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Snap&Read: Review

In order to fix the forced online dilemma we are facing, many educators spend considerable time researching and testing technological solutions. TVIs may find it overwhelming to sort through the various options and information available,

but Paths to Technology blogs can be extremely helpful in doing so. As a TVI colleague, I recommend PTT often. I appreciate your kind words, Diane Brauner.

Discovered Snap&Read, recommended by another educator while researching text-to-speech options. Reading tool Snap&Read reads both accessible and inaccessible text aloud, levels vocabulary, and translates, providing usage data to teachers for assessing each student’s reading needs.

Although it was suggested for my review by a TVI, I found it non-accessible in terms of use and navigation by the blind. If this otherwise useful tool needs to be accessible to the blind, this tool is not appropriate.

Snap&Read does include some features that may be particularly useful for students with other forms of vision impairment and other learning disabilities. When I tested it, I thought this was particularly relevant to students with CVI:

  • Speak – Click the text you want to be spoken to and then click the place where you want it spoken. Also, select a section and click Speak. Hear a website, PDF, or Google Drive document read aloud in the background. Other languages can also be read.
  • Readability can be dynamically adjusted without changing the meaning of the text.
  • Easily translate any text on any webpage into more than 100 languages.
  • You can organize text and add notes using a study tool.
  • Distractions can be removed to improve text readability. Simply click, and you’ll be able to remove distracting content, adjust fonts and spacing, and even adjust how many characters per line appear. Additionally, the Remove Distractions tool streamlines any webpage into an open outline with no distractions. Students at the CVI will benefit greatly from this.
  • Overlays/Right-to-Left Guides-Snap&Read Color Overlays and Right-to-Left Guides help students focus on paragraphs and even lines individually by masking the reading area, which is another helpful feature for CVI students.
  • MULTIPLE icon representations and picture-supported definitions ensure clear understanding. Learn how to read aloud, text leveling dynamically, and translation to better understand definitions.
  • Citation Engine-Read HTML or PDF content and cite sources seamlessly.
  • Through Optical Character Recognition (OCR), access to images, PDFs, and Flash.
  • See a website’s grade level equivalent by using the Readability Analyzer.
  • You can screenshot the text if you are unable to select it. We’ll do the rest if you click and draw a box around the text.
  • PDF annotations can be highlighted and added to Google Drive, One Drive, or downloaded.
  • The data collected will show the amount of reading the students are doing and the level of readability.
  • You can also click where you wish to simplify the text, or highlight the text and click where you wish to simplify it.
  • Use the “Options” button to set the language of your primary language if your primary language is not English. Simply click and select the text you wish to translate or highlight the text you wish to translate and click
  • Outline, organize, highlight, and cite sources. You can easily write from your outline by dragging and dropping.

Using the Google Chrome browser, Snap&Read works on Chrome books, Macs, and Windows computers,  an iPad App (an added perk is camera OCR, allowing you to photograph a page of text and hear it read, and as a Microsoft Edge Extension on Windows computers. As well as PDF files, the Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader, and Book share will possibly be supported as well. A Snap&Read user can browse any webpage, and a Snap&Read toolbar enables understanding everything displayed on the page, according to its creators.

A few tools are available for Chrome users who have reading problems. You should check out these seven extensions and apps. This tool can be used on chrome books or on any device with a Chrome browser. A text-to-speech (TTS) program such as Snap&Read Universal starts reading the selected word aloud as soon as the student clicks it. It is capable of reading digital text. Images and images with text also can be read. OCR (optical character recognition) is the method used to accomplish this.

There is also a Safari extension (for reading, simplifying, and translating web pages) and an App (for reading, translating, and simplifying PDFs and Images). Snap&Read can automatically level text with difficult vocabulary if it is too challenging. Using OCR, you can locate text within images based on the latest technology. Snap&Read can be used on images already on your device as well as on images you snap with your device. You can annotate and translate right on the images.

Access the Chrome Web Store by opening Google Chrome. The top left corner of the page has a search box where you can enter “read and write”. Then, select Add to Chrome under “Read&Write for Google Chrome”. In the pop-up window near Chrome’s address bar, click Add extension. While we use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to ensure the security of information transmitted and stored on our servers, you should avoid storing sensitive information within Snap&Read Universal.

With Snap&Read, you can have text read aloud, can use different vocabulary levels, and translate, giving teachers usage data so that they can assess each student’s individual needs. Transform text on any webpage into over 100 languages. With Snap&Read, you get the most comprehensive reading solution on the market. Reading aloud – Listen to your web pages, PDFs, and Google Drive documents being read aloud. It can also be read in other languages.

Documents, PDFs, and images containing printed text can be uploaded into this app for easy viewing by other students the text should be read out loud. Text can also be leveled, text can be inserted, and the document can be annotated with highlighters or a marking pen. It can be used for hearing aloud text or annotating documents at home or in school.

