We have found several software programs that you can use
with students with differing abilities in your classroom. They all contribute
to writing skill development by including elements of speech output. This allows
students to hear the computer read aloud what they write. They are fun for kids
since they also use pictures, drawing utilities, animated words and other visual
enhancements to help students write.
As literacy development includes writing,
reading, speaking and listening, speech input and output clearly enhances the
quality of learning. Some programs include a microphone allowing children to input
their own voices for storytelling and sound effects.
A student can combine the words he knows with new words and
pictures for a more interesting story. Branching features expand its use. (Mac/Win)
Hearing the sentence read aloud encourages a student to select a picture
to complete it. (Mac/Win)
Writing with Symbols
Several program not only offer text-to-speech features but, like
the ones above, promote writing by including symbols and text together:
with Symbols 2000 (Mayer- Johnson)
Using a computer and an
Internet connection, children can practice writing and communication skills and
acquaint with other students as email penpals. Several websites help to connect
children and support their use of this new medium.
site connects kids with special needs on email for friendship and support.
More than 60,000 classroom profiles bring people in 191 countries
together as cross-cultural learning partners and friends. Meet and correspond
with international students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, schools, teachers,
keypals and pen pals.
Club This club helps students connect with students. There are over
25,000 registered users from 76 countries.
Email Help There are several
products available that assist students with disabilities with creating and reading
email messages among other supports.
Mail This software offers voice messages (MP3) as well as TTS (text to
speech) options for students. The TTS features also includes translation from
Can Email (R J Cooper) Designed for students with cognitive, visual, and/or
physical challenges. In addition to reading any email message, it guides the user
through the email process asking one question at a time, such as "Who would
you like to send this to?"