Sep 1, 2010

Two Websites for independent online reading...

In my line of work, I always encounter articles that offer ways or tools to help students develop literacy skills. Some articles present and describe online materials or web sites for those who wish to develop and improve reading comprehension. One article titled "Vocabulary Support for Independent Online Reading" offers just that kind of information. It describes two websites that can help students read on their own. I am posting it here because I find the sites useful when reading foreign texts without the hassle of opening up another browser for a dictionary or translator site. Besides, I can use them for future references.
Here are the two sites: Ultralingua.net and WebDecoder section of WordChamp.


1. Ultralingua.net is an online tool that uses the hypertext nature of the Web to provide exactly this type of support. Filtering articles through Ultralingua.Net will give students interactive vocabulary help by turning every word into a link that opens a pop-up dictionary entry for that word. Languages supported by Ultralingua currently include English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese. By inserting the URL (Web page address) for a magazine article and selecting "English definitions" or any language for the pop-up dictionary selection, a copy of the article will be displayed with hypertext links of the words. Clicking on a word will open a pop-up window with vocabulary support in the form of an English or any language definition. Ultralingua also offers regular dictionary lookup for individual words, verb conjugation assistance, numbers, and online grammar references. As indicated above, texts in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese may be read with Ultralingua support.

2. WebDecoder section of WordChamp is another good service that also uses pop-up windows. WordChamp's pop-up dictionary help for online Web sites is freely accessible, though some of WordChamp's other features require creating an account. As with Ultralingua, the user provides the address of the Web page to be read and then WordChamp turns the words on the page into active links for the pop-up windows. Rather than having to click on the word, WordChamp pops up the window as soon as the mouse moves over the desired word. In terms of the number of languages supported, WordChamp outperforms Ultralingua. But they're both easy to use.

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