Monday, September 21, 2009

Tip from Jason: Read on Web

My colleague and next-office-door neighbor Jason sent me this tip last week, and I liked it so much I thought I would share it here too.

Here's what Jason had to say:

Read on Web has Great Tools for Literacy

While the browser wars continue to wage, often with tools you never think of using, Read on Web is a small plug-in that could be a big help to learners.

The requirements: Read on Web works on Windows 2000, XP & Vista operating systems. It also works with Internet Explorer 6.0 and above (current version is Internet Explorer 8). What you get is a simple but powerful toolbar in your browser:While saving files, emailing articles to friends, and printing may be old hat, the tool bar has a great filtering feature that locates the main text of a webpage and displays it without all the ads or other distracting text. For example, The Minnesota Literacy Council’s home page displays like this:

But with a simple click of the filter button, you get this:

Not stopping there, the toolbar will also read the article to you. Granted it reads in "Microsoft Sam" which is painful to listen to, but you can easily download Microsoft Mike and Microsoft Mary voices which are a bit better.

The Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons are also cool and very useful, but my favorite feature is the speed reading application that puts the webpage into a new window that bolds text and lets you practice reading. Speed Reading also allows you to set the number of lines, font, and words/characters per minute. Pretty cool for a small free browser add-on.

While Read On Web is not going to change how most people search the web, it may do a good job of changing how it looks for some of us. For more information, check out

Spreading a little literacy love…


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