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

Note: Our databases are adding text-to-speech features for their articles. Check out Joyce's blog post. Ask your librarian if the school offers any of the Gale products with text-to-speech features.

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

Computer Resources

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Click,Speak - a free Firefox extension that reads the Internet and highlights phrases and sentences as it reads
  • ClipSpeak - a free, open source program for Windows that does not require installation (so can be run from a USB key!) Once running, just use CTRL-C to have the text read to you. Use the right CTRL key to stop. Use the right Shift+CTRL key combination to toggle on and off. Can also export the selected text as an MP3 file.
  • DSpeech- scroll down for a very cool free text-to-speech AND speech-to-text tool. PC only
  • Fox Vox - a free Firefox extension, highlight the text, right click and choose Speak Selected Text
  • iSpeech - converts web pages to audio.
  • 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)
  • Odiogo- free text to speech for your blog (turn your blog into a podcast)
  • Orato - Orato.png(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.
  • Read&Write for Google Docs - Chrome Extension. When you use Google Docs/Drive in Chrome, you can access dual highlighted TTS with this Chrome Extension.
  • SoundGecko - instantly converts any article into an audio file. Can listen to the article online, or any mobile device.
  • SpeakIt!-free for the Google Chrome browser. Supports multiple languages
  • 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
  • Text to Speech (offers a variety of languages)
  • 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 7 and 8 and Mountain Lion Operating Systems.
  • Talk Typer - Text to speech software in a web browser. Easy to use and readily available.
  • DSpeech- free text-to-speech AND speech-to-text! PC only
  • If your student has a Smartphone, it is probably built in.
  • Speech Recognition is built into the latest iPod Touches and iPads. 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. This is what it looks like on the iPad:
Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 7.09.31 AM.png