Read Entire Text Aloud
This feature involves a text-to-speech engine that reads the text aloud. This may be implemented in a number of different ways – as a built-in text-to-speech reader in the operating system, as downloadable screen reader software (including OCR software to access image of text) that operates on the user’s machine, or as a remote text-to-speech service that receives text online and returns a spoken copy as an audio file.
The way that text is read may vary depending on the implementation and the user group. This approach simply reads the entire text of the page aloud and works in conjunction with simplified navigation techniques of screen readers.
Discussion by Disabilities
It’s beneficial to read text aloud, including alt texts for images, in conjunction with navigation features.
People with low vision may want to read text aloud and highlight each word as it is read.
Cognitive, Language, Learning Disabilities & Low Literacy
- Read text aloud, highlight each word as it is read.
- Read words aloud when they are pointed to or highlighted by the user.
- Slowly pronounce difficult words on demand.
- A computer with this feature can be used as a communication device – by reading words aloud after they are typed by the user.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
A computer with this feature can be used as a communication device – by reading words aloud after they are typed by the user. This allows a person who has poor speech (due to hearing difficulties or other reasons) to communicate easily with their peers.
This listing includes a wide range of products, from screen readers, to simple text-to-speech utilities, to large literacy suites that include a text-to-speech application. Please note that these products are not necessarily endorsed by RtF, but represent the range of available options.
Many operating systems, including Windows Vista and Mac OS X, include limited built-in screen reading ability as well.
Open Source and free
These products are free and their source code may be modified with few restrictions.
- ATalker – ATutor, ATRC at University of Toronto
- ATbar – ATbar, University of Southampton
- CliCk, Speak – CLC (Charles Chen)
- EmacSpeak – TV Raman
- FireVox – CLC (Charles Chen)
- MozBraille – Cedrik Chek, Mozdev
- NVDA – NVDA Project
- Orca – (open source), Sun
- Power Reader – Project: Possibility
- PowerTalk – Fullmeasure.co.uk
- RoboBraille – RoboBraille Consortium
- Simultaneous Stanza Reader – MikeyBeeSoftware
- WebAnywhere – U. of Washington, Jeff Bigham
Free, not necessarily open source
These products are free to use, but may have strict restrictions on viewing and modifying source code.
- System Access To Go – Serotek
- WebVisum – WebVisium
- GhostReader – Origin Instruments
- MathPlayer – Design Science
- Natural Reader Text-to-Speech – Natural Soft
- UltraHal – Zabaware
- WordTalk – Call Centre
- Read The Words – Educational Utilities LLC
- ReadPlease – ReadPlease Corporation
- iSpeech – iSpeech, Inc.
- Text to Speech – Smart Link Corporation
- TALKBACK – ANDROID
- CHROMEVOX – CHROME
Commercial, with free trial
These products are free to try for a limited period of time or with limited functionality. They must be purchased for full functionality.
- 2nd Speech Center – 2nd Speech Center
- Ace Buddy – Zero2000
- Adept1 – Amazability
- Aurora Suite – Aurora Systems
- BrowseAloud Toolbar – textHELP
- ClaroRead – Claro Software
- CoolSpeech – ByteCool
- Dolphin Guide – Software Express
- Dolphin ScreenReader – Dolphin
- Eurovocs Suite – Jabbla
- F123 Visual System – F123 Group
- JAWS – Freedom Scientific
- Kurzweil 3000 – Kurzweil Educational Systems
- Literacy Productivity Pack – Premier Literacy
- OpenBook – Freedom Scientific
- Read & Write – textHELP
- ReadSpeaker webReader (reads websites)
- ReadSpeaker TextAid (personal online reader)
- Scan & Read Pro – Premier Literacy
- ScienceWriter – CAST
- TextAloud – Nextup.com
- Virgo, Cobra – Baum
- VisioVoice, iVox – AssistiveWare
- WordQ – Quillsoft, Bloorview Kids Rehab
- WYNN – Freedom Scientific
- ZoomText Magnifier/Reader – AI Squared
Commercial, no free trial
These products must be purchased to be used, and did not offer free trials at the time of posting.
Related Research and Papers
- WebAnywhere: a screen reader on-the-go – University of Washington – Bigham, J.P. and Prince, C.M. (2007)
- Towards one world web with HearSay3 – University of Washington – Borodin, Y., Bigham, J.P., Stent, A., and Ramakrishnan, I.V. (2008)
- A flexible VXML interpreter for non-visual web access – University of Washington – Borodin, Y. (2006)
- AxsJAX: a talking translation bot using google IM: bringing web-2.0 applications to life – Chen, C.L. and raman, T.V. (2008)
- Csurf: a context-driven non-visual web-browser – University of Washington – Mahmud, J.U., Borodin, Y., and Ramakrishnan, I.V. (2007)
- VoxBoox:: a system for automatic generation of interactive talking books – University of Texas, Dallas – Jain, A. and Gupta, G. (2006)
- Ongoing investigation of the ways in which some of the problems encountered by some dyslexics can be alleviated using computer techniques – University of Dundee – DIckinson, A., Gregor, P., and Newell, A.F. (2002)
- Dyslexia, eLearning and eSkills, (Pgs 84-90) ‘Supporting Dyslexic Adults in Higher Education’ – University of Southampton – Draffan, E.A. (2012)
- Southampton Accessibility Tools presented at 8th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility – University of Southampton – Wald, M., Draffan, E.A., Skuse, S., Newman, R. and Phethean, C. (2011)
- Assistive Technology for reading – Cumley J. (2009)
- Technology tools to support reading in the digital age – Biancarosa G, Griffiths GG. The Future of Children, 22(2), (2014)
Related content in the DeveloperSpace
- What are Learning Disabilities?
- Accessibility on Android
- What is Digital Literacy?
- What is Deaf and Hard of Hearing?
- What is Cognitive Disability?
- What is Blindness?
- What is Low Vision?
- How the blind use technology to see the world