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Reading

Table of Contents

Software

 

 

 

 

Program Title

Publisher

Rating

Instructional Area

Operating System

Ace Reader

Stepware Inc.

3.9

Speed Reading

Windows

Macintosh

Building Vocabulary Queue 2.2 Vocabulary

CD Rom

Macintosh

Reading Plus, Version 2.5.1.

Taylor Associates

3.3

Reading

Windows

New Brunswick Comm. College

New Brunswick Community College

3.3

Math/Reading/Writing/Social Studies/Science/Language

Windows

WTNN Wizard

Freedom Scientific

2.5

Reading/Spelling

Windows

GEDonline

Diversfield Comp. Ser.

1.9

Science/Writing/ Reading/ Social Studies and Math

Windows

GED 2002 Teaching Strategies

Steck-Vaughn

4

Social Studies/Science

Writing/Reading/Math

Windows

Macintosh

Plato

Plato Learning Inc.

2.9

Reading/Writing/Math/

Social Studies/ESL

Windows

The World of Words

Houghton Mifflin

3

Vocabulary

Windows

Get a Clue: Junior Mastery

Sunburst

3.1

Reading

Windows

HEC Reading Horizons

HEC Software

3.6

Reading

Windows

Macintosh

Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself

HEC Reading Horizons

3.7

Language

Windows

Inspiration

Inspiration Software

4

Reading/Science/Social Studies

Windows

PLATO

PLATO Learning, Inc.

3.3

Reading

Windows

Scan & Read Lite

Premier Programming Solutions

4

Reading

Windows

TextAloud MP3

NextUp.com

3.6

Reading

Windows

WordAloud

Cloudworld Ltd

3.5

Reading / ESL

Windows

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Internet Sites

 

 

 

 

Program Title

Publisher

Rating

Instructional Area

Operating System

Skills Tutor

Achievement Tech.

1.3

Reading

Internet

SetGame

http://setgame.com

 

Set Enterprise

3.3

Math/ Spelling/

Vocabulary

Internet

Plato on-line

Plato Learning Inc.

3.1

Reading/Writing/Math/Social Studies/ESL

Internet

Newsweek Education Program

Newsweek

4

Reading/Social Studies

Internet

TV411

Adult Literacy Media Alliance

2.8

Reading

Internet

Natural History Museum Dino Dir.

The Natural Museum

4

Science/Reading

Internet

EBSCOlearn

EBSCO

Publishing

3.3

Science/Reading/Social Studies

Internet

Long Term Ecological Research

Susan Crowles

4

Science /Reading

Internet

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Program Title

Ace Reader

Publisher

Stepware, Inc.

Subject

Speed Reading (ESL reading, non-native reading)

Level

Low ABE- GED

Program Features

Save, Download, Drills, Bookmarks, Multi-Levels, Diagnostic Reading Tests

Computer Requirements

Windows 95/98 2000/XP OS Support, Macintosh OS support

Price

$566 for 10 computers

Overall Rating

3.9  Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale

 (scale 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good  and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of Loading Software

4

Affordability

3.5

Content

4

Age Appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

3.9

 

Description of Content:    ACE Reader calls itself, "a productivity and self-improvement reading tool."  It is a multi-level speed reading computer program that can also help ESL students, dyslexic learners and the visually impaired.  This is accomplished with diagnostic tests, comprehension tests, eye games, adjustable speed, various colors of text and adjustable size of text.  The Deluxe Network package is designed for reading labs where students do not need to sit in front of the same computer for each session.

 

Navigation and Structure:  ACE Reader encourages a spirit of "play" and "adventure."  Therefore, the navigation is easy and fun.  A student can exit at any point of the program.  Feedback is immediate and useful.

 

Instructional Applications:  Use ACE Reader as an entire Speed Reading Course (1 credit hour) for college students.  Use ACE Reader as a supplement for ESL students and/or non-native college students in a non-native reading class.  It could be interesting to use ACE Reader with students who are diagnosed with dyslexia and/or visual impairments.  ACE Reader could also be used to help GED students with comprehension.  

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Program Title

Building Vocabulary Skills

Publisher

Queue

Subject

Vocabulary

Level

GED Level

Program features

Practice Vocabulary Computerized Tests

Computer Requirements

CD rom drive; Macintosh system 7.5 or higher

Price

$45; Lab pack of 5:  $135; Network:  $225

Overall Rating

2.2  Fair

 Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent) 

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

3

Content

2

Age appropriate

2

Sound

0

Average

2.2

 

Description of Content:    This program is designed to improve vocabulary skills and help students on standardized exams with vocabulary components.  It offers analogies, homonyms, antonyms, and synonyms.  The program reviews over 1,000 words and offers lessons on the fifty most frequently encountered prefixes and suffixes.  It also has a section on spelling. 

Navigation and Structure:    This is an older program so it is slow but fairly easy to navigate from one menu to the next.   There is a report menu that students can access at any time to see how many correct they have and how much time they’ve spent on the program; however, there is no records management system on which to save scores.  There is a help menu available at all times and students can exit at any time.  Since this is an older program it does not have sound or graphics, so word pronunciation is not available. 

Instructional Applications:    This program is suitable for students studying for NLN, ACT, SAT, or other tests which have a vocabulary component.  Though it has instructional parts, the level of reading is high school level so it would not be suitable for low-level readers.  Its most suitable application would be as a supplementary drill and practice for those needing a review of vocabulary skills for a standardized test.  The spelling component could be a supplement for a variety of students needing spelling rules review.  Because this program does not offer the graphic and sound extras, it may not appeal to students use to this type of presentation. 

