The Woodward News

Local News

January 11, 2013

New software program makes reading a snap

Woodward Special Education Director says program will help identify students struggling with literacy

Woodward, Okla. — To help children with reading disabilities, the Woodward Public School District has recently installed Snap&Read reading software in the computer labs of every school in the district.

Woodward Special Education Director Rowena Roach said she discovered the software after being invited to attend a convention hosted by the software company Don Johnston, Inc. in Chicago. There she saw how useful the software could be for the education of students who struggle with reading.

"The software was purchased for the special education department, but it's installed in the computer lab of every school, so any students using those computers could benefit from it," Roach said.

According to the Don Johnston, Inc. website (donjohnston.com), Snap&Read is an accessible toolbar that reads any text on-screen as it floats over any application. The website boasts of the simplicity of its software, through a simple one-button interface it's able to read both accessible and inaccessible text aloud from Flash websites, Word documents, PDFs, web-based tests, images, and even dialog boxes.

"It can read pretty much anything," said Bob Keller, a former teacher and current product demonstrator with Don Johnston, Inc.

Keller was in Woodward on Tuesday to give a presentation to the district's special education teachers and familiarize them with the new software.

"Our motto is ease of use. You simply launch the program, create a box around the desired text, and the software reads the text to you," Keller said.

Roach said between the program's simplicity and its ability to read just about any text on the screen, she expects it to be very influential in children's education.

In addition to helping children learn to read, Roach said the program has other benefits as well, such as preventing children who struggle with reading as being misdiagnosed as slow learners.

"Now, with this software, we could scan tests onto the computer, and students could have the questions read out loud to them. Say a child is taking a social studies test or a science test, they might know the answer, but whereas in the past they might miss it because they couldn't read it properly, now we can see that social studies or science isn't the area they're struggling with, it's reading, and we can focus on improving that" Roach said.

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