Texthelp Systems, Inc., has announced that it is shipping a new version of its Read&Write GOLD literacy support software program. Read&Write 8.0 GOLD features new mind-mapping functionality, improved navigation, and simplified installation processes for both single users and network administrators. It was developed following 12 months of end user feedback and research.
Read&Write 8.0 GOLD is a literacy productivity tool designed for struggling students in grades 3 and up to help them access curriculum content on a computer and complete reading, writing, and research assignments independently.
Read&Write 8.0 GOLD now appears as a toolbar that floats on top of any mainstream Windows application that meets accessibility criteria. For example, students writing a book report in Microsoft Word software can use the Read&Write 8.0 GOLD toolbar to click on any of 19 literacy support features for immediate assistance as they work on their assignment. The program is designed to allow students with low reading proficiency to work independently, in an inclusive manner alongside their peers in the classroom.
All icons within Read&Write 8.0 GOLD have been modified for ease of use. A fully accessible Fact Mapper feature helps students brainstorm and organize their ideas. It allows them to create graphic organizers to manage and categorize their thoughts, showing how ideas and thought-flow are connected.
The program also includes a new version of Texthelp's PDFaloud program with hover highlighting to enable students to hear any text within a PDF read aloud with synchronous highlighting onscreen.
The program now features a more intelligent installation process that can detect whether a previous version is on the computer and will uninstall it before it installs the new one. The customizable toolbar is now larger for ease of use. Students can customize it themselves as usual, but they can also choose from three new toolbars that are pre-customized by task for reading, writing, and research.
The Word Prediction tool's data file has been improved for more accurate word predictions. The program now features Web highlighting. The original Speechmaker has been replaced with a new SAPI 5 compatible Speechmaker, so that the voices are the most human-sounding and realistic ones available, the announcement states. The new Speechmaker creates files faster and can convert greater volumes of text. It also has a new SAPI 5 compatible version of the Pronunciation Tutor tool, using the default voices "Emily" or "U.S. Jill."
An improved Daisy Reader application provides high-quality speech integration. The program includes an all-new Fact Folder. The Scanning tool was upgraded to include multi-page scanning. To address students' individual preferences, the Read&Write Toolbar can now be docked on the left and right as well as at the top of the screen. Also, the Word Wizard, Speech Maker, Daisy Reader, and Pronunciation Tutor are now all available as buttons on the toolbar as well as menu options.
The Teachers Toolkit has been improved to make upgrades easier so that settings are retained. It also allows word pronunciation to be centrally controlled by the teacher.
Read&Write 8.0 GOLD is available now as a Windows CD-ROM. The suggested price for a single version of the program is $645. The starting price for a school network site license is $4,495. Texthelp also offers a similar Read&Write Gold for Mac program for Macintosh users.
Source: Texthelp Systems, Inc., http://www.texthelp.com