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Program Title

Plato - Online

Publisher

Plato Learning Inc. www.plato.com

Subject

Read, Write, Math, Social Studies, Life/Career, ESL

Level

Low ABE- College Prep.

Program features

Audio, Management system, Print rec, password, customize

Computer Requirements

Internet Access, Win 95/98/00, CD-ROM

Price

$300/per access computer, per year – existing customers

Overall Rating

3.1  Good

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

2

Average

3.1

 

Description of Content:   This program is designed the same as the Plato stand-alone and network systems, except you access the program through the Internet.  The software is designed to improve the knowledge and grade levels of students from K – Adult.  It covers a wide variety of subjects from ESL, Language, Math and Reading, to Social Studies, Science, Calculus, and Life and Career skills.  The program is knowledgeable and easy to read and use for the student.  There are tutorial sections that explain and apply basic concepts in addition to mastery tests.  If mastery tests are not passed, a new set of tutorial and mastery test questions are provided.

 

Navigation and Structure: The structure is fairly easy for the learner to navigate.  Assignments are chosen by the instructor and can be assigned as a class or individually.  Students would go through programs as they would regular Plato tutorial applications and mastery tests.  There is a status legend that lets students know if they have completed a section or if they have been locked out of a mastery test until they take the tutorial again.  The status legend also lets a student know if they have started a program or mastered it.  The status is located next to the assignments and is represented by an empty circle (not started), a half filled circle (in progress), a full circle (completed), a gold star (mastered), and a red lock (locked).

    The management system is the same as for regular Plato. It is quite entailed and requires some study to implement. The reports show current use, time on task, grades, and mastery levels. Programs can be designed based on TABE (and other) conversion scores to provide individualized study.

 

Instructional Applications:   This program can be used as a supplement for class instruction and is ideal for main study in a lab situation.  A program can be designed for each individual based on needs.  This is especially useful to an instructor with students at varying levels of proficiency.  This program is very conducive with students who prefer to use the computer.  This courseware will align with several standardized tests (i.e. TABE & others) so individual plans can be developed.

 

Notes of concern:

The beginning English curriculum has some assignments that are bothersome to students because the talking section is slow and they cannot move easily to the next screen.

The Trigonometry curriculum is not ideal for self – instruction, but would be good combined with class instruction. 

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Program Title

Skills Tutor

Publisher

Achievement Technologies www.achievementtechnologies.com

Subject

Reading

Level

Intermediate ABE

Program features

Provides performance feedback for students.  Lists goals and objectives.  Assessment tests.

Computer Requirements

IE or Netscape Navigator Browser.

Price

$1500.00-$6000.00 PA for site license

Overall Rating

1.3  Poor

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

1

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

2

Content

1

Age appropriate

1

Sound

1

Average

1.3

 

Description of Content:    Course designed to help students pass standardized tests.  Course offerings include curriculum geared to ABE/GED students.  I found the course hard to navigate and have suspicion that our students would also need a lot of assistance in taking these courses. 

 

Navigation and Structure:    Navigation is much more difficult than it should be.  Students will need computing skills prior to using this application.

 

Instructional Applications:   Adult Education/self-paced

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Program Title

Building Vocabulary Skills

Publisher

Queue

Subject

Vocabulary

Level

GED Level

Program features

Practice Vocabulary Computerized Tests

Computer Requirements

CD rom drive; Macintosh system 7.5 or higher

Price

$45; Lab pack of 5:  $135; Network:  $225

Overall Rating

2.2  Fair

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

3

Content

2

Age appropriate

2

Sound

0

Average

2.2

 

Description of Content:   This program is designed to improve vocabulary skills and help students on standardized exams with vocabulary components.  It offers analogies, homonyms, antonyms, and synonyms.  The program reviews over 1,000 words and offers lessons on the fifty most frequently encountered prefixes and suffixes.  It also has a section on spelling.

 

Navigation and Structure:    This is an older program so it is slow but fairly easy to navigate from one menu to the next.   There is a report menu that students can access at any time to see how many correct they have and how much time they’ve spent on the program; however, there is no records management system on which to save scores.  There is a help menu available at all times and students can exit at any time.  Since this is an older program it does not have sound or graphics, so word pronunciation is not available.

 

Instructional Applications:    This program is suitable for students studying for NLN, ACT, SAT, or other tests which have a vocabulary component.  Though it has instructional parts, the level of reading is high school level so it would not be suitable for low-level readers.  Its most suitable application would be as a supplementary drill and practice for those needing a review of vocabulary skills for a standardized test.  The spelling component could be a supplement for a variety of students needing spelling rules review.  Because this program does not offer the graphic and sound extras, it may not appeal to students use to this type of presentation.  

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Program Title

GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course

Publisher

Steck-Vaughn  www.steck-vaughn.com

Subject

GED 2002  All Areas

Level

Low and High Adult GED

Program features

Visual – samples/charts

Auditory – video clips of experts giving advice

Kinesthetic-tactile – constant interaction with computer/tests and chat available

Computer Requirements

Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher Netscape is not supported
Windows 98 or higher
MacOS 9.0 or higher
Screen resolution 1024 X 768
266MHz or equivalent processor
16-bit Sound Card
Speakers or Headphones
Internet connection
Acrobat Reader 4.0 PDF Viewer
PC users: Windows Media Player
Mac users: QuickTime

Price

Subscription rate:

·         GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course - Unlimited Access for 90 days     $60

·         GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course - Unlimited Access for 180 days    $100

Overall Rating

4 excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

 

Description of Content:   Steck-Vaughn has created this 16-hour online course to provide GED educators with key information, resources and teaching strategies to help them teach and prepare their students for the GED 2002 series of tests.  It includes an overview of the GED Tests, an explanation of the reason for changes, the history of the GED, and the changes made for the GED 2002.  The course then elaborates on all five tests specifically.  Finally, a section on “Teaching Across Content Areas” concludes the course.
 

