Reading Online Books Aloud

Give your kids the option of having the computer read the online books aloud, in order to preview material, access text beyond their normal reading level, or just get help with specific words.

On the PC, download the free utility “Read Please” as follows:

  1. Paste your digital text into Word
  2. Go under Tools to Speech.
  3. Go to Tools > Options > Advanced Speech > Text-to-Speech where you can change the voice used and the voice speed.

The Language Toolbar allows voice recognition with playback, handwriting recognition and text-to-speech. It doesn't highlight the words as they are read, but it is helpful to expose students to text-to-speech. (The handwriting recognition and voice recognition are also pretty cool.)

FYI - Word XP or Word 2003, both have text to speech built in to the program.

There's another free utility from Microsoft called Microsoft Reader that will highlight words as it reads them, which can be very helpful. Books pre-formatted for Microsoft Reader can be downloaded from the University of Virginia Library’s “Free Ebook Library.”

Submitted by:Lisa Wahl, Consultant
Julie Duffield, Research Associate, San Francisco CA
WestED's Technology to Support Diverse Learners site

Next Tip: Online Readers for Macs