Yearly Archives: 2010

Oct 17th 2010

October is dyslexia awareness month

Did you know that about 15% of the population suffers from dyslexia? Do you know what percentage of US entrepreneurs have dyslexia? 35%! The simple tasks we all learn at an early age of reading and writing do not come naturally to people with dyslexia. They end up trying to do things differently and find creative solutions to problems. These are some of the well known innovators and business leaders who have dyslexia:
• Sir Richard Branson
• Ted Turner
• Walt Disney
• Erin Brockovich
• Albert Einstein
• Thomas Edison
• Tommy Hilfiger
• Winston Churchill
• Henry Ford
• Agatha Christie
During the month of October there are conferences all around the US promoting, awareness, research, and early identification of dyslexia. Ginger Software will be participating in the following conferences and would love to meet with you there:

October 14-15, 2010, Drury Lane Conference Center, Oakbrook Terrace, IL

October 22, 2010, Hilton’s Somerset Double Tree Hotel, Somerset, NJ

October 27-30, 2010, The Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ


October 30, 2010, Sheraton Framingham Hotel and Conference Center, Framingham, MA

If you would like to join the Ginger Software team and help us raise money to support IDA’s important work, helping people with dyslexia all over the world please go to:

See you in October,

Miki Feldman-Simon

VP US Operations, Ginger Software Inc

Leave a comment

Sep 12th 2010

Ginger Software partners with IDA

Ginger Software has partnered with the International Dyslexia Association, IDA. IDA will be holding their annual conference in Phoenix Arizona this October. Everyone registering to the conference can receive a FREE copy of Ginger Software. To find out more information about the conference please visit:

Ginger’s revolutionary technology was developed specifically to correct the kinds of spelling mistakes commonly made by people with dyslexia. Other spell checkers are unable to correct the creative spelling errors that people with dyslexia make. Ginger provides a life changing experience to people with dyslexia, enabling them, for the first time to work efficiently and independently.

The IDA conference has been a great event for us to meet face to face with the people that we have impacted their life. Experiencing people’s reactions to our software has been a most gratifying feeling. I have watched people’s mouths drop as they are amazed by Ginger’s capabilities. I have been hugged numerous times by excited people. Sharing this excitement with our customers has made all the hard work worthwhile.

This year we decided to partner with IDA and provide each person attending the conference in Phoenix a free one year subscription to Ginger.  The IDA has provided a valuable resource to people with dyslexia as well as to research in the field and we are proud to be taking part in promoting this cause.

Ginger Software will also be sponsoring the 2nd Annual Dyslexia Dash. We would like to invite you to join us all, walk, jog, or run through beautiful downtown Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, October 30, 2010 @ 7:00 a.m. To learn some more about the Dash:

To join the Ginger Software team and help us raise money to support IDA’s important work, helping people with dyslexia all over the world please go to:

To read some more about how Ginger Software helps people with dyslexia click here.

I look forward to meeting you face to face at the conference. I hope that many of you will join the Ginger Software Dash team as we walk/run and jog the 5K and help IDA raise much needed funds to support their work and the lives of people with dyslexia.

See you in October,

Miki Feldman-Simon

VP US Operations, Ginger Software Inc.

1 Comment

Jun 24th 2010

The Benefits of Text To Speech

Believe it or not, one of the most common questions I am asked is in regards to Ginger’s Text To Speech feature. For those that are new to interacting with individuals who have learning difficulties, they are often not aware how beneficial Text To Speech can be for this group. To clarify, Text  To Speech, often written as TTS, is a technology that converts written words into speech. Using computer speakers, TTS allows the writer to hear the text they have written. At times, there is debate as to which Text To Speech technology is the best. Ginger Software’s TTS is powered by Acapela – the leading Text To Speech provider in our opinion, which is also favored by the LD community.

On the surface, some may think that Text To Speech only provides the ability to hear the text that is written. While that is one benefit, there are actually many more benefits which stem from TTS. Using Ginger Software, a student who may have dyslexia is able to write a sentence and then listen to their writing. This enables them to decide if what they have composed is correct. If they are not sure, they are able to choose a word from the list of alternative choices (shown below), which are also supported by TTS, to swap into their sentence. The user can now listen to the same sentence with the alternative word used to really decide which word would be the best fit for their sentence.