Navigation and Structure:    Steck-Vaughn provides a very user friendly, professional product that may be ordered online.  Once the fee is paid, a teacher is emailed a registration notification with a user name and password.  The teacher works through a series of clearly explained activities, which involve excellent samples, video clips, and printable worksheets.  At the end of each unit, the teacher takes an online test to assess understanding.  Links are accessible to explanations for those who may need review.  Scheduled chats are also available plus the ability to email questions and share ideas.  Sections exist for note-taking and scheduling assignments.  Finally, the program provides a list of sites for more information, materials, new ideas for lesson plans, and GED test preparation.  The Help Desk offers a live person answering the telephone or email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Questions answered by the Help Desk include technical questions about the software or about computers in general.

 

Instructional Applications:    This program is an excellent way to get ready to teach the GED 2002 whether one is a veteran GED teacher or a novice.  Teachers will find it a quick method for the following: Interpreting Visual Information; Decoding Edited American English; Demystifying Graphic Information; Teaching Higher Order Thinking Skills; Using the new 4-Point Essay Scoring Rubric.

 

Even though it is good if the teacher is comfortable with the Internet, the course is so professionally done that there is little room for confusion. The GED 2002 Teaching Strategies Online Course is a great way to review and assess one’s knowledge.

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Program Title

The World of Words

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin

Subject

Vocabulary

Level

Low Adult - GED

Program features

Create Tests

Computer Requirements

Pentium

56k modem
Windows 95, 98, 2000
Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher

At least 32 MB of RAM (964 MB recommended)

At least 60 MB of available hard disk space

SVGA Monitor at a screen resolution of 800 X 600

Price

Price varies, call 800-733-1717

Overall Rating

3   Good

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

3

Affordability

3

Content

3

Age appropriate

3

Sound

0

Average

3

 

Description of Content:    This software allows you to easily create and administer tests as well as assignments for your vocabulary class in conjunction with the book The World of Words by Rickek.

 

Navigation and Structure:    This software is relatively easy to navigate as it has a simplified screen design and an object-oriented approach. There is a test administrator that allows you to quickly tailor tests to your students’ individual needs, and there is a class administrator that allows you to organize your information into a spreadsheet.  It automatically tracks and saves each test, as well as user-created assignments.

 

Instructional Applications:    This site could be used with students who need to improve their overall vocabulary skills.   It would be good for to use in conjunction with the textbook and could be used to help students achieve mastery of necessary vocabulary. 

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Program Title

Get a Clue:  Junior Mastery

Publisher

Sunburst

Subject

Reading

Level

Low ABE - High Adult

Program features

Audio, graphic animation

Computer Requirements

Windows, 133 mHz processor, 12 MB Ram

Price

$99 single CD, $99.95 lab pack of 10 (special deal)

Overall Rating

3.1  Good

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

3

Affordability

4

Content

3

Age appropriate

2

Sound

4

Average

3.1

 

Description of Content:   This is a thorough 300-word program that requires students to apply etymology and higher order reasoning skills to develop an understanding of a word’s meaning.  Features the WATS (Words and Their Stories) System by studying the word in various ways:  derivation, application of prior knowledge, context clues, analogies, completion of a sentence with the word, and, finally, the definition.  There are three proficiency levels under 5 lesson categories:  Roots & Prefixes, Mythical & Historical Allusions, Words Commonly Confused, Foreign Words, and Strange & Unusual Words.  The student gets immediate feedback after each word in an eye-catching way with graphics and words describing their effort.  They may click on the word and have it pronounced at any time.  Though this program is advertised for grades 5-8 it is appropriate for adults, though some of the words seem above a 5th to 8th grade level.  The analogy section could be especially difficult for some students.

 

Navigation and Structure:    This program is fairly easy to load, access, and manage.  Students sign in and have a password and can get a performance report when any word is done or before starting up again.  Buttons show up on each screen to help navigate around the program.  There is a pre-diagnostic test that can be taken to place students at the correct level or they can just start at any level or category by selecting it.  There is also a post-mastery test when all words are completed.

 

Instructional Applications:   A teacher can assign words by category and level for a daily/weekly assignment and print off quizzes as mastery tests.  (Quizzes are available on the CD as supplementary PDF files.)  A student could also work independently in a self-paced study program and then be given mastery tests when ready.  This is a good vocabulary component for any classroom curriculum and is especially appealing to those learners who like graphics and sound.  For a GED student this would work not only on vocabulary, but also on the higher order thinking skills which are needed for the new GED test.

 

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Program title

WTNN Wizard

Publisher

Freedom Scientific

Subject

Reading, spelling

Level

Beginning ABE - High ABE

Program features

OCR, Synthesized speech

Computer Requirements

Win95 or better, 16Ram, 250 HD available, Soundblaster 16 or better

Price

Price varies, call  888-223-3344

Overall Rating

2.3   Fair

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

3

Affordability

 

Content

2

Age appropriate

0

Sound

3

Average

2.3

 

Description of Content:   Provides optical character recognition (OCR), the ability to scan a printed page and convert it into electronic text. Speech synthesis enables this scanned text to be read aloud. A special correction feature provides automatic correction of misrecognized word. WYNN Wizard permits two views of material: Exact View shows material exactly as scanned; Text View displays the text only to enable visual tailoring for individual use. The two views are linked and users may switch back and forth from one view to the other. WYNN Wizard can scan and read word processing, text files, and the Internet.

