at for writing

Assistive Technology for Writing

Most of our kids struggle with spelling so much that they can’t complete grade level work on their own and never pass a writing assignment. These programs help with spelling and speeding up writing so that our students can become independent.

Programs

Read & Write Extension:

Student sign into Google and open a Google doc for writing. Google docs is already great for students because it automatically saves their work , which can keep them from losing it.

Read & Write has a lot of great features:

  • Text prediction: Students type in a letter and list of up to 10 words pops up. After they choose a word, a list of ten more words will pop up that they might want.
  • Picture dictionary: If students don’t know what a word i,s they can click on it and it shows them clip art pictures.
  • Play back: If they click the play button, the program will read back to them what they wrote.
  • Dictation: If they talk into the mike, it will type what they said. This is the same program that Android phones use and it understands kids’ voices pretty well.

Co-Writer:

  • Co-Writer is an iPad app that has the text prediction features and play back features of TextHelp. Students can choose whether it reads every words or sentence to them as they type—or if it only reads words to them when they ask. The word suggestions pop up on the bottom of the screen. If they tap a word, it inserts it into the document. If they swipe across a word it will read it. That feature alone really improves students’ reading as they get used to matching how a word looks with how it sounds.
  • If a student is writing a report on dinosaurs a teacher can turn on a “dinosaurs” dictionary and suddenly when a kid types br the word “brontosaurus” will pop up instead of “brave.”
  • On the newer iPads it also has a good dictation feature.
  • The big disadvantage is that it is hard to do formatting on the app. You have to do your writing there and then copy/paste the writing into another program likes Pages to do formatting. Also, the computer version of Co-Writer doesn’t seem to work well with newer computers—unless they have done some major updates recently.

Spelling Dictation:

  • This is an app on the iPads that allows kids to say a word and see how it is spelled. Very helpful for students who want to write in their notebooks. A lot of writers struggle with sounding out words on Co-Writer and just want to dictate the hardest words. This is probably the most used writing app in my room.

Dragon Dictation:

  • Unless you have the rare child with perfect enunciation avoid this and most dictation apps. They just frustrate the kids. Lots of kids mumble or speak softly and most dictation apps can’t handle that.