Google Docs Extension for ELLs and Struggling Readers

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Read&Write for Google Docs is a new Chrome extension designed for students with dyslexia or learning disabilities and for struggling readers and English Language Learners. The free extension includes the following features:

  • Text-to-speech with dual synchronized highlighting (choice of male or female voice with stop, start, and pause functions)
  • Talking dictionary
  • Picture dictionary
  • Vocabulary tool
  • Study skills tool to capture Google highlights
Installing the extension provides¬†a special toolbar on the top of your Google documents.¬†Once installed, to use the extension, simply have any Google Document open, and then click on the “Read&Write” tab to open its toolbar. Students can then select text and do the following:

  • Click the “Play” button to have the text read aloud.
  • Click the “Dictionary” button to see a written definition, which can also be clicked to be read aloud.
  • Click the “Picture Dictionary” button to see clip art related to the selected word.
  • Click the “Fact Finder” button to open a new tab with a Google search of the text.

Students can also highlight multiple words or selections throughout the document and then do the following:

  • Click the “Collect Highlights” button to pull all the selected texts together in a new window.
  • Click the “Vocabulary List” button to open a new window with definitions, related pictures, and room for notes.

Read&Write is a useful extension for any student. For writing, it can help them to edit and improve their work. For reading, it can help them read the material, understand unfamiliar words, pull out important passages, and address vocabulary needs. A video overview is available here.

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