 

Ostensibly, a person could scan in any book or text, and have it read to them (via synthesized speech), but it requires pretty advanced technical savvy for someone who cannot read! 

 

Navigation and Structure:   Simple word processor – type interface.  Allows direct access to web.

 

Instructional Applications:   Reading, spelling, ESL (perhaps)

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Program Title

Plato

Publisher

Plato Learning Inc.

Subject

Read, Write, Math, Social Studies, Life/Career, ESL

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Audio, Management system, Print rec, password, customize

Computer Requirements

Windows 95/98, Win NT 4.0/2000, CD-Rom

Price

Price varies, call 1-877-517-5280

Overall Rating

2.9   Good

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

2

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

2

Average

2.9

 

Description of Content:    This software is designed to improve the knowledge and grade levels of students form K-Adult.  It covers a wide variety of subjects from ESL, Language, Math and Reading, to Social Studies, Science, Calculus, and Life and Career skills.  The program is knowledgeable and easy to read and use for the student.  There are tutorial sections that explain and apply basic concepts in addition to mastery tests.  If mastery tests are not passed, a new set of tutorial and mastery test questions are provided.

 

Navigation and Structure:    The structure is fairly easy for the learner to navigate.  The programs provide encouragement and “kudos” for success by literally placing gold stars by assignments successfully completed.  Both half and full shaded boxes are placed next to assignments to help students keep track of completed assignments.  Feedback and hints are provided immediately after each question in the assignment.

 

The management system is quite entailed and requires some study to implement.  Assignments can be as classes or individual and can be a whole curriculum or set-up as bits and pieces. The reports show current use, time on task, grades, and mastery levels. Programs can be designed based on TABE (and other) conversion scores to provide individualized study.

 

Instructional Applications:    This program can be used as a supplement for class instruction and is ideal for main study in a lab situation.  A program can be designed for each individual based on needs.  This is especially useful to an instructor with students at varying levels of proficiency.  This program is very conducive with students who prefer to use the computer.  This courseware will align with several standardized tests (i.e. TABE & others) so individual plans can be developed.

 

Notes of concern:

The beginning English curriculum has some assignments that are bothersome to students because the talking section is slow and they cannot move easily to the next screen.

The Trigonometry curriculum is not ideal for self-instruction, but would be good combined with class instruction.

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Program Title

HEC Reading Horizons

Publisher

HEC Software, Inc.

Subject

Reading  Decoding ,Vocabulary and Spelling

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Visual

  • Graphic illustrations

Auditory –

  • Sound

  • Pronunciation practice

Kinesthetic/tactile

  • Sequential, logical drill and practice activities via manipulation of keyboard and mouse

Vocabulary in context

Computer Requirements

Windows:  Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT 4.0;CPU -- 486 or better (200 mHz recommended); 16 MB RAM (32 MB recommended); 40 MB hard drive space (550 MB for network server); CD-ROM drive;SVGS monitor; Speaker system with headphones
Macintosh: MacOS version 7.1 or higher;PowerMac computer or better;16 MB RAM (32 MB recommended);2 MB hard drive space;CD-ROM drive (12X or higher recommended);Color 640 x 480 monitor;Speaker system with headphones

Price

Price varies call 801-295-7054

Overall Rating

3.6  excellent

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

2

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

3.6

 

Description of Content:   This interactive computer product is based on the "Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself" reading system.  This system employs the use of explicit, sequential phonics.  Students learn to blend and build from a single letter to a word and effectively learn to read and spell at their own pace.  “The program provides students with the tools necessary to continue learning on their own. Upon completion, most students can decode multi-syllable words at an eighth grade level or beyond.” info@intensivephonics.com

 

This reviewer believes that students should not just be placed in front of the computer but should also be actively taught.  Therefore, in order to be a more effective tool, the HEC program needs to be combined with the Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself teacher toolkits.  Teachers will find the system to be very valuable because they can teach both individually and in small groups.

 

Navigation and Structure:   The HEC program consists of 30 lessons based on the 42 sounds of the alphabet, five phonetic skills, and two decoding skills.  Students listen to a human voice soundtrack as they interact with the software by manipulating the keyboard in order to break down words for reading and spelling.  The Windows version of the courseware provides a Mastery, Drill, and Practice component.  “It includes decoding, vocabulary development, and reading practice.  Students can hear over 2400 words pronounced, see and hear the definition for each word, including a graphic illustration where applicable, see and hear the words used in context sentences, decode the words and read them within sentences and paragraphs.”  info@intensivephonics.com

 

Instructional Applications:    This program can be used by a variety of levels.  Nonreaders can use it to learn basic sound units for decoding purposes.  ESL students truly appreciate the systematic and logical approach.  The auditory component is the key.  Students with learning difficulties that affect their spelling and reading will find this tool to be a great way to build a strong foundation for both.  Upon completion of the program, all students will have the ability to decode higher level words which will increase their reading comprehension level because there will be the chance for less guessing.  

