The Reading Machine
Download - Register
Get your Macintosh involved with reading at home or school! Take advantage of the many e-texts, articles, and presentations on the internet to enrich reading experiences.
The Reading Machine displays text files at a steady pace in any of three reading environments. Students can easily customize the reading experience with resizable viewing areas and a style shortcut palette for quickly changing colors and fonts. Afterwards, readers can test themselves on the material they've just seen. These tests are created on-the-fly by the computer; no need for humans to type in questions!
The Left to Right method helps readers practice eye movement and steady reading pace. A viewer sweeps from left to right, revealing only a section of the current line of text. Some projection machines have this capability--now you can do it on the Macintosh!
The Scrolling Up method shows one continuous page of text that scrolls past vertically at a steady rate.
The Book method offers a familiar reading environment without the constant motion of the other reading methods. A marker indicates which page the student should currently be reading to help keep pace.
For added fun, The Reading Machine can read aloud using the Book reading method.
Readers can choose the reading voice, pitch (high or low) and reading speed. (Try listening to 500 words per minute for an earful!)
Choice of colors, text styles, and reading
The reader can choose any font, size, text style, and color for the text and set a color pattern for the page background using menus and color pop-ups.
Too much work? I agree! Once you have your favorite font, color and style set up, you should have them always. Just drag your settings from the reading area to the Styles window and they'll be saved and ready to apply themselves with just one click! The Reading Machine comes with several style shortcuts already set up for convenience. You can even choose whether to apply both colors and fonts from style shortcuts, or just to change colors without affecting the font that you've previously chosen!
All of the reading environments can be resized with the mouse to customize the area of the screen where reading takes place.
Built-in Automatic Testing
The Reading Machine isn't just a page turner! And you don't need to type in the questions, either! The software takes care of that by examining the text and creating its own test problems for any combination of fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and paragraph ordering quotas that you desire.
Of course, this automatic testing won't replace your own comprehension questions! Rather, it will help to give readers instant feedback on how well they can process and remember the wording and order of the text. Students can easily re-read and re-test until they feel satisfied with their reading.
The testing environment was carefully designed to offer easy interaction with keyboard control as well as mouse control, allowing multiple ways to accomplish the same action according to personal preference. The reader gets fun and useful feedback with visual cues, speech, and sound.
After downloading a file, administrators can use a text editor such as BBEdit Lite to take out the line breaks and any unwanted text and make any other preparations for using the file. Editing the file to your liking can be done prior to having students read the file.
However, The Reading Machine offers some lightweight file capabilities for convenience:
Removing linebreaks from files that conform to the general electronic text standard of a blank line between paragraphs. (For other files, use a more advanced text editing application.) You can then save the files sans linebreaks.
Removing HTML tags.
Removing public announcements from Project Gutenberg files.
Readers can set bookmarks and search for a
phrase in the text they are reading.
Help is never far away. The Reading Machine offers balloon and voice help for timely assistance--just point at an object to hear or see a simple explanation. A built-in user guide is available for deeper contemplations.
The Reading Machine is shareware ($20 US). It comes in Demonstration mode, which lets you try all of the features, but limits reading variety to three demonstration texts.
You can register by secure web page, e-mail, FAX, postal mail, or phone using credit, U.S. check, money order, or First Virtual. Registration is handled by Kagi. After registering, you will receive a key code to unlock the software.
Then you can use The Reading Machine with all of those great texts available on the internet!