Non-Literate Computing: Assistance in Reading and Writing

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader 'feckinbricks' writes:

" Dear Dennis

I am trying to find a program for a friend who cannot read or write in order to assist him in being able to use his computer -- and maybe even have the program teach him some skills in the process. He loves his computer but can not use it to the capacity that he would like to. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! "

My response:

Great question. There are two things that are universal when using a computer for literate and non-literate users: and that is it requires (and provides) both input and output in order to function.

Computing for Non-Literate Users: As Input

With respect to input: Dragon Naturally Speaking is a program that allows the user to speak into a microphone and have the computer convert the spoken words into type on the screen (for example: when compiling a document). Your friend doesn't have to learn how to type or spell to use this program -- and it could even help him to learn how to spell words.

There may be other, similar freeware available online that does this sort of thing, but Dragon Naturally Speaking is at the top of the list and most widely used program that converts spoken words into text.

Computing for Non-Literate Users: As Output

As for output: there are programs that can read documents and web pages aloud using computer speakers attached to the computer. We've discussed this in the past with respect to computing for the blind. Here are links to some articles we covered in the past with respect to this sort of thing:

Webanywhere Helps Blind Users Read Web Pages

Computing for The Blind

Alternative Suggestions from Readers

If anyone has alternative suggestions, I'd like to hear from you! Please email me your suggestion using the link below and I'll include an update to this page.

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