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Program Title        

Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself

Publisher

HEC Reading Horizons

Subject

Language

Level

Literacy

Program Features

Instructor Manual; Mini Method Manual; Instructor Management System; Password Security; Import Utility; Pre- and Post-tests

Interim Tests; Audio Components (Instructor Lead Course)

Full Motion Video Components; Book Mark; Pronunciation Tools – ESL Say; Mastery, Drill, and Practice (MDP) Sessions

(Word Study, Phonics and Reading)

Printable Scores For the Student

Printable Evaluation Reports For the Instructor Printable Student Lists For the Instructor

Computer Requirements

STAND-ALONE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS; IBM or compatible computer;    Windows 95, 98, NT 4.0, 2000, ME, or XP;    133 MHz processor minimum (200 Mhz); 32 MB Ram minimum (64 MB RAM recommended);50 MB hard drive space on Stand Alone (340 MB); SVGA 256-color, 640x480 monitor or better; Microphone (optional).

    CD-ROM drive

    Sound Card & Speakers

LOCAL AREA NETWORK

    Server System Requirements

       650 MB Hard Drive on Network Server

       Novell 3.x or 4.x Netware or other LAN

       32 MB RAM (64 MB RAM recommended)

   Network Client Requirements

       32 MB Ram minimum (64 MB RAM recommended)

       SVGA 256-color, 640x480 monitor or better

      50 MB hard drive space for Network Client (340 MB

           to copy lesson files

       Sound Card & Speakers

       Microphone (optional).

Price

$1995.00 (1 License) Additional Stations $695.00 (one time only fee)

Overall Rating

3.7  Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading

4

Affordability

3

Content

4

Age Appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

3.7

 

Description of Content:   

Navigation and Structure:

·         HEC Reading Horizons:  Discover Intensive Phonics for Yourself offers student evaluation reports for the administrator that may be printed and a detailed manual for the administrator.  

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Program Title

Inspiration

Publisher

Inspiration Software

Subject

Reading, Science and Social Studies

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Inspiration is ideal for use in language arts, science and social studies, or anytime your students need to structure research or other thought processes.

Computer Requirements

Windows 95,98,NT, 2000, XP/8 MB RAM/20MB hard drive space for all components/CD ROM/ Not necessary but recommended: Windows compatible printer and Browser

Price

$69

Overall Rating

4   Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

 

Description of Content:     Content includes providing visual aid for students to Brainstorm, Plan, Organize, Outline, Pre-write, Diagram, Concept Mapping and Webbing.  The Content Covers many areas for students however helps give structure and organization for projects.

 

Navigation and Structure:    Inspiration has made navigation simple.  The student can either start with an idea and diagram it down to focus on key points or the program will help the student brainstorm ideas starting simple with a subject such as vacation.  It can also show relations to other ideas.  The program makes the concepts visual to the student helping them put their thoughts together and produce essays and book reports with ease.  This is a great program.

 

Instructional Applications:    This program would be great at providing instructional help for students.  I think that many times good ideas and concepts get lost in the process.  This is one of the best learning and organizing pieces of software.

 

Program Title

Newsweek Education Programs

Publisher

Newsweek http://school.newsweek.com

Subject

Reading and Social Studies

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Print Option, Audio, On-screen help, easy to read command bar, simple scan procedure, save option

Computer Requirements

Any computer with access to the Internet

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

0

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

4

 

Description of Content:    This site helps the teacher make the most of Newsweek in the classroom.  All resources are free to teachers with classroom orders of 15 copies or more.  Teachers have access to teaching tools such as maps, graphics, and of course worksheets.  Each week the teacher receives lessons, a guide, and quiz for the current week of Newsweek.  The lessons are patterned to curriculum standards with activities generated to graphic interpretation, linking the past with the present, and understanding how the media networks with sources of information.

 

Ordering Newsweek can be done online for 57¢ per issue with a minimum order of 15 copies or more. 

 

Navigation and Structure:  Typical website navigation in a well-structured layout that features several links to lesson plans, worksheets, maps, and electronic field trips.

 

Instructional applications:   Excellent source for generating student interest in Reading, Political Science, Economics, Geography, and History.  The web site can be used for internet projects and online research, with online activities to support the information.

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Program Title

PLATO

Publisher

PLATO Learning Inc.

Subject

Reading

Level

Beginning Literacy

Program features

Provides performance feedback for students.  Automatic advance to next level.  Isolates students’ weak areas and makes assignments accordingly.  Customizable starting levels.  Subjects range from curriculum through modules. Lists goals and objectives.  Provides pre-defined report capability for instructor.

Computer Requirements

32mb win95, 32mb win98, 64mb NT, 64 2000, IE or Netscape Navigator Browser.

Price

$1564.00  PA for one access port

Overall Rating

3.3   Good

 

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

2

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

3

Average

3.3

 

Description of Content:    Reading comprehension including sentence structure and Grammar

 

Navigation and Structure:  Combination windows based and DOS based software

 

Instructional Applications:    ESOL, GED and ABE

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Program Title

Reading Plus, Version 2.5.1

Publisher

Taylor Associates

Subject

Reading in Developmental Studies

Level

Intermediate ABE to GED

Program Features

Computerized placement tests, teacher management  functions, several reading activities on individual levels

Computer Requirements

Windows 95/98

Price

Price varies, call  800-732-3758

Overall Rating

3.3  Good

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good

and 4 = excellent)

 

User Friendly

3.5

Interesting Interface

3.5

Ease of Loading Software

3

Affordability

3

Content

3.5

Age Appropriate

3.5

Sound

0

Average

3.3

 

Description of Content:   Reading Plus is a guided program designed to assist lower level readers to read more fluently and comprehend more completely.  It provides a student with twenty-five comprehension skills and records each student's progress.  It even documents how many minutes a student spends on each assignment.

 

Navigation and Structure:   The navigation and structure of Reading Plus is somewhat confusing due to its complexity.

