to laptop with Word running in the background. NeoSmart transfers text into Word, which converts (spell checks) on the fly - but autocorrect needs to be set up first. AlphaSmart Neo

    AlphaSmart Neo2The new AlphaSmart Neo 2

    1. Wireless Printing. NEO 2's built-in 802.15 wireless connectivity can be used to allow it to print wirelessly. This can include network printers.

    2. Responder. NEO 2 has the functionality of the Classroom Response System (CRS) built into it. Essentially, the teacher can pose a question to the class and the students can respond on their Alphasmart Neos. The results are returned to the teacher’s PC and these can be shown in a graph using the 2Know

    3. More Memory. NEO 2 has twice the 'Flash' memory of NEO 1. This allows for twice as much room for additional applications, such as the Accelerated Reader quiz-taker, and the Responder applications.

    4. Accelerated Reader. Using the Accelerated Reader SmartApplet allows a NEO 2 to be used to take Renaissance Learning's Accelerated Reader quizzes.
    Text and image source: AlphaSmart UK

    AlphaSmart Dana and AlphaSmart 3000. A teacher commented: "When I showed the AlphaSmart 3000 to three children, between ages 8 and 12, each of them was completely familiar with it, and began using it immediately. "I only have to remember which number computer I used and which number button to press," said eight-year-old Joshua Atwater. As they each quickly composed documents of their whimsy, it became clear to me that the AlphaSmart concept has merit in the education field, offering a simple solution for beginning computer users". (Source: Pencomputing) .

    The Alphasmart Neo and what it can do:

    Useful Alphasmart case study (Source:CENMAC)

    The Neo2 now comes with text to speech.

    screenshot of Neo2 text to speech bundle

    More information about Neo2 and Text2Speech . . .

  • OmniPage Lite is a very basic scanner. Kurzweil 3000 is also very good. OmniPage Pro

Using the Kurzweil 3000

Using Kurzweil 1000

Text to Speech Resources

  • Converting text to speech. www.digitalfuturesoft.com

  • Dasher is a unique interface to predict text to aid spelling.

    Dasher demonstration

  • DSpeech. Free software. You can copy and paste text into DSpeech and it will read it out. Can also save as a .wav or .MP3 audio file.

  • Dolphin Easy Converter. It quickly creates Large Print, MP3, DAISY and Braille versions of learning materials that can either be scanned from paper, or input from Word, PDF, HTML, Nimas, Kesi, DAISY Xml, text or image files.

    Creating a digital talking book

    Create multiple formats from one file

    More about Easy Converter . . .

  • Spoken Text. Free Online text to audio converter. Record PDF, Word, plain text, PowerPoint files, ,RSS news feeds, emails and web pages, and convert them to speech automatically. Download your recording as an iPod book or mp3 file. And every member gets a personal podcast URL , which you can use to download recordings to iTunes or your iPod. More about Spoken Text . . .

  • ReadEasy by VisualEyes. A simple to use reading machine. Place a printed document on top and it is immediately read out loud. www.visualeyesuk.com

  • Screen Readers

  • TextAssist 4.0 is an application that converts text into speech. It can be used to read email messages and text documents, recite poetry, sing songs and make Internet chat rooms come alive. TextAssist is apparently easy to operate and requires a minimum amount of set-up. Simply highlight the text. TextAssist is fully customisable, offering several different voices that can be modified in pitch, volume, and speed. Individual voices can be tailored to the user's specifications and associated with targeted applications. Works with any Windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000/XP application that features text-editing: word processors, email programs, web browsers and newsgroup readers, etc. www.mindmaker.com/

  • Using OCR text recognition to convert text to speech. www.visionconnection.org/

  • ReadPlease. Free text to speech software. www.readplease.com

  • TypeSpeak enables the higher-functioning user to participate in real-time conversation, by writing and speaking the message directly from the device, through an on-screen soft keyboard (colour-coded for ease of use), or via the user's own cursive, or block-capital, handwriting recognition. Advanced features also provide design and selection for word and next letter prediction, a message gallery, etc. Also TextSpeak Mobile. www.touchspeak.co.uk

  • Converting mobile phone text to speech. www.nuance.co.uk

  • AllWrite is a basic word processor with many special features to make it suitable for people with different special needs, especially dyslexia, visual impairment and cognitive difficulties. AllWrite has all the essential word processing tools, including text formatting, inserting pictures and spell checking, but none of the complexity of a large word processing program. You can select which tools are available for each user as well as the appearance of the program. www.smartboxat.com/allwrite

  • BrowsealoudBrowseAloud. Reads web pages aloud. For people who find it difficult to read online. Reading large amounts of text on screen can be difficult for those with literacy and visual impairments. Free to download. It will only read pages which have been 'Browsealoud' configured by the website owners. Browsealoud makes using the Internet easier for people who have:

    Low literacy and reading skills
    English as a second language
    Mild visual impairments

    The video is in dutch but the principal is the same

  • WriteOnline. New online word processor from Crick Software with speech output, word prediction and word bank support.

    Screenshot of WriteOnline

    • Document defaults – open a new document and have it start with your preferred font style, size and line spacing
    • On screen keyboard grid – so non- keyboard users can access the programme
    • Switch access options – the software can now be controlled by owners of a Crick USB switch box and a switch
    • Visual impairment – options to improve display access

  • Scan and Read Software. No screen reader required. Easy to use with spoken help and installation. www.portset.co.uk

  • ZoomText 9.0 is a magnification program with speech. The new xFontNeoSpeech reads out aloud applications and documents. The magnification displays high-definition text. The new UK supplier is www.sightandsound.co.uk/ and www.aisquared.com

  • Iansyst has launched new software called CapturaTalk. Designed to help dyslexics and partially sighted people anywhere. It is claimed to be the UK's first mobile phone software that converts text to speech from a digital photo. It enables user to take a photo of text which is then scanned by CapturaTalk.Other electronic gadgets to help with Dyslexia - www.iansyst.co.uk

    It recognises the text and then reads the information out loud.

  • NaturalReader. A free Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAVMore about NaturalReader . . . for your CD player or iPod.

  • Let Me Type. Free word prediction software.

    screenshot of Let me type software

    Read more about Let Me Type at Scottish-RSC
Software dictionaries and thesauri.

  • Examples: MS Word, Spellcatcher
Software dictionaries contain definitions of words and also help the user to avoid making mistakes by alerting them to spelling errors. Features can include spellchecking, word suggestion, word prediction, homophone support(where similar sounding words are flagged). A software thesaurus is a useful tool and increases the available word choices by providing a list of relevant words. A software dictionary or software thesaurus can be standalone or part of common software such as MSWord or part of a specialised reading and writing program.

Speaking Dictionary and Thesaurus

A speaking dictionary and thesaurus is useful to those with a learning difficulty and to anybody prone to spelling errors. It will give definitions and synonyms of words entered on a small keyboard, and reads them back.

A useful feature is that it can recognize when a misspelling is entered and will suggest the correct word.

Example: The misspelling Theater will result in the list of suggested words headed by Theatre.

A speaking dictionaryAnother speaking dictionaryAnother speaking dictionary