Not only does Ginger’s Text To Speech offer the ability to enhance sentence correction, but for writers who struggle with pronunciation, they are also able to hear proper word pronunciation. This is very helpful for building better speech and literacy skills. While using Ginger’s TTS, users will watch as each word being read is highlighted, enabling the user to visually identify and match sounds to words. Through auditory repetition users with LD are able to hear the each word they struggle with, in the end improving their speech.

Ginger provides its users with the ability to hear the initial sentence they have written- which will be read phonetically, as well as the sentence with all of the suggested corrections. This enables users to really identify the errors they have made and improve their writing. A Ginger user needs to simply click on the corresponding speaker icon shown below to hear either their initial sentence or the corrected sentence.

Additionally, Ginger provides a number of Text To Speech options. Users are able to increase or decrease the reading speed allowing them to find a comfortable pace to work with. Finally, Ginger also offers a variety of voice options such as male and female, adult and child, and US or UK accent providing users with the customized experience necessary in these modern times.

To learn more about Ginger’s TTS capabilities visit our Text To Speech Page.

Remember to stay current on Ginger Software follow us on Twitter of Fan us on Facebook

1 Comment

Jun 17th 2010

Using Grants to Fund Innovative School Programs & Services

Brian S. Friedlander, PhD

To say the least, these have been challenging times for schools. Schools across the United States are feeling the impact of the recession and the tough economic climate. This has had a significant impact on budgets; schools are in a position where, unfortunately, they have had to cut teachers and services to students in their school districts.  It would seem that just as we are about to round the corner and are making strides in improving the achievement of students in our schools, the rug has been pulled from under us. Schools will have to do more with less. Many institutions who find themselves in this position have been looking for grants and foundation money to help support their programs and provide quality education services to their students.

During this past year, I have been able to provide assistive technology consulting services to many schools under President Obama’s, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. One of the priorities under this Act was the purchase of assistive technology and professional development to insure the equipment was being used properly. Many schools that I have worked with have budgeted for the purchase of assistive technology software and services which truly support students in the classroom. While many schools have already planned how they will be spending their grant money, there is still one more year under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for schools to invest in assistive technology and professional services. Now is a great time to sit down with your stakeholders and look to see how you can support students in the mainstream with assistive technology. Using programs like Ginger can help support students in the mainstream and assist them in their written language skills. Teachers who are using Ginger in the classroom could use the Frequent Error Reports to easily track students’ progress and the errors they make. Having a snapshot of each student’s errors is a great way to chart their progress and provide them with the personalized instruction that they need. The reports also provide great visibility to the levels of writing of all the students in the school, providing principles and administrators with valuable statistics on the amounts of text written, the kinds of errors all students are making, and their progress. Administrators can identify effective instruction methods which may be adopted school wide. In order for schools to become more efficient, they will need to look to instructional and assistive technologies that can provide students with the support they need and educators with the data to support it.

As school budgets continue to shrink, it will become more important for schools to take advantage of grant and foundation money they can use to support their assistive technology programs. In recent months, many states have applied for the Phase 2 of Race to the Top Funds, which was designed to promote State Departments of Education to adopt new policies and practices for school wide reform. Phase 2 of Race to the Top Fund is a $3.4 billion dollar grant that will be awarded at the end of the summer. It is important for educators to be aware of these programs and start a dialogue as to how this money will be spent for new and innovative educational practices. Some schools will be using this money to purchase computers and software- a great way to support students in the mainstream. To keep abreast of grants and other funding resources you may visit:

Leave a comment

May 12th 2010

Making Ginger’s Frequent Error Reports Work for You!

In December we announced how Ginger Software Now Can Provide You with Statistics & Reports in a dedicated blog post about this handy new feature. Now, we would like to give you a few pointers on how to utilize Ginger’s reports to your advantage!

To begin understanding the power of Ginger’s reports, one first must understand that Ginger allows you to sort a report by time frame. Meaning, as a parent or educator you are able to look at a child or group’s report for yesterday, last week, last month or the last three months. This is ideal for tracking a student or child’s progress who may be on a RTI (Response To Intervention) or an IEP (Individualized Education Program). Simply clicking the ‘Save’ button shown below enables Ginger users to export the report they are viewing into MS-Excel for future reference. Being able to track a student week by week allows you to witness improvement and progress in their writing over time.