 

Instructional Applications:   Reading Plus would be an excellent supplement to a developmental reading curriculum.  It should not be used exclusively in a reading class because books should be a part of a reading program.

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Program Title

New Brunswick Community College - Saint John Distance Courses

Publisher

New Brunswick Community College  

www.saintjohn.nbcc.nb.ca

Subject

GED Preparation: Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies and Language

Level

Low and High Adult

Program features

Password security

Email help

Audio components

Video components

Print records mailed

Computer Requirements

Pentium II 266
56k modem
Windows 95, 98, 2000
Internet Explorer 5
Windows Media Player 6.4
Macromedia Flash Player 3
PowerPoint 97 or PowerPoint Viewer

Price

Cost for distance courses is per course and ranges from $25 – $60 for current courses. 

Overall Rating

3.3  Good

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3.5

Interesting Interface

3.5

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

3

Content

3

Age appropriate

3.5

Sound

3

Average

3.3

 

Description of Content:     This course gives an overview of the GED tests, some test-taking strategies, and the chance for students to evaluate their skills. Based on results of the Official GED Practice tests (which are sent out by mail), students discover approximately how they would score on the real tests and what things they need to study. This is only a preparation course. The course consists of 4 online lessons that introduce the various tests, online practice items, and the Official GED Practice tests.

 

Navigation and Structure:    It is easy to navigate and the feedback is appropriate.  The reading level of the directions is easily comprehended and assistance is available.

 

Instructional Applications:   This course is ideal for the self-motivated student who prefers to study and prepare at home in front of a computer rather than in a classroom setting.

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Program Title

Scan and Read Lite

Publisher

Premier Programming Solutions

Subject

Reading

Level

Beginning Literacy – Low Adult

Program features

Print Option, Audio, On-screen help, easy to read command bar, simple scan procedure, save option.

Computer requirements

166Mhz Pentium Processor or Faster (300 or faster is recommended); 32 MB (64 MB or higher is recommended) Sound Card16 Bit with Speakers; Standard Keyboard; 40 MB of Free Disk Space; 4X or faster CD-ROM; USB scanners only

 

Price

Price varies, call 

Overall rating

4  Excellent

 

Evaluation scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age Appropriate

4

Sound

4

Average

4

 

 

Description of Content:   Students use this program to create their own accessible books with text, and the use of several different voice sounds.  The software allows you to scan documents from hard copy and convert the scan to text; it actually "reads" pages you scan.

This program would probably be applicable for various grade levels from k-9.  This program would be useful for repeated readings.  The only weakness is that from the selection of voices quite a few of them are hard to distinguish due to the “computer like” sound.     

 

 

Navigation and Structure:   Navigation is clearly labeled by the large icons located on the command bar.  The student uses the mouse to click the “mouth” icon and the program immediately begins reading what is on the screen.  The rate of reading can be adjusted.  Short stories or complete books can be scanned and input into one document.  The student can start and stop at any place.  The program will begin where the student last stopped.

 

Instructional applications:    The program can be used for listening to a story as the learner follows along with the book.  Would be good for low-level readers, as they will hear the words as they follow with the reading source.

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Program Title

TextAloud MP3

Publisher

NextUp.com  www.nextup.com

Subject

Audio Utility for Reading

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Audio Utility for Reading

Computer Requirements

Windows 95,98,NT, 2000, sound card, MP3 player with settings at 56 or 64 kbps/64MB ram/50MB hard Drive

Price

$24.95

Overall Rating

3.6  Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

3

Average

3.6

 

Description of Content:    Text Aloud is a program utility that allows everything selected and copied to simply be read to you upon access.  You can also choose between different voices embedded in the program.

 

Navigation and Structure:    The program is simple and reasonable priced.  This is a great utility for those who have reading disabilities.  The program has a user-friendly interface.  As you select the text that you would like to have read it is highlighted as it is read back helping the user keep track of what is being read.   The program sits in the task tray and shows up when coping text.  There is a smaller window that just has sound controls such as play, pause and stop. 

 

Instructional Applications:    This is a good utility that is inexpensive.  It cannot only be used for those with disabilities but for multitasking.  If you would like to have your email read to you while you are working on other projects this software would allow you to.

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Program Title

TV 411     www.tv411.org

Publisher

Adult Literacy Media Alliance

Subject

Adult literacy, business skills

Level

Beginning Literacy – High Adult

Program features

Brief exercises in a variety of literacy and mathematics areas, immediate and appropriate feedback,

Computer Requirements

Access to Internet

Price

Free

Overall Rating

2.8  Good

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

4

Content

2

Age appropriate

3

Sound

0

Average

2.8

 

Description of Content:     This web site is designed to give students practice in reading comprehension, vocabulary building, analytical thinking, and basic mathematical concepts relating to the business setting.  It provides both an opportunity to practice skills and a immediate feedback of performance.  The program is accurate, easy to read, and easy to use if a bit slow.  While there is a tutorial section for writing, it simply provides a place to enter text without any follow up or feedback.  This web site is designed for the learner who needs business oriented language and math skill practice.  The modes of learning would involve reading, cognitive and visual.  The screen is easy to read and the graphics are appropriate for the adult learner and the program content. Some of the material is a bit repetitive and is limited to business application.

 

Navigation and Structure:     It is easy to navigate and users can exit at many points.  The feedback is direct and appropriate.  The reading level of the directions matches the reading level of the program.  There is on-screen help as well as hints for answering the skill builder questions.   The program contains several practice sets for each skill area. There are also areas to visit that deal with life skill topics but do not have associated skill sets.

