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Literacy made easier

Free tool makes everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate

Teaching and Learning

By Elizabeth Furey

Memorial now has a free literacy tool that supports a variety of learners.

Read&Write is a literacy program that offers support for a variety of learners, including those with learning disabilities and those learning English as a second language, as well as anyone who just needs some extra help with reading and writing.

Two students sit on Signal Hill Campus stairs with a book and a laptop. A large screen is in the background, in front of a large window.
Read&Write makes a lot of everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate.
Photo: David Howells

Thanks to a federal government grant procured by the Blundon Centre (Accessibility Services), in partnership with the Office of Development and Information Technology Services, the program is available now, for free, to every Memorial student.

“We are very happy to offer this tool to all students,” said Dr. Jennifer Browne, director of Student Life.

“The Blundon Centre ensures, among other things, that all students receive an accessible, positive and equitable learning experience while studying at Memorial, and Read&Write is one such tool that provides these supports.”

Read&Write is used by education institutions and workplaces around the globe to assist with literacy. Some features include a grammar and spelling checker, a text-to-speech converter and a transcription function.

“It is our goal to get assistive technologies in the hands of all students, regardless of disability status.” — Dr. Jennifer Browne

The easy-to-use toolbar makes documents, files and web pages more accessible, and its friendly literacy features are helpful to English language learners, as well as people with learning difficulties or requiring specific accessibility tools.

From hearing emails or documents read out loud to text prediction, picture dictionaries, summary highlighters and a grammar, spelling and “confuse-able” word checker, Read&Write makes a lot of everyday literacy tasks simpler, quicker and more accurate.

‘Greater accessibility’

“It is our goal to get assistive technologies in the hands of all students, regardless of disability status,” said Dr. Browne.

“Read&Write is an excellent resource that will allow greater accessibility of curricula for all learners, and lets them read, write and express themselves more confidently and independently.”

Read&Write is available as an online browser extension, or a standalone app for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and is available for all students to download and use via the “Students” tab of my.mun.ca.

Students simply need to register with their Memorial email address to access Read&Write for no cost.

The program joins a suite of other assistive technologies offered through the various accessibility co-ordinating centres on Memorial campuses. There is even a quick video tutorial on how to download Read&Write.

“The centre is always looking to keep up with the demand for assistive technology and supportive software, based on a student’s unique communication needs,” said Dr. Browne. “Read&Write can be a huge support for anyone who needs a little support with their reading and writing, at school or in the workplace.”

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