I have had a love and hate relationship with the Google App Extension,Google Read and Write. I love the App and hate that my students won’t use it on consistent basis. Read and Write was recommended to me by an Ed-Psychologist who thought it could be beneficial to use with students who have Dyslexia and other reading and writing learning disabilities. It is really easy to set up and add to your browser. Just click “add to Chrome” and the extension is added to your browser. It will then appear as a purple icon in your search bar, as you see in the screen shot below.
When a student opens up an article to read in class, or a google doc they are going to type in, they click on the icon and it will give them a plethora of choices depending on what they want to do, and what kind of help they need (see screenshot below)
A little description what’s available:
I had students download the extension a couple of weeks ago and we practiced its variety of features while we read Sean Penn’s opus in Rolling Stone, El Chapo Speaks. Students played around with the variety of options and seemed to especially like the text speech option, the dictionary, and the fact finder for research.
Late last week, I did an informal poll of both classes who downloaded Google Read and Write. Each said they were not going to buy the premium version, and more then 3/4ths of them had already removed the extension from their browser. I think first and foremost students want “Free.” They were not going to ask their parents to buy them the extension. Google Read and Write also has the annoying habit of constantly requesting permission to view pages. This seemed to really frustrate the students. Both issues are fixable. As a Google School with a pretty hefty budget, I feel like we could buy a subsciption for our Learning Support Department. I also feel that permission to view pages is a user error and something that is correctable. The benefits of Google Read and Write for our struggling students are too great to dismiss this helpful extension. I will continue to trial and error the program until I can make it stick where it it something they use automatically, like the right click function.