 

Instructional Applications:    Use this program as a complement to adult literacy or ESL classes or in a lab for learners who want to acquire business literacy skills.  This program is ideal for the learner who is heading into the business world but needs some experience in business language and/or math skills. It is especially good for a learner who also needs to develop basic computer skills or wants lessons in brief tidy sets.

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Program Title

Natural History Museum Dino Directory

Publisher

The Natural History Museum http://flood.nhm.ac.uk/cgi-bin/dino

Subject

Reading and Science

Level

Low ABE - GED

Program features

The Home Page has the six different time periods of dinosaur existence and each time period allows the user investigate the dinosaurs that ruled the world for that period of time.

Computer Requirements

Any computer with access to the Internet

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4  Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

0

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

4

 

Description of Content:    The Natural History Museum Dino Directory is a link that is a part of the Natural History Museum.  There are a number of links available for a number of scientific explorations including the Museum Dino Directory.  The Education and Technology links provide materials, and programs that utilize the museum’s resources to connect people of all ages with “real” science.  There is also a specific link for Adult education.  The activities generated for learners is not free, but there is a snail address for purchasing them.

 

Navigation and Structure:   Typical web site navigation in a well-structured layout that features several links to further scientific investigations.  Structured very well and is easy to use. 

 

Instructional Applications:   Excellent source for generating student interest in Reading, Science, Geography, and History.  The web site can be used for Internet projects and online research, with online activities to support the information.

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Program title

http://setgame.com

Publisher

Set Enterprises

Subject

Math, spelling, vocabulary

Level

Beginning ABE- High Adult

Program features

On-screen directions

Nice graphical interface

Computer Requirements

Internet access

Price

Free (although some software is commercially available through this site)

Overall Rating

3.3    Good

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

 

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

2

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

3.3

 

Description of Content:   This website offers daily puzzles for the games Set and Quiddler.

The object of the game Set is to identify "sets" of three cards, in which they either share varying attributes or are completely different.  SET is fun and easy to learn.  It has a simple point and click interface and variable degrees of challenge.  Each day there is a new puzzle posted at the web site.  

Using special cards, Quiddler draws on the user’s ability to combine letters into words. Players must combine their entire hand into words trying to use the highest point value letters. Quiddler challenges you to do this first with three cards (round one), then with four, on up to ten cards in the last round. A bonus is given for both the longest word, and the most words made by a player in each round.

 

Navigation and Structure:   Very simple to navigate.  No branching

 

Instructional Applications:   These are good exercises that combines math, spelling/vocabulary, problem solving, and pattern recognition.

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Program Title

EBSCOlearn

Publisher

EBSCO Publishing

Contact for Adult Literacy providers:

Kali Reynolds @ KReynolds@epnet.com

Subject

Reading in the Content Areas

Level

Low ABE - GED

Program features

Visual: Graphic illustrations in some of the reading activities

Kinesthetic/tactile and web activities via manipulation of keyboard and mouse

Computer Requirements

EBSCOhost's browser requirements:

If you are using Lynx the minimum browser requirement is Lynx 2.6 and you must use the no frames version of EBSCOhost.

Price

Yearly subscription fee for adult literacy providers = $295

Overall Rating

3.3  Good

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

3

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

3

Content

3

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

3.3

 

Description of Content:   EBSCOlearn is an online service that students may access via the Internet.  The Online Reader is a reading comprehension program designed to improve students' standardized test scores.  This program uses a variety of magazine articles, each accompanied by a test, to help students demonstrate literal or initial understanding, interpret passages, apply critical analysis, and utilize reading strategies.  Teachers assign topics based on grade level and content area. 

The EBSCOlearn package provides 3,600 reading assignments from all curriculum areas.  These assignments come from the Learning Online Package!  The articles are from outstanding resources:  News and World Report, Ranger Rick, Scientific American, Biography, and National Wildlife.  The product is a great way to provide teaching across the curriculum.

 

Besides the EBSCOlearn package, the service also offers The Curriculum Reference Product Line.   This database gives a teacher access to over 38,300 articles in numerous areas:  Civics Collection, 7,500 full text articles; Earth & Space Science Database, over 7,700 full text articles; Language Arts Collection, over 6,100 full text articles; Physical Science Collection, over 7,000 full text articles; and World History Database, over 9,200 full text articles.  It appears that these articles are not ones that are assigned via Internet, but they can be accessed by the teacher, printed, and used in class.  It is a library at your fingertips. 

 

Navigation and Structure:  Teachers access the Internet via a teacher management site.  There they may search the database for articles based on specific grade level or content area.  Students may then, in turn, access these assignments via the Internet at school, home, the library, or even the South Pole!  A step-by-step sheet of directions needs to be provided to the student for easy access.  Tech support has been good since the service is interested in getting feedback from adult literacy personnel.

 

Instructional Applications:   Although the lexile range is from 250 to 1300 (grade level 1 to 12), it appears that most articles begin at 520 (level 3) and above.  This program is a great way to introduce students to the Internet.  Students may work in pairs or individually if they are in the classroom.   Many ESL students enjoy the product because the Internet is the way in which they communicate with those in their homeland, so some are quite comfortable with it.  Once again the product engages the student in many forms of learning.  They become much more active learners.  

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Program Title

GEDonline

Publisher

Diversified Computer Services www.gedonline.org

Subject

GED 2002 training –Writing, Social, Studies, Science, Reading and

Math

Level

Student needs to be computer literate and internet savvy or have access to someone who can help him/her install the program.

