Monday, February 08, 2010

Spell Checking Tools for Phonetic Spellers and Individuals with Dyslexia

When it comes to spelling there are individuals that are great spellers. For individuals like myself, I need all the help and support I can get. I am a phonetic speller. I have a vast database of words that I have learned to spell and correct from visually seeing the words corrected. I can pick a word from a list of words that are spelled correctly; however, there are times that I will confuse words. There are times that I spell a word correctly and it is not what I intended. I would rank myself as a fair speller that has learned that there are resources to support my lack of infinite vocabulary that I can spell. I know I am not alone in the world of less than stellar spellers but there is help out there.

Ginger software is the new tool on the market that supports struggling spellers like myself. It was first available in BETA then rolled out a complete working version this year. The software corrects spelling within context. For a struggling speller the English language has words that are regularly confused with each other. “Their” is a possessive meaning to belong. “There” is a place. Then you are the contraction “they’re” for they are. The English language is a challenge for students that struggle with writing. Ginger steps in and gives the student a helping hand in correcting word usage. It also comes with a grammar checker. If spelling were a person’s nightmare, the bully would be grammar. MS Word 2007 does a nice job at supporting minor grammar concerns. However, you need to know and understand what is being suggested to make corrections. Ginger software corrects full sentence instead of individual words. Instead of a snap shot of it gives a full picture of the students writing. The software also has text to speech built in. For a student that just needs that extra support for editing his or her own work or to listen to a-text without leaving the comfort of MS Word. For educators that monitoring their students’ progress in written expression, Ginger comes with a progress report. This allows everyone to see how the student is making progress in their writing with supports. You can download a trial of the software at . I often go to the website to load up a sentence that I need support with to their “try online”. It gives me the support that I am looking for without having all the bells and whistles of the software. Ginger Software has two options available for purchase: a monthly subscription for $5.90-$9.90 or a lifetime $79.20 to $119.20.

If you are looking for a free phonetic spell check tool, check out It was designed specifically for individuals with dyslexia. Ghotit has the same features as Ginger software. It corrects within context. The software does not correct grammar for ELL as well as Ginger software however; the spell check is in my opinion better. The feature that I like about Ghotit is that if Ghotit does not correct a misspelling the first time around, you send it through a second time and the software to generate another list of words. This is because the context of the writing has changed due to the corrections. As the context, changes so does the list of words that are offered. For a person that struggles with writing this can be a relief because I might escape the “try to spell it again”.

If you are using the web based Ghotit, you are limited to 999 characters. The plug in is currently in beta which attaches to the toolbar of MS WORD. The software has the added feature of text to speech and dictionary. The free online version does not have those available at this time. If you are a school, university or educational institutes the software will be FREE. All you have to do is give the software company your IP address. Then it can be installed on as many computers have as many users as you need. The individual only has to sign on with their log on and password for each computer. For home users the cost is $30.

Another of the features that Ghotit has that I like is that it links to Google images to give additional support to individuals. We know that not all words have pictures however, for images to appear for a word a student is trying to look up is helpful. Just a word of caution with images bewares of what may come up even for simple words like “was”.

I will have a more detailed review and comparison coming shortly.

Best Wishes,

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