Another very simple way to use Ginger’s Frequent Error Reports is to track the correct word column. Commonly, while working with an individual who has dyslexia, they often have a very expansive verbal vocabulary. Though, when you track their written vocabulary, they may play it safe and choose words that are easier to spell. Knowing that if they choose a simple word, they can get relatively close to the correct spelling and then Microsoft’s Spell Checker may pick up the error and correct it for them. By simply tracking the correct word column, you are able to tell if the user is beginning to use more complex vocabulary.

Due to the fact that Ginger corrects on sentence context, users are able to attempt larger, more complex words that they would have avoided while solely using Microsoft’s tools.

Another wonderful advantage to using Ginger’s Frequent Errors reports is to export and save each student’s weekly report in MS-Excel. Once in Excel, you are able to use any of the program’s features to learn more about each Ginger user’s writing. For instance, once in Excel you can simply sort the corrected word column and watch for commonalities. Recently, I had a conversation with one teacher who said that she would sort the correct word column and look for patterns. With one particular student using Ginger, she found that each time a word beginning with the ‘ph’ sound such as ‘physical’ or ‘physics’ was used, the child would spell it with an ‘F’. This is a great example of an error that a traditional correction tool will not pick up, but one that Ginger will find. After seeing this, the teacher knew that she needed to spend additional time on this particular word sound.

Finally, one last simple feature that can be used is Excel’s charting capabilities. Below, you see my personal chart for how many Grammar & Misused Word errors I have made versus Spelling Mistakes in a given week. This is ideal to visually represent to a child how many mistakes they are making and how they are improving week by week.

1 Comment

Apr 8th 2010

Conference Season Draws To An End

In November the Ginger Team prepared for a whirlwind 6 month tour of the United States with a quick hop over to the UK to cover all of the exciting conferences we had booked ourselves for. Speaking for trade show employees’ at large, attending conferences as a company is an immense undertaking. There is definitely more planning and coordination required than it may appear to the casual onlooker. With that said, there’s certainly not a more rewarding experience that an employee can take part in.

Working in sales, you’ll often hear that interacting with customers can be quite the experience, admittedly, good and bad. Customers have the unique ability to make your heart race and put a smile on your face at the same time. Though, it’s through customer interaction that sales people grow, and most importantly products improve.  Customer feedback is imperative to the growth of products, as well as for new developments. There is no better way to obtain this information than to go where the customers are.

Traveling to six large conferences has been a way to understand which customers are interested in specific Ginger features and what aspects of Ginger garner the most applause. This information is both very interesting and helps move the software forward in a way that will please the most customers and prospective customers. While traveling to the 2009 IDA conference, Ginger’s ability to decipher unusual spelling mistakes and correct multiple errors within a sentence was a major crowd pleaser, as most of the attendees worked with or were the parent of a child who has dyslexia or a similar learning disability.

While at the very large BETT show in London, Ginger Premium’s Text-To-Speech (TTS) ability was an absolute necessity for many of the English Language Learners attending the show, as it enabled users to hear the difference between their initial sentence which contained all of their errors and the corrected sentence. Ginger’s Text-To-Speech (TTS) feature is ideal for helping users learn pronunciation and key in deciding between the appropriate words when looking at Ginger’s alternative correction options. Ginger’s TTS was also highly coveted amongst the many low visions users who visited Ginger’s booth at the 2010 CSUN show.

I’d have to say when it comes to assistive technology, there are so many products on the market that it can be difficult to stand out from the pack. This becomes especially evident at large conferences. However, due to Ginger’s consistently accurate corrections of spelling errors and grammar mistakes  that those with learning difficulties often make, we soon become the buzz of the crowd.  Anyone specializing in teaching disabilities is happy to come and see a Ginger demonstration, and even happier when they learn about Ginger’s Frequent Error reports. These are reports that educators and AT Specialists can use to actually see which errors a student is making, and in turn, use them to guide their day to day instruction.