Program features

Drill and practice activities

Chat Room

Email

Computer Requirements

Software:  Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, or NT; Internet Explorer 5.0 or above if using AOL access; Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above if accessing from other ISP; Web Player Plug-in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Hardware: No specs are given.  I would assume the minimum requirements for usage would be the following: Pentium I, 133 MHz,64 MB,56k modem

  • Previewing was done on a Pentium III 128 MB using Win 98

Price

Subscription rate:

  • $50 for 4 months

  • $10 per month for additional months

  • Practice test booklet PA $10

  • Practice test booklet PB $10

  • Practice test booklet PC $10

Overall Rating

1.9  Fair

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

2

Interesting Interface

2

Ease of loading software

2

Affordability

2

Content

2

Age appropriate

2

Sound

1

Average

1.9

 

Description of Content:  This online product is designed to give students practice before taking the GED tests.  It provides both an opportunity to practice for the tests and a diagnosis of how well a student might do on the tests.  Practice lessons provide little instruction and are brief.  The only feedback that is given in the language area if an error is made is, “No, the correct answer is #.”  No further instruction is given.  In order to have an essay scored, a student sends it by snail mail to the company for feedback.  The product does link to some interesting Internet sites in the Social Studies area but there are no questions.  The science area also does provide some visuals although there are times when one can go to a site and not be able to return by clicking the back arrow.  Comprehension questions range in number from two to ten depending upon the subject.  The reading area is limited in practice while the math area does appear to provide more instruction during a quiz.

 

Navigation and Structure:  Once the fee is paid, a student is mailed the GED online CD, username, password, and a set of Steck-Vaughn official GED practice tests.  The student then “takes” a GED practice test by inputting the answers online.  The test is then scored immediately and recommendations are made.  If a student does not do well, he/she is recommended to go to practice lessons based on the following categories:  comprehension, application, analysis, and synthesis.  Navigation is not too difficult as long as a user has had some experience with Internet. 

 

Instructional Applications:  Higher-level students who want a real quick review and practice and who prefer using a computer should use this program.  Being comfortable using Internet is a must.  Visual effects can be very disconcerting for low-level readers.  Although the program says that there is a GED Chat room, this reviewer had difficulty accessing it, but when that was finally done, no one else was using it.  

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Program Title

Long-Term Ecological Research Project at Palmer Station Antarctic

Publisher

Susan Cowles www.literacynet.org/polar/pop/html/home.html

Subject

Science, Reading

Level

GED

Program features

Web site is well marked and features several links

Computer Requirements

Any computer with access to the Internet

Price

Free

Overall Rating

4  Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale (scale 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 = good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

4

Ease of loading software

0

Affordability

0

Content

4

Age appropriate

4

Sound

0

Average

4

 

Description of Content:    The question to the project that Susan Cowles is doing: “What is the role of air-borne organic pollutants in Antarctic coastal seas?"  She is a part of the Palmer Long-Term Ecological Research project.  The research project is investigating the effects of sea-ice changes on the Antarctic marine ecosystem.  If you want to find out more about this subject you can go to the web site, “POP Goes Antarctica?”

 

Navigation and Structure:    Typical web site navigation in a well structured layout that features several links to her journals, lesson plans, electronic field trips, and pictures of people from previous expeditions to the research station.  

 

Instructional applications:    Excellent source for generating student interest of the Antarctic.  The web site can be used for internet projects and online research information.

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Program Title

WordAloud

Publisher

Cloudworld Ltd

Subject

Assistive reading program

Level

ESL or Reading Disability

Program features

Ability to read any text or html file on the computer

Computer Requirements

The program runs on Windows 95, 98 and Windows ME, and requires,
100 MHz CPU or greater
4.5 megabytes of free hard drive space
16 megabytes of RAM.

Price

$ 44.95 for a personal copy

Overall Rating

3.5   Excellent

 

Evaluation Scale 

(scale score 0 = not applicable, 1= not recommended, 2 = fair, 3=good and 4 = excellent)

User Friendly

4

Interesting Interface

3

Ease of loading software

4

Affordability

4

Content

4

Age appropriate

0

Sound

2

Average

3.5

 

Description of Content:   This review is based on a trial version of WordAloud.  It came with an excerpt of the book “Alice in Wonderland” as a html file.  It also has detailed instructions in the Help file.  More content can be added to use with any text or html files as needed.

 

Navigation and Structure:   This program comes with a range of customizable options. For instance, you can change the background and text colors of the display. You can change the font, and the font size of the text, and the speed at which the text is displayed. As well, WordAloud comes with a wide selection of voices, both male and female, to choose from. As well, the reader's voice can be tweaked by changing its speed, volume, and pitch. WordAloud also comes with two very handy files, a demonstration module that shows you some of the uses of the program, and a help file that teaches the first time user how to set up and use the program.

 

  WordAloud is easy to use. You simply open the program, select the file you want to read, open it, and select the 'play' button. As the text is read, it is displayed, one word at a time. You can elect to have the program pause after each word; this option requires that you click on the forward button to proceed to the next word. You can also have it read one full sentence before it pauses, or you can set it not to stop until the entire file is read. The program can also be 'told' to spell out a given word in the text, which it will do, one letter at a time. You also have the option of pausing the reading at any point, and you can move forward and backwards within the text that you are reading. As well, if you are using the 'text' only option and come across a word that you cannot read, all you need do is pause the program and have it read the word to you.

 

Instructional Applications:    People with special needs (dyslexia, visual impairment, or other problems reading text from the computer).  Also it wound be helpful to ESL students in reading and pronunciation.

 

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