Posts Tagged ‘AT for Writing’

More Intellitools Resources

Here are some training resources for Intellitools Classroom Suite

Intellitools Student Activity Checklist

Intellitools Reading Tutor Scope and Sequence

CS4 Training Resources

Scanning Access for Switch Users

Quick Tips for Early Learning Activities

ICS Activity resource list  (previously posted)

Enjoy creating with Intellitools!



Text to Speech Software for Home Use

Text to Speech Software for Home Use

The question of software that supports students with learning disabilities often arises. Standard choices of text to speech or scan and read software applications for purchase include (but not limited to):

Kurzweil 3000

Read & Write


Each of these applications have slightly different tools available within the software, provide different interfaces as well as have different costs. Follow the links of the software for more information for more information on the differences of each of the programs.

Free or Inexpensive Text to Speech Software for Home Use:

Other text to speech software application choices  that  are free or low cost include:

MyStudyBar –   This software can be down loaded to a jump drive for portable use. Text to speech, talking dictionary, word prediction are a few of the tools available in this free software.

Natural Reader – Provides text to speech and can convert text to MP3 files to listen to audio stories.

A low cost text to speech option is:

Text Aloud 3 – A text to speech application that will work with documents, Internet and email. It also supports converting text to MP3.

Many choices are available to allow individual access to print when reading is a barrier. You will find additional text to speech choices by searching the Internet for “Text to Speech” programs.


Favorite iPad/iPod Apps

There are many, many resources for great apps for the iPad and iPod, but sifting through them for individual student needs and trialing them takes time. In the search for apps that are motivating for students but also meet their IEP needs in the area of  early writing development, a few favorites have emerged. Here are a few of my favorite apps:

iWrite Words

iWrite Words

iWrite Words

Focused on phonetic awareness, letter formation, letter  and word recognition, this app has a beautiful interface, is interactive and provide explicit instruction on the sequence of letter formation. Numbers guide the student in the correct motor sequence to form the letter. When the  letter is completely written it generates a floating  letter that isto be flung away at the bottom of the screen before another letter to be worked on is generated. Very interactive!

iWrite Words

It is a favorite of staff for its instructional qualities but more importantly a favorite of students.

Alphabet Tracing

Alphabet Tracing is a free app that also supports letter and number formation using a moving train moving in the direction of correct letter or number production.


Alphabet Tracing


Alphabet Tracing

Early childhood as well as kindergarten students were motivated to create letters using this app on an iPad. The visual sequence provided, along with its interactive – hands on practice helped students  recall the appropriate sequence to form a letter. Providing them auditory cues to the sequence further reinforced appropriate skill development.

ABC Pocket Phonics 


ABC PocketPhonics


Another favorite, ABC Pocket Phonics provides phonics development, letter formation and word games. It is interactive and motivates  students who are learning early literacy skills.

ABC PocketPhonics

Both ABC PocketPhonics and iWriteWords are available in lite versions  meaning they are free,  partial versions of the software allowing trial to determine if they provide the type of intervention needed.

The iPad and iPod provide so many wonderful apps for learning!



Where was PaperRater when I was in college? Could editing your writing be any easier than this? And it’s free?

PaperRater is a free  (yes its true for the time being)  grammar and spell checking tool that also will help you with proof reading and editing your writing. It is recommended for secondary and post secondary level students to help improve their writing. Created by grad students and linguistic professionals, the goal of PaperRater  is to proofreader services  for written composition.

PaperRater is simple to use.

1.  Copy your text and paste it into the PaperRater “Analyze Your Paper” field.



2. Select your educational level and type of paper you are submitting

3. Agree to the terms of services.

4. Click on the Get Report button

5. Proof reading suggestions are provided on  spelling, grammar andthe style of your writing.

PaperRater Analyzer

Although this may make your instructor cringe, for writers needing assistance, whether students, employees or for daily functional computer based tasks, I think this is a fabulous editing tool! Also instructor should know that this tool will detect plagarism.

Why not use a tool that will help you be a better writer?? Check it out yourself the next time you are sending an email, writing a proposal or a research paper!


AT for Writing

 Assistive Technology for writing is probably one of my favorite subjects as an Occupational Therapist and Assistive Technology Specialist. In an effort to be green I am posting a slide show on AT for Struggling Writers for a class that I will be presenting on the topic. Although not inclusive, there are many resources about AT writing tools.

AT for Struggling Writers

AT for struggling Writers 11-20-10

AT Quester

Spell Checking Tools for Struggling Writers

Spell Checking Tools

During a recent teacher training session on Read & Write Gold,  I was asked about resources for a student with strong reading and writing skills but significant spelling challenges. Spelling challenges don’t only exist for our special needs students but also can be a barrier for typical learners.  

There are many scan  and read programs which provide phonetic spelling support,  text to speech and word prediction tools that can support the writer with spelling challenges. They may be available at school but not at home so I am offering a few resources both those available for purchase, for free as well as some amazing Web 2.0 services dedicated specifically for spelling support.   If a student specifically needs just spelling issues check out the Web 2.0 resources below to see if they will support the writer.

The lists below are  by all means  not inclusive of all the resources available but are a compilation of some  resources I am familiar with to support spelling challenges. If you have additional resources please share!

Scan and Read Software

Scan and read programs provide many tools including  phonetic spell checking, text to speech and word prediction options. Some of them also offer organization help when writing. Here are a few software options:

Free talking spell checking and/or word prediction software:

  • WordTalk (addin for Microsoft Word)
  • MyStudy Bar (several separate applications to support writing)

Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.o tools to support spelling:

  • – Phonetic spell checking  support by copying and pasting your text into web based program. Ginger also provides grammar assistance. Trial available on line. This is a phenomenal tool for the most challenged spelling!
  • – Another online phonetic based spell checker.addin for Word.  Advertises free for school districts. 

Voice Recognition Software

Of course if you want to by pass the need to spell entirely there is always voice recognition software. Dragon NaturallySpeaking just is the premier program of choice in my opinion.

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking
  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking for iPhone, iPod touch or iPad are also free, and amazing for their cloud based voice recognition abilities!

Dedicated word prediction programs also can aid spelling but are  not been mentioned here as they are worthy of a whole other post!

Helpful Spell Checking Strategy:

A great article by Tamarah Ashton  defines a helpful and easy spell checking strategy when using electronic spell checkers or word processing. Instituting a  Spell CHECKing strategy is a great and easy strategy  for all students to know. Check it out from ldonline and include it in your writing strategy tool box:

Making Spell Checking Work in the Inclusive Classroom: A Spell CHECKing Strategy for Students with Learning Disabilities

Happy Spelling ! If you have any other spell checking resources or strategies please share!


Intellitools Classroom Suite

In preparation for an Intellitools Classroom Suite Course I located several resources of free Intellitools activites on the Internet for students of all ages and skill level. Listed below are the resources and their links:

  1. Connective Technology Solutions: 
  2. Intellitools Activity Exchange (free; requires membership sign-up) : 
  3. Learning Magic – Free created Intellitools activities created: 
  4. Ann Brundige resources: 
  5. SET BC:
  6. Region2 Library of Curriculum Activities:

Intellitools has many templates and activities available on their activity exchange however, check out the  other listed resources also!