Over the past six months, the Ginger Team was able to demonstrate new features and improved corrections from show to show. While the conference schedule for Ginger Software slows down, with only one remaining trip to San Francisco for the PEN EdRev 2010 (Parents Education Network) show at AT&T Park on April 17th, 2010, the Ginger Team is already looking forward to another busy conference season in the fall.

Remember to follow Ginger on Facebook & Twitter to stay current with Ginger Software.

Leave a comment

Apr 1st 2010

Presenting With Confidence

In today’s competitive education and business worlds the need for outstanding presentations has become a staple for both professionals and students. Whether it’s for a marketing update to the top clients or a presentation on The Great Gatsby in English class, the use of PowerPoint has become more prevalent than ever. Understanding the importance of flawless presentations, Ginger has just released a new software update enabling the correction of spelling, grammar, and misused words with MS-PowerPoint.

Shown below Ginger correcting within MS-PowerPoint.

Working with Ginger Software while using MS-PowerPoint is no different than other Ginger supported applications. Simply click F2 and watch as Ginger corrects your text in a single click! To see other screen images of Ginger Software working with other supported applications, like MS-Word, MS-Outlook, & Internet Explorer please visit the Ginger Software Facebook Page.

In the most recent software upgrade, Ginger launched an awaited new feature; the ability to edit text while in the Ginger toolbar. This new feature, shown below, allows users to make simple changes to their sentence such as pluralizing objects, as well as more advanced edits like continuing a sentence. To edit within the Ginger Toolbar simply click on the pencil highlighted below, adjacent to the approve button.

A fun fact about this new feature is that it was actually a customer suggestion our developers brought to life.  Remember that the Ginger Team is always eager to hear your suggestions to continuously improve upon the Ginger platform and developing solutions that fit your needs. To submit a new feature, please visit the Contact US page found on

Leave a comment

Mar 9th 2010

Using Inspiration, Word and Ginger to Support Writing

One of the challenges of working in the field of assistive technology is figuring out how various tools can work together to support students with writing disabilities. Written language is an extremely complex and demanding task that assumes that the student has a good foundation in organization, grammar, mechanics, idea,  and punctuation. If you are a good writer you take for granted all of  the sub-skills that are needed in order to get your ideas down  in a coherent fashion. For students that struggle with written language writing an essay or book report can be a frustrating and daunting experience. For many students whom I have worked with, written language is their weakest skill and one of their least liked school activities. So then how can we provide these students with some scaffolding and supports to help them to be more successful when doing their school writing projects? As an assistive technology consultant I am often asked by teachers and schools to help them match the students learning profile, the tasks, and recommend some tools that can support the student in the area of written language. Many students with written language disabilities often have difficulty starting their writing assignments and often need some software applications to help structure the task and help them move through the process.

In my professional experience software tools like Inspiration are wonderful for students who need the opportunity to brainstorm and need a more structured approach to their writing assignment. Inspiration is an ideal tool for brainstorming and freeing up the students to get their ideas down without the need to be concerned about the order or structure of their ideas. Using the RapidFire feature within Inspiration is a great way to engage students in the process of creatively getting their ideas down on the screen before setting off to write. The latest version of Inspiration now supports mind mapping and allows students to create visually appealing mind maps with the flexibility of allowing students to move their ideas around freely in the mind map. Giving students this freedom allows them to work with their ideas and organize them into a more coherent piece.

For students who may need more structure and support Inspiration can provide that as well. Many teachers that I have worked with using Inspiration, have developed their own writing templates which can provide students with the inspiration1.pngnecessary prompts to help engage them in the writing process. In the screenshot provided you can see how one teacher provided a structure for a basic paragraph. Teachers can create frameworks for their students depending on the type of writing assignment that can go a long way in helping students to break down the task as they move through the writing process. Teachers also have access to a rich array of built-in templates that they can draw from and are easily accessible from within Inspiration. For students that need text to speech support that is available within Inspiration and can be easily accessed by students. Once students access the prompts that has been created by their teachers they are ready to get their ideas down. Inspiration is a very flexible tool and students can add their ideas into the mind map or into a more traditional outline. Whichever method they choose, they will be glad to know that their work will be saved and can be transferred to Microsoft Word. Students also have the option to add Sticky Notes and Audio notes to their graphic organizer which are just two other ways for them to get their ideas down before they begin to do more traditional writing. It is important when using Inspiration in the writing process to help the students understand that while it may seem to them like one more step that in the long run when they use this strategy that they will become more proficient and productive writers.

