Text to Speech


Text-to-Speech

Why consider Text-to-speech (TTS)? Two reasons -

1. It is essential for struggling readers; when text is digital it is now accessible and removes decoding issues.

2. it supports the writing process, especially when editing and revising work

Mobile Devices

  • iOS Devices have Speak Selection (TTS) with highlighting built in for iPads running iOS 6 or 7. You must turn it on. Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection > On > Highlight Words. Adjust the "Speaking Rate" to what works
  • For "on-the-fly" immediate Optical Recognition of Text and then use text to speech, check out:
    • Speechify - developed by a Brown University Graduate who is dyslexic.
    • Seeing AI - Developed by Microsoft for the dyslexic and visually impaired
    • Office Lens ---> Immersive Reader Feature, also developed by Microsoft

Computer Resources

  • Without a doubt, the BEST option is the Read and Write for Google Chrome extension. It's the reason to use Chrome. Show every student! They can listen to their work as part of the editing process. AND, it adds a browser add-on which allows you to listen to any text read to you, single words, paragraphs or whole pages. (And the premium version is ALWAYS free for teachers)
  • Immersive Reader/Learning Tools by Microsoft - Microsoft now offers Office 365 and OneNote free to students and teachers
  • Speechify - Check this out - developed by a Brown University Graduate who is dyslexic. It is device agnostic and worth exploring. My son, who is dyslexic, loves this tool.
  • Capti - Explore the free option. Can save an Add to Capti bookmark and then open the text on your mobile device.
  • Announcify - a Google Chrome Extension which reads any website. One unique feature - it blurs the paragraphs that aren't being read so you can focus on the paragraph that you are listening to.
  • SpeakIt!-free for the Google Chrome browser. Supports multiple languages
  • Balabolka- Free text-to-speech download, can also download a portable version that runs off a USB thumb drive.can save as wav or MP3 file.
  • DSpeech- scroll down for a very cool free text-to-speech AND speech-to-text tool. PC only
  • My Study Bar - includes text to speech features, PC only.
  • Natural Reader - another free text-to-speech software program which converts any written text to speech (Word, pdf, websites, emails)
  • Orato - (scroll to the free download) PC only. allow for color choices, highlighting of words or sentences as they are read.
  • PowerTalk - free text-to-speech for PowerPoint presentations
  • Read The Words - Register first, upload file or choose text or website to read, a recording is generated which you can listen to online or download to an mp3 player, upload to a blog, etc. Very Cool tool worth letting your students explore.
  • SpeakingFox - a free Firefox extension for the Mac which converts text in Firefox to audio
  • Spoken Text - online text-to-speech MP3 converter
  • ReadPlease- there is a free version and a pay version.
  • Simultaneous Stanza Reader - SSReader is a free large font reader for Macintosh OS X that speaks text files aloud and displays the text stanza-after-stanza, simultaneously. The program works well with free books from Project Gutenberg. Watch a quick introductory Video here
  • The Freedom Stick - download PC or Mac Version, provides a full suite of accessible supports
  • Voki - a free program that allows educators and students to create and share online avatars using text-to-speech technology. Voki works from any and anyone can place a voki in a blog, website, or send in an email. Voki is being relaunched now (late 2010) and is offering more tools for educators.
  • WordTalk - a free text-to-speech program for the PC that works within WORD and Outlook and highlights each word that is read. Includes a talking spell checker and a talking thesaurus. WordTalk was upgraded in January 2009 and now includes the ability to save, and you can convert your text file to a wav or MP3 file. Makes this free download even more valuable. (Seems to be trickier with Office 2010 and Vista or Windows 7)
  • YakIToMe! - Listen to important documents, PowerPoint presentations, emails, RSS feeds, blogs and novels. YAKiToMe! is multi-lingual (English, Spanish, French ...) and brings you the world's best text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis technologies. Easily converts to podcasts.


Free Speech-to-Text (Speech Recognition)

  • It is built into Windows and Mac Operating Systems.
  • It is built into Google Docs. Toolbar > Tools > Voice Typing
  • If your student has a Smartphone, it is built in. When you are connected to wifi, use the microphone key on the keyboard to use it. To turn on speech recognition, go to Setttings > General > Siri > ON
  • With Google Search on smart devices, Google Voice is available - allows you to speak your search.