Using Text-to-Speech (TTS) narration has been found to be helpful for struggling readers in the areas of increased reading rate and improved reading comprehension. Although it has been around since the 1960s, it has become cheaper and more accessible to the general public in the past decade. Now, there are user-friendly technology tools to support reading available for free when using Google Chrome. To find several of these accessible extensions go to the Chrome Web Store, and at the left navigation sidebar, select Extensions and search text to speech free. Explore to find the perfect fit for your student.
Two add to Chrome tools to consider using with your student:
- Read & Write for Google adds accessibility features to Google docs such as text to speech with dual synchronized highlighting, and also provides study skills tools, a talking dictionary, and a picture dictionary.
- Natural Reader Text to Speech highlights words or sentences as it reads. Have webpages, Google Docs, email, news, etc. read aloud. Magnification and Dyslexia font included.
Gonzalez, M. (2014). The effect of embedded text-to-speech and vocabulary eBook scaffolds on the comprehension of students with reading disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 29(3), 111–125. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov.
Moorman, A., Boon, R.T., Keller-Bell, Y., Stagliano, C., & Jeffs, T. (2010). Effects of text-to-speech software on the reading rate and comprehension skills of high school students with specific learning disabilities, Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 16(1), 41-49.
Roberts, K., Park, H.J., & Takahashi, K. (2010). Effectiveness of text-to-speech software features for improving vocabulary, reading comprehension, and reading rate of culturally diverse high school students in Hawaii. In D. Gibson & B. Dodge (Eds.). Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 1606-1611. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/33587.