For students who have moved through this process and transferred their written work from Inspiration to Microsoft Word they will immediately see the benefits. Some of the students will have the “Aha” moment when they see how quickly they were able to put a draft together. Working within Microsoft Word  the students now have access to a suite of tools and features that will let them flesh out their written work.

For students that need more spelling and grammar support- they can look to Ginger to provide it. Ginger is an easy to use spelling and grammar correction tool that is unique in that it looks at words that are misspelled in the context of the sentence. So unlike typical spelling correction inspiraitonarticle2.pngtools that just check for common spelling errors, Ginger helps to support students by looking at the word in the context of the sentence.

With Ginger’s powerful algorithms and text to speech support students can feel confident that what they hand in is correct. With so many wonderful tools out there for students to access to support their written work it is great to know that Inspiration, Microsoft Word, and Ginger can work so fluidly with one another to support the writing process for student with writing disabilities.


Feb 22nd 2010

Ginger’s Two Continent Tour

Most would expect to witness the height of European fashion while traveling to London. Though, on Ginger Software’s recent trip to the UK, not only did they launch the next big accessory, but they had an overwhelming debut at the 2010 British Education and Training Technology Exhibition in London.

2010 was Ginger’s first year at the BETT exhibition, and while we did not actually launch a fashion line, Ginger did have one of the hottest giveaways at the show. The ‘I Love Ginger’ tote bag went form a novel idea to the must-have item of the show.

Giveaways aside, the Ginger booth, located in the special needs section of the exhibition, was busy from the start of the day until the end. Unlike some of the other shows that Ginger has participated in, BETT resides on the international level and was a wonderful opportunity to really spread the word about Ginger. The show attracted educators, assistive technology professionals, parents and many more! For the first time in Ginger’s history we also provided our FREE 14-day trial to visitors to our booth, in the form of a disc.

To see more pictures from BETT, go to the Ginger Software Facebook Page.
After returning from London, Ginger took a short hiatus before departing for the 2010 ATIA Show (Assistive Technology Industry Association) in Orlando; a welcomed trip out of the cold Boston, MA weather where Ginger’s headquarters are located. Like BETT, ATIA was another great show for Ginger to participate in, drawing crowds from around the United States. This year, Ginger was lucky to have Brian Friedlander, fellow Ginger Blog writer on hand to assist in their booth.

Not only did Brian assist at the booth, he also made a presentation during one of the breakout sessions about the up-and-coming Assistive Technologies on the market, Ginger included of course!

Where is Ginger’s next appearance? At the 2010 TCEA Show in Austin, Texas from February 8-12, 2010. Remember to stop by the Ginger booth if you are attending. We will be in booth 1652.

Remember to follow Ginger on Twitter, we always tweet live from the conferences!

Leave a comment

Jan 24th 2010

What’s in Your Assistive Technology Reading Toolkit?

By Brian S. Friedlander, Ph.D.

A lot has changed since I entered the field of assistive
technology, owing to the fast pace of technological innovation. Years ago if
you wanted to make text accessible to students with reading disabilities it was
a rather arduous task of physically scanning the book using a flatbed scanner.
Today there are many ways for students to access books without the need to scan
a single page. The choices that you make will often depend on the availability
of the book and the service that you are a member of. To begin the process you
will have to decide whether you want to have your audio book to be read by a
human reader or read using synthesized text to speech. Next you will have to
weigh how important it is for you to be able to access the audible book on a
portable device like an MP3 player or on a your personal computer. Once you
have made some of these decisions you can begin to sort out the various
services to access your novels and textbooks.

for the Blind and Dyslexic, which happens to be located in Princeton, NJ has
one of the largest holdings of chapter books as well as textbooks which are all
recorded by human readers in their recording studios. Each book is recorded and
supplied to students on a CD in their AudioPlus format which can be played on a
specialized CD player which is available from RFB&D or can be played on a
personal computer with the appropriate software application. When playing the
audible book on the computer or specialized CD player, students can quickly
navigate to a page in the book and can change the pitch and rate of the reading
speed. Students with reading disabilities can follow along in their book as the
book is being read- which is highly suggested. RFB&D recently instituted
AudioAccess, which allows RFB&D members to download audio textbooks and
literature directly to a Windows®-compatible computer. AudioAccess books
are easy to use and can also be played on a Windows based MP3 player making
this a truly portable alternative.

