Add a New Tool in your Student Success Toolkit! Read&Write Gold available free to all students, staff and faculty at UK

Looking for some tools for creative studying techniques as you encourage your students to achieve higher standards in your classes? Looking for some visual-oral-verbal communication strategies to support better critical reading and scholarly writing by your students? Then start thinking about how your students can use Read&Write Gold. Want your students to be sure and learn from your notes or from an article you loaded up for them to read? Encourage them to use R&WG to convert it to an .mp3 file to listen to while they are working out in the gym or commuting from home. Want your students to use an expanded vocabulary in a more meaningful way? Encourage them to use R&WG’s word banks and vocabulary list builder. You have a large lecture class but want each student to know you’re personally thinking about their success? Use the voice notation tool to insert audio files into their drafts (and yes, you can use copies of your favorite versions of a commonly needed comment without limits – either way, the student hears your voice and inflections in relation to their own work).

Using it, learners as well as researchers and instructors, can:

  • use a phonetic spell checker and word prediction that is smarter than any mobile device we currently use for creating texts;
  • select choices more quickly (depending on learning style or comfort-level with the language) using a picture-based dictionary, fact-finder, talking calculator or a translator;
  • review and remember more deeply by converting a “wall of text” into a sound file (.mp3), an image (e.g., screen shot of a table) into narrative or a .PDF file to be read aloud, or a long audio file into a text-based version to read;
  • expand reading comprehension and writing abilities by using a vocabulary list builder, concept mapping, screen masking, word bank;
  • create a more nurturing learning environment between instructors and students by using the built-in voice notation tool and highlighting.

Dr. Deb Castiglione (UK’s new Universal Design & Instructional Technology Specialist) says that Read&Write Gold can be used by students, staff, and faculty to facilitate learning, accessibility, efficiency, effectiveness, and overall success. It can be a great tool for ensuring that your class includes universal design principles. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) was inspired by the “universal design” concept in architecture, “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design” (Ron Mace, North Carolina State University). The intent of universal design is to simplify life by making products or environments usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost, benefiting people of all ages and abilities. Here’s an article that shows how UDL is more encompassing than special accommodations for learners with a disability:

In a learning environment, universal design means providing participants with multiple means of representation, engagement and means of expression throughout the learning process. It means using varied formats (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, numerical, narrative etc.) for delivering content; individual and social engagement options; and choices of modalities through which students can demonstrate learning comprehension. (Romy Ruukel, “A Case for Accessible, Usable and Universal Design for Learning” Inside Higher Ed, 3 June 2015,

In other words, UDL is based on the neurological research, for example out of the Center for Applied Special Technology, showing that learning is different for every individual student. The goal is to integrate flexible approaches for learners (and teachers) into instruction, study strategies and assessments that reduce barriers while still maintaining academic rigor and high standards. See more about Deb and the initiative involving this software at the CELT blog post: Instructions from the UK Academic Technology Group are available on their training website:

Read&Write Gold is now available to all students, staff, and faculty who are part of the UK community.

CELT, UK Academic Technology Group, and PresentationU! here in UGE are in the process of developing educational and support materials. Any suggestions you may have as we move forward with Read&Write Gold are welcome. If you have any questions or would like additional information, feel free to contact Deb Castiglione in the Center for the Enhancement of Learning & Teaching (CELT), 518 King (Science) Library or call her at 859-257-9685.



About UK Student and Academic Life

Undergraduate Education is now recreated within the Division of Student and Academic Life in the Provost's Office at the University of Kentucky.
This entry was posted in College/Career Readiness, Diversity, Educational Technology, Retention, Student Success and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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