This app provides parents with a very helpful educational tool for reading text from websites or photos of printed materials. Additionally, you can highlight multiple words simultaneously, use a graphic organizer, make notes, and get help with difficult words. Online information can be used and consumed by those who have trouble reading and comprehending.

Text complexity and voice can be adjusted by users. It can be difficult to get used to the robotic-sounding voice that reads the text within the app. Elementary school-aged children may need help searching for and navigating content before it is uploaded to the app. The app doesn’t identify inappropriate content or words, so parents and educators must monitor use to avoid children receiving inappropriate messages. Find out how the app collects and shares information by reading the privacy policy.

Talk to your children about Snap&Read

Universal if your children have difficulty reading or comprehending words. When the words are spoken aloud, it might help them to learn them much better. Consider which websites and e-books you can use in conjunction with the app. By taking the initiative to use the app, kids can follow directions far more independently than they would if they were reliant on adults for assistance.

What do you think of it?

There are some good features in this reading tool, but the digital voice and tricky setup make it less appealing for younger children. Children who struggle with reading can use Snap&Read Universal’s features to explore websites, read stories, and conduct research for projects independently. Even when customizing the voices, the voices that read the text might sound robotic to some kids.

Kids may have difficulty navigating the toolbar. As well, it takes practice and coordination for adults to draw the text box to include only specific sections of text to be read. This app may prove worthwhile for kids with learning and attention issues to improve their reading abilities.

Efficacy and Quality

Simply, elegantly and compactly designed, Snap&Read is perfect for reading. Macintosh and Windows versions of the application operate identically on both platforms. As soon as the program starts, its colorful toolbar appears unobtrusively above the right-hand corner of the screen. However, users can easily drag it to the desired location.

At setup, Snap&Read uses either the male or female Acapella voices (installed separately at that time) to read text aloud. The user can choose their preferred voice from the Application Preferences. In addition to setting the voice rate, users can choose whether Snap&Read discusses toolbar and dialog text aloud.

 

 

User-Friendly

Snap&Read’s toolbar never disappears once it’s launched. As long as it’s visible, you can click on it while in the active window. The toolbar’s photo lens icon can be clicked to read text aloud, then you can drag across the desired text to fit it within the orange guidelines. Snap&Read will then read the text selected aloud using the OCR engine. The program will not read aloud selected text automatically if you de-select “automatically speak on selection.”

If you do this, you must click on the sound icon to hear the selected text read aloud). Restart your work by clicking the X button. In addition to the program’s easy-to-use interface, the Help files in the program provide instruction on getting started or configuring optional preferences. In addition to the Snap&Read Keyboard Equivalents PDF, you can also access shortcut keys from the Help menu.

Using technology creatively

Students can use Snap&Read to access text displayed on screen in an audible format, supporting student-directed, independent learning. English language learners, developing readers, and people with vision impairments can benefit from this audio text-to-speech mode. This tool can also be used by writers in need of editing assistance. Listening to their text read aloud allows them to spot unclear sentences or awkward wording.

Its two-button interface isn’t overly distracting thanks to its simple design. Depending on your preference, Snap&Read can automatically read selected text, or you can turn it off. In the process of OCR’ing selected text for the read-aloud feature, the program identifies words that cannot be recognized or those that will be read incorrectly, so that users can fix any OCR errors.

Suitable for the school environment

Snap&Read is an easy, customizable, and economical solution for schools interested in reading screen text aloud. Among the types of text, it can handle are words from K12 Inc.’s virtual school curriculum or words appearing in Accelerated Reader, NWEA MAP tests, Study Island, and Discovery Education Websites. On a stand-alone computer or directly from a USB Flash drive, Snap&Read can be installed and run. The software can be moved from computer to computer easily when available on a flash drive.

Programs such as this can be trained. As an example, if it read the word “children” incorrectly in a selected paragraph, I could use the editor to “teach” it how to read it correctly, then return to the selected text and listen again. Once you quit Snap&Read, the fix is not remembered. The mispronunciation returns if you close the application then return to the same paragraph.

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The downside of Snap&Read is that it is less flexible than other solutions. It cannot, for example, convert selected text into an MP3 or WAV audio file for later listening, unlike NaturalSoft’s free NaturalReader 10 for Windows. The OCR rendering engine of Snap&Read is not as accurate as NaturalReader or Macintosh’s built-in OCR software, or Read&Write Gold from Apple or Microsoft.

I found that Snap&Read mispronounced or read incorrectly more frequently than any of the free or commercial tools above when I test its read-aloud capabilities on a paragraph that was also read aloud using the above tools. In addition to serif fonts and variable font sizes, Snap&Read struggles with ampersands. As Don Johnston continues to develop Snap&Read, I expect OCR accuracy to improve. There are occasions when free tools do not work, and the current version represents an inexpensive solution.

Among its features are:

Featuring two buttons, a floating toolbar reads aloud text embedded in Flash pages, Microsoft Word documents, PDF files, or pictures. Acapella speech synthesis voices of high quality included. The preferences feature allows users to customize the program to suit their needs.

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