Effective August 2006, legislation was passed by Congress
that would require textbook publishers to provide their current textbooks with
a copyright of 2006 or greater in a standardized National Instructional
Materials Accessibility  Format (NIMAS).
The NIMAS format which was jointly developed by a consortium of textbook
publishers and the Center for Applied Special Technology would allow students
to have a range of accessible audio textbooks. Last year, Bookshare was awarded
a large grant from the US Department of Education to provide accessible books
utilizing text to speech technology. Bookshare has a large selection of the
NIMAS formatted textbooks available and ships free reader software with each
subscription. Bookshare is now a free service to schools and gives students
with I.E.P.’s and who have a “print disability” as defined on the Bookshare web
site with access to their books and free reading software. School districts can
sign up for institutional accounts and certify that the students who are
included on the roster have a “print disability.” Once  the account is processed students can gain
access to downloading their chapter books and textbooks from the Bookshare
website. Students can have access to VictorReader Soft or Read:Outloud
Bookshare Edition to access the NIMAS formatted books. Students using the
Bookshare service need to be comfortable listening to text to speech. There are
many different speech engines available
and students should preview them to determine which one is the most
understandable for them.

has certainly received a great deal of media interest in their latest reader
called the Kindle 2 which was recently released. At just 10 ounces and a 6 inch
diagonal screen the Kindle 2 can store over 1,500 books which are available
from the vast library. With the new text-to-speech feature, Kindle
can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you, unless the
book is disabled by the rights holder. The text-to-speech feature is very well
integrated into the Kindle and the quality of the voice is quite good. The
Kindle 2 really opens up access to those students with reading disabilities
with an elegant and easy to use device. With an account, books are
easily downloaded to the Kindle over the free 3G network for which there is no
charge. The Kindle 2 gives students access to the latest bestsellers using high
quality text to speech technology. Just last week Amazon announced the release
of the Kindle DX which they are piloting with select colleges. The Kindle DX
has a larger format and is intended to be used to access newspapers and
textbooks. Amazon will be testing out how college students can use this
technology to access their textbooks. With the cost of college textbooks and
the merging of this technology- it is clear that someday soon, all students
will access their textbooks utilizing Kindle based technology of one sort or

Finally, for some students who need to be truly engaged in
the reading experience there is none better than having access to gives students access to a wide range of novels, chapter books ,
and bestsellers which are all professionally narrated and can be played on an
iPod. This is a very engaging medium and having the portability of your books
on your iPod is very appealing. With an account books are simply
downloaded to your computer and transferred to your iTunes library for easy
transfer to your iPod. This is certainly a viable alternative to making text
more accessible.

a couple of weeks ago Intel announced the Intel Reader which is a small
portable device (1.4 pounds) with a camera with built in optical character
recognition (OCR) and text to speech support. It is hard to imagine all of the
technology that is built into this device that can be used to quickly OCR a
document and have it read almost instantaneously. At a price point of $1500
dollars the Intel Reader is moderately priced for such an assistive technology
system. The Intel Reader can also be purchased with a Portable Capture Station
making it relatively fast for the student to capture the pages. The Intel
Reader has a 5 megapixel camera with a built-in flash that can quickly process
the pages and begin to read even before the entire text is converted. From all
reports the text to speech engine is pretty good and the user can make
adjustments to the speed at which the text is read. By all accounts the Intel
Reader is a technological marvel for students with reading disabilities that
need to have access to a portable tool to convert the text.

As you see a lot has changed as advances in mainstream
technology have taken a foothold in
making text more accessible for students with reading disabilities.
Certainly there are pluses and minuses with each of the technologies and it is important
to weigh them before committing to one solution or another. In certain
instances you may need to rely on several of the aforementioned solutions as
part of your assistive technology reading toolkit. If you have questions about
these technologies please consult with your child’s Child Study Team who can
help guide you through the decision making process.