Some learners find that hearing what is on the computer screen helps with the understanding of what is being read. Your browser of choice may have an extension or an add-in that will do this.
Google Chrome has several free downloads: Chrome Speak, Speakit and Natural Reader. If you are a Firefox user try the ‘FoxVox” extension. Text to Voice is another add-on which can be installed. It will appear in any tab in Firefox and will read the selected text.
The Read and Write extension is also a good option. The voices are in a clear Australian accent and the Toolbar has many useful choices – Picture and word dictionaries, highlighting and voice input and output. Full functionality is free for 30 days after which you can still use the text to speech option. See this short Youtube video of it reading the OLS.
There are no specific plugin for Internet Explorer which we are aware of, however Microsoft Windows offers text-to-speech functionality in the operating system and also in the Windows 8 and 10 store. Windows Narrator is a Microsoft text-to-speech product.
There are a few Toolbar programs that are very useful. The one we have found that reads web pages and Word quite well is ‘TextAloud 3’. With ‘Textaloud 3’ you can also save your speech files as an mp3. This allows you to listen to your work on your phone or audio device.
If you are a student with a disability and feel that these are not as useful as you hoped, there are other options we can review with you. For example if you require extra help with either language structure and/or your text read-out in an Australian accent, the OTEN Disability Support Unit may be able to loan you a copy of the program ‘Read and Write’.
‘Wordtalk’ is also a free add-in that works with Microsoft Word.
The Disability Support Unit has done extensive research in converting text to speech, so please feel free to contact us to explore your options further.
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