Clear, Realistic Speech
The speech we use in WriteOnline sounds almost human and has a British English accent. Using speech in word processing is a proven way to get students to check their writing more often, and to go back and correct their mistakes themselves. These are exactly the skills we want students to develop as they become more confident writers.
Words are clearly highlighted as they are spoken, enabling students to follow the words in the document as they are read.
Individual settings for every student
Students who only need speech occasionally simply select the text they want to hear, and use the speech tool on the toolbar.
Other students might want to hear each sentence automatically as it is completed. Set this option in the User Preferences, and every time the students enters a full stop (or ? or !), the last sentence is read aloud. This is a great way to ensure that students check their work as they go (and it's a great incentive to remember to punctuate too).
For students with more difficulties, set WriteOnline to read every word as it is typed, or even every letter. You can also have any combination of the speech settings – for example, it can read every word automatically, and then also read out the full sentence when the full stop is entered.
Check before you write!
The speech is also active in the word predictor and the Wordbar. Here, students can right-click (Mac: Ctrl-click) to listen to a word before they write it, helping them to find the words they want and gain confidence.