Dyslexia Box Blog
TextHelp Read&Write Review 0
TextHelp’s Read&Write software is a literacy support tool designed to make the web, files and everyday documents you have on your computer more accessible. At Dyslexia Box we see it being especially useful for anyone with a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or a visual impairment and anyone learning English or learning English as a second language.
Read&Write is a toolbar which sits on top of the programs you are using on your computer, tablet or smartphone. So whether you’re writing a document in Microsoft Word, composing an email in Apple Mail or browsing the internet with Google Chrome, it sits discreetly at the top of the screen, ready for you to use any of its features.
What does it do?
Although Read&Write is primarily known as a screen reader, it’s packed full of other features such as a comprehensive and easy-to-use spellchecker (with pictures to guide the user), text prediction, learning and understanding unfamiliar words, coloured screen overlays, summary highlighters, proof-reader and lots more. It’s also approved by the UK governing bodies to be used in GCSE and A Level exams.
Who is it for?
Read&Write isn’t age specific. It’s been built in such a way that people of all ages can get to grips with it in minutes and it will become a part of everyday life. At Dyslexia Box we’re familiar with users in infant school as young as five and six who have began using Read&Write shortly after using a computer for the first time. At the other end of the scale we know office workers in their sixties who struggle to read their computer screen and use the text reading function to have their emails read aloud to them.
The latest version of Read&Write is certainly the most accessible as far as using it across multiple devices and cross-platform. So often now people are using Windows computers at school, university or work and then coming home and using a Mac or a Chromebook. Now that’s not a problem. If you own a Read&Write licence, you can use it on any of your devices, no matter if it was made by Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Sergey Brin. So if you use a Mac at school/work and then get home and use a Windows or Apple tablet, no problem, Read&Write will will work on all of them.
Read&Write is used by millions of people all around the world (Over 8.5 million at the last count!). It helps people through their younger school years, through university (we’ve lost count the amount of times people have told us they wouldn’t have got through university without it!), understanding what their boss is asking them in an email at work (apparently that’s important too!) and lots of other areas of life. Along with Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking, it’s the most widely recognised piece of assistive technology software in the world and there’s a reason for that. Read&Write is the benchmark of literacy support software and it has been for many years. The latest cross-platform licensing developments only make it even better. We don’t rate assistive technology software out of 10 but if we did, this would get full marks.
To buy Read&Write today, click here.
C-Pen Reader 0
The C-Pen Reader arrived at the Dyslexia Box office this morning. It’s a product we’ve been aware of for a while and one which is predominantly thought of as a tool for helping younger learners who struggle with reading. And it is great at that. At Dyslexia Box we also see the C-Pen Reader as being a useful tool to help individuals in the workplace - in fact we know many people who use it daily in their working lives. If most of your work is done at a computer, there are some great text-to-speech programmes available (ClaroRead and Read&Write for example) but not everyone uses a computer at work - and sometimes assistive technology can forget these people. The C-Pen Reader is a truly accessible text reader for use on a building site, in a supermarket, in meetings, exhibitions, or even reading a newspaper in a cafe.
Here are some of the C-Pen Readers’ keys features:
- Excellent text-to-speech function - have any text read aloud by what is the clearest speech engine on the market.
- OCR (Optical Character Recognition) Engine - scan text which is saved onto the pen top be saved onto a computer later.
- Collins English Dictionary with definitions which can be read aloud.
- Portable and lightweight (it’s half the size of other scanning pens).
- It’s discreet - The C-Pen Reader comes with a pair of earphones which means that if you are having text read out aloud, those around don’t need to know.
The C-Pen Reader is a great piece of technology which makes text accessible for people of all ages.
Livescribe Echo Smartpen 0
The Livescribe Echo smartpen has been around for a few years now but as they say “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. The team at Dyslexia Box have been using the Echo Smartpen to record important meetings (yes we occasionally have those) over the past few years and we love it. In what can sometimes feel like a marketplace overloaded with products which often do the same thing, the Livescribe Echo Smartpen is unique and still retains a its “wow-factor”. I’ll talk about all the great note-taking features in a minute, but first, and most importantly, here’s how to use your Echo Smartpen to play the piano:
If you are using your Livescribe Smartpen in the workplace we would advise keeping the piano playing to a minimum. From experience, once in the morning and all through lunchtime seems to work best.
If you’d like to send your own Livescribe Echo Smartpen piano videos to firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll post the best ones here on the site.
Once you’ve finished playing around with the piano feature, you may want to start using the Echo Smartpen for what it was intended for: a unique note-taking device.
Here are some of the Livescribe Echo Smartpen’s best features:
- Record the audio from your meeting/conversation, making notes as you go, and by tapping your Echo Smartpen on a specific note, the Smartpen will start playing aloud the audio from that moment. Ever sat through a boring meeting where for the first two hours all everyone’s going on about is nonsense (everyone has) and then all of a sudden someone says something interesting and you make of note of it? Well with the Livescribe Echo Smartpen you can cut through the nonsense and only play back the interesting moments, just by touching your Smartpen on the note you made. Sounds simple? It really is.
- Transfer all of your notes and audio onto your computer (with the USB cable included in the box) with Livescribe Desktop software (also there in the box) to manage all of your notes and audio in a really simple way. Need to find those notes you made from that meeting you had about the possible extinction of jellyfish in the British Isles in 1965? They’re right there; all you have to do is type “jellyfish” into the search box (legal exclaimer: Livescribe’s technology hadn’t actually been invented in 1965 and you’ll pleased to know that jellyfish have since thrived in these here waters).
- Share notes and audio uploaded on your Livescribe Desktop software as a PDF or audio file. This is really useful to get notes over to someone who hasn’t made any or couldn’t make the meeting. You can even send them the whole audio of the meeting (no longer can your colleagues use the excuse, “Sorry, I wasn’t in the meeting”).
We love the Livescribe Echo Smartpen at Dyslexia Box, as it makes note-taking truly accessible for everyone.