Software provides specialized help

By ALYSSA RAMER

Software called Read&Write Gold is being offered to Pima Community College students.

The software would cost $645 for an individual but Pima students can access it for free.

It’s provided at Pima through PCC Instructors. The Read&Write web application can be used on both Macs and PCs.

Currently, the software is available for use on all computers in the Pima labs and commons.

Read&Write Gold is a toolbar that can be used in a browser window and other programs like Microsoft Word.

Toolbar buttons include one that converts text to speech so students can hear what they have selected on the screen. The function is meant to help students who struggle with reading.

Another button translates words into Spanish text for those who are not fluent English readers.

It also has options to help find a word in the dictionary.

A feature that highlights selections in different colors can then be used to transfer sections to another window, which can be helpful to students trying to organize quotes or citations.

The desktop toolbar has more options. A “mask” button can change the background color of a document to make it easier to read.

Janet Fukuda, an advanced program coordinator of access technology who works with Pima’s Access and Disability Resources office, has helped students learn to use the program.

“It was originally for students who were struggling with reading and writing, including those with dyslexia, but over time this tool has been shown to benefit all learners,” she said.

Students who would like to install the program on their own computer can have their instructor contact the information technology department, according to Fukuda.

A link with a password will be sent to the student, who can then follow the instructions to log in through MyPima and install it. Students must be currently enrolled at Pima.

The program is available for purchase on Texthelp in a variety of different operating systems and devices.

There are other programs available as well, such as Read&Write Gold ToolMatcher, which helps  K-12 students find which part of the toolbar will work best for them.

Those who need help using the program can contact a campus Access and Disability Resources office, or access the Texthelp website, which features “webinars” on the different parts of the program and advice from people who have used it.

Gabe Nyrkkanen, a program specialist at West Campus’ Access and Disability Resources, said once resources like Read&Write Gold are used for disabled students, non-disabled students will also make use of them.

Some components of the program are only available for disabled students through Access and Disability Resources.

Students must be registered through ADR to use them.

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