Have you ever asked students to research a topic, or read a passage and find
them struggling to understand what they are reading? Do your students need assistance in defining terms or concepts they are reading?
Are you looking for ways to help your students explore information and simplify the process for them? Today I have a couple resources that are designed to assist in students in information processing.
The following tools I have found to be good resources that provide assistance for students engaging in textual materials.
Read and Write -
A Google Extension you are able to add through the Chrome Store that provides tools for many online resources. You open the page (webpage or Google Doc) and click the Read and Write Icon to access the tools. You are able to have Read and Write Read the passage to you. If you highlight the passage, it will read the selection. If not, it starts at the top of the page which isn't as user friendly on websites. I signed up for a teacher account and was given access to "Premium" features. Beyond having it read a passage, you can highlight words and click on the vocabulary tool and it will create a new page with descriptions of the word or words you highlighted.
I worked with a teacher in a bilingual class to assist her students especially with the vocabulary tools. We asked the students to highlight in pink words that were unfamiliar to them. They could also highlight parts of speech using other colors. When you click the multi-color circle icon in Read and Write, it tracks the highlights you have made so you can get a list of what students selected and quickly assess their understanding of the passage or parts of speech. I am sure there are many other applications to this and I hope others will share how they use it. I made a quick screencast video showing how to access Read and Write and some of the basic functions mentioned above.
This site allows users can copy and paste a passage into Rewordify and click Rewordify Text and the program analyzes the information and creates a simplified version-
Original: The list of known carcinogens now includes a chemical called ortho-toluidine, which is used to make rubber chemicals, pesticides and dyes. Recent research has linked the substance to bladder cancer in people.
Rewordified version: The list of known (cancer-causing things) now includes a chemical called orthotoluidine, which is used to make rubber chemicals, bug-killing chemicals and dyes. Recent research has linked the substance to (urine storage sac) cancer in people.
As you can see terms that could be difficult for students have been defined to assist in making the entire passage more understandable.