[IAEP] Text to speech and Dyslexia

Jim Simmons nicestep at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 18:40:22 EDT 2009


It should be pretty easy to convert documents from Word or PDF to a
format that Read Etexts can use, now that I have added support for
word wrapped text and RTF.  In Word, do a "Save As..." from the File
menu and choose Plain Text.  This option in Word 2003 gives you a
preview of what the saved document will look like.  The one option you
might be interested in is "Insert Line Breaks".  If you check this
then every line will end with a line feed, just like Project Gutenberg
texts have.  If you don't check this, then the line breaks will only
be used for paragraph breaks and Read Etexts will use word wrap.  If
the Activity uses word wrap then pages will not all be the same number
of lines, because the Activity will not break a page in the middle of
a paragraph.  Personally I find this to be quite tolerable, not even
noticeable.  If you don't, insert the line breaks.

Another possibility is to save as RTF format, which Read Etexts will
convert to plain text.  The advantage of this is that the conversion
will put asterisks around words to indicate italics, underscores
around words to indicate underlining, extra lines before and after
chapter headings, etc.  The disadvantage is that Word does not do a
good job creating RTF files so you might have an asterisk before an
italicized word but not after, etc.  Again, pretty tolerable.  RTF is
the format used by the Baen Free Library so the student could enjoy
some current science fiction in addition to the classics.

For PDF I would try using the clipboard to copy text into Notepad.
This should give you a document that uses word wrapping, and may need
some manual cleanup.

There was some talk about creating a feature in Sugar where you could
copy text to the clipboard from *any* Activity and it would display
the text in a window and speak it with highlighting.  As a stopgap you
could copy the text to the clipboard in Sugar, do a "Keep" on it which
would save it as a text document in the Journal, then open that
Journal entry with Read Etexts.

Hope this helps.  I'd dearly love to hear that one of my Activities
helped a child do something, and I'll do the needful to make that

James Simmons

On Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Caroline Meeks <solutiongrove at gmail.com> wrote:
> Works great on my test computer at home with SoaS Strawberry. We'll test on
> school computers.
> How can the Special Ed/ESL teacher take documents she currently has in say
> word or pdf and get them loaded into this activity so the kids can have them
> read to them?
> Thanks,
> Caroline

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