Breme Write Right

The TEEM Evaluation - 2007

www.bremesoftware.com

KS2 - Higher Level (Years 5 - 13)

English

KS3 Content Evaluation by Drew Buddie

Description

Breme Write Right is an interesting product and quite unique. It provides a word processing utility with a difference, as it aids users to instantly correct spellings and differentiate between homonyms as they type the words.

Words which have been spelt phonetically can be found by this remarkable spell checker making it invaluable to dyslexic students and poor spellers, for example, bicoz - (because).

In most cases homonyms are not spotted by a spellchecker in a traditional word processor, but this program highlights them as they appear and assists the user to select the correct spelling. This is done by showing the various choices e.g. "so, sew, sow" alongside images which depict the meaning of each word. As a result the user can select the correct version of the word they want.

The application runs within its own word processor and if the speakers are activated then the user can hear the words being pronounced too.

Purpose of the Program

Breme Write Right has been designed for cross-curriculum use by weak spellers and dyslexics, and is a unique stand-alone word processor with correction and pronunciation facilities.

Having taught many pupils who seem unable to use the correct homonym in the appropriate context, it is clear that there is a need for this program. Until I typed a sample piece of text myself when using Write Right I had no idea that we use so many homonyms in every common sentence that we write. In one sentence I found I had used eight in a row without even realising it.

Children should try to watch the screen as they type to pick up the corrections. When a word is mispelt, it turns red and is crossed through. The program analyses the spelling and then underlines it and turns it green. By right clicking on the word alternative choices are displayed, often with images. Moving the cursor over the word causes it to be read aloud by the program and left clicking inserts it into the text.

Each time a homonym is typed a window pops up automatically with a visual representation of all possible spellings. If you have used the correct spelling you need only continue with your typing, otherwise you will need to select the spelling you want before continuing. Thus this package would prove to be invaluable to individuals who cannot use the correct spellings without assistance. Spelling reinforcement is provided each time a document is typed.

Teacher Controls

The teacher or, with permission, the student can create their own dictionary of words, and the "search depth" is configurable. The latter feature enables a more rapid word search as spelling ability increases. The 'Speak found words' and 'Full help' features can be deactivated as the user's confidence increases. The identification of homonyms can also be disabled at this stage.

A record can be kept by using the facility of listing misspelt words and their corrections, giving teachers the opportunity to monitor progress and highlight any areas that need more practice.

If the 'Retype' feature is activated the word will need to be retyped correctly before it is entered into the text, thus reinforcing the correct spelling.


Curriculum Coverage

This program is really a generic tool and would be useful across all subjects in which children have to type their work. It aims to help students with spelling at upper Key Stage 2 level and above.

The stand-alone word processor, with built in spelling-aid feature is of great use to dyslexics and weak spellers, with its ability to recognise words when spelt phonetically, making it more useful than a more traditional spell checker.

Cross-curricular topics covered include:

* Key Skills: communication; Writing documents in general

* Key Skills: communication: Drafting/Redrafting information.


Analysis of Content

Appropriateness

Content appropriate for target age group

Activities pitched at the right level

Suitable vocabulary

There are no activities as such within this product as it is a utility that is used within a word processing environment. However, a teacher could create activities that are purpose made for the user to attempt, using this package.

A comprehensive Help file is included with an audio facility to assist poor readers.

Ease of Use

Tick Clear installation instructions

Tick Easy to navigate

Tick Logical progression of content

Tick Suitable for Whiteboard use

Tick Suitable for lesson starters

Tick Suitable for whole class teaching

Tick Suitable for individual use

Each time the program starts up a "quick tip" appears and over time I learned about a range of cool features thanks to this. Although the images that accompany the homonyms are simple (they are clip art) they still fulfil their designed purpose, being clear and self-explanatory. This in itself is a neat touch – the user is left in no doubt about the meaning of each alternative spelling.

This is an easy package to learn to use and pupils would love using this tool because of its simplicity, and easy to use icons whose purpose is read aloud if the mouse hovers over them.

Work produced can easily be saved into other packages e.g. Microsoft Word.

Quality

Tick Good quality images, video, sound

Tick British English spellings

This is a good quality package which has been designed specifically with dyslexics and poor spellers and readers in mind. The program is easy to navigate with simple to use icons, and the simplicity of some of the images perfectly suit their purpose and help to make this program as useful as it is.

Differentiation

Tick Includes materials for lower achievers

Tick Supports inclusion

Tick Ideas represent good practice

As this package is a tool to aid spelling, it is of most use to students of lower ability, poor readers, weak spellers or those - of whatever ability - with dyslexia.

The colour of background and text can be changed to provide the best optical mix for the student. Teachers can also alter the speed at which the spell checker provides the correct spellings. This ensures that all users get the best from the program to suit their individual needs.

As the words are read to you as you type visually impaired students can benefit from the program too.


Summary

This is a most unique tool. I have never come across a package like it.

I am sure it would be a popular resource within many schools, used primarily to aid dyslexics or pupils who are poor readers and spellers. The ability to customise text and colour and having the words read aloud as they are typed, makes this a very adaptable program which will aid dyslexics especially in becoming much more independent in their work.

I liked the "Quick tips" feature as this highlighted tools and shortcuts that I was previously unaware of. It is a fun way to learn - making practical use of the activity as it is embedded within a word processor rather than being a stand-alone series of learning tasks. The only way I feel the package could be improved would be if the homonym images were humorous animations as these might provide further stimulation to the user. It was a pleasure to discover this program and I will be using it again in my ICT lessons as well as recommending its use to colleagues across the curriculum.


Box

Homonym

Write Right spots a homonym

Edit

Speech and other helpful tools

Preview

The preview and word count for older users