At a Glance
ReadPal Reader has an impressive pedigree, having been developed in affiliation with the National University of Ireland, Galway. The program works with certain Microsoft programs to display text in easy-to-read formats that help people with poor eyesight or learning differences like dyslexia or attention deficit disorder. ReadPal Reader is also useful to readers who have a hard time reading text on screen.
The program offers three Reading Modes: Banner, Sentence, and Column. Banner Reader presents one or two words at a time. Sentence Reader presents the text one sentence at a time and allows you to click to advance. Column Reader presents the text in one or two narrow columns at a time. All formats present light gray text on a black background, in a large font. You can adjust the font, type size, colors, and reading speed as you wish. There's also an AutoSkim function that strips out words deemed unnecessary, such as prepositions, in order to increase reading speed. (The makers of ReadPal Reader have also developed a comprehensive Speed Reading program, available online for $79.)
In my tests ReadPal Reader worked well in Internet Explorer and Word, although in the default window display the right and left edges of sentences were cut off. Switching to full-screen mode solved the problem. Since the ReadPal Web site says the program works with text files, I tried running it in WordPad and Notepad. It worked fine in Notepad, but crashed WordPad. I also tried ReadPal Reader in Adobe Acrobat, since the program's documentation mentions PDF files. Unfortunately, the program was not compatible. Since I do not use Outlook or Outlook Express, I could not test ReadPal Reader's effectiveness with e-mail messages.
People who have reading difficulties will likely benefit from ReadPal Reader. The program is free for personal use, and $39 for businesses and other organizations.