Read&Write for Google Docs is a free Chrome extension that enables teachers, students, and collaborators to create and share Google documents in real time in the cloud.
The extension, which works on both PC and Mac machines and mobile devices, integrates accessibility and support tools from Read&Write GOLD -- a literacy application developed by Texthelp Systems -- right into Google documents through the Google Chrome web browser.
Using Read&Write for Google Docs
To use Read&Write for Google Docs, you must have a Google Drive account and download the extension, which is available in the Chrome Web Store.
Once installed, login to your account and either open an existing document or create a new one. Open documents are displayed in a new Google Chrome tab.
Left-click on the purple "Read&Write" button at the top of the page to make the toolbar visible.
Use the Options Menu on the right side of toolbar to change selected voice, voice speed, and to toggle continuous reading on and off.
Read&Write for Google Docs tools are designed to make reading, research, and information gathering easier and more accurate. Key features include:
Text-to-Speech: Enables users to select a section of text to hear it read aloud with dual-color highlighting. Simply select text you wish to hear and click the "Play" button. The only other functions are "Pause" and "Stop."
Dictionary: Select a word and click the "Dictionary" icon to look it up. Use speech playback to hear text definition read aloud.
Picture Dictionary: This dictionary provides added support for understanding selected word meanings by providing visual images from the Widget Symbols Library. The images can be copied and pasted into you Google document.
Translator: This tool provides single-word translation of a selected word and speech playback so users can hear the proper accent and pronunciation.
Fact Finder: To further explore a subject, select a word(s) and click the "Fact Finder" icon. This will execute a Google search in a new browser tab. Click on appropriate links to further explore the topic.
Collect Highlights: This research tool enables you to highlight text in any Google document and easily gather all selections. Just choose highlighter colors, e.g. yellow for topic sentences; green for locations, and press the "Collect Highlights" button.
All highlights are displayed in a new window along with the document source. You can sort highlights by color or position within the document.
Vocabulary List Builder: This tool enables users to quickly generate a vocabulary list by highlighting a word and clicking the "Vocabulary List Builder" button. The list appears in a new browser tab with its definition, associated images, and a "Notes" field where users can add information. Lists can be saved, printed, or copied and pasted into a new Google Doc.
When finished using Read&Write Google Docs, or to hide the tool bar, click on the Read&Write button, and the tool bar will be hidden.
Two more free extensions that make Chrome more accessible to students with print disabilities are ChromeVis and Select & Speak. ChromeVis magnifies selected web text to make it easier to see; Select & Speak reads selected web text aloud.