Students can have text readers on the computer. All that is needed is software on the computer that is able to read the text. It is important to understand the format of the text. Many different types of text readers will only read certain formats. These readers will use the voices on the computer. Windows has microsoft voices Mike, Mary, Sam and Anna. Easy Reader by Dolphin has been purchased by MITS and distributed to school districts for free. This software will read DAISY formatted books (Bookshare, NIMAC). Each school district's Technology director has copies of Easy Reader. This program is similar to Read:Outloud (see below), but each has unique features. When you use Bookshare and are a member or sponsor, Reading tools (under Getting Started Tab at bookshare.org) can be downloaded. These include Read:Outloud and the Acapela voices.The cost of the voices ranges from free to $45.00 for each site license. Go to http://www.nextup.com and check out the different voices and pricing.
Balabolka is a free text and PDF e-reader that can be saved on a jump drive. It is run from the jump drive so it doesn't need to be installed on a computer; however, the computer must have a "voice" already installed. Balabolka also can create a mp3 file from the computer reading. Take a look at the PDF how to guide below.
Adobe Reader is software used to open up PDF documents. Adobe reader has a free reader, but is very basic. It doesn't highlight the text it is reading or give an option to select the text a person would like to have read. The reader will only read the page or the entire docuement. Most all PC computers have Adobe Reader on the computer. Feel free to download version 9.3 Adobe Reader a PDF file viewer for free. Adobe Reader will read a PDF file. Take a look at the PDF how to guide below.
Natural Reader A text to speech software program with a free version along with Personal($49.50) and Professional version($99.50). Natural Reader can read text files, MS Word files, Internet Explorer webpages, E-mails. Adjustments can be made on speed, voice,quality, and volume. This software also has a floating mini-bar. Take a look at the PDF how to guide below.
Read Please has a free reader and Read Please Plus with features like control reading from a system tray, adjustable voice speed, and low vision color option. Take a look at the PDF how to guide below.
WordTalk is a free text to speech plug-in for Microsoft Word. It will highlight and speak text aloud. There are settings to adjust the highlight color, voice and speed. This software will convert the text into wav or mp3 files.
Easy Reader by Dolphin has been purchased by MITS and distributed to school districts for free. This software will read DAISY formatted books (Bookshare, NIMAC). Each school district's Technology director in Ingham county has copies of Dolphine Easy Reader v.5. This program is similar to Read:Outloud (see below), but each has unique features. Take a look at the PDF how to guide below.
Voices: Picking up differnt voices is costly. The more you pay for the voices the more the voices sound more human. One of the best speech voices is the Neo Speech voice. Take a look at its website and see for yourself. http://www.neospeech.com/default.aspx
Students have a free national depository of e-books for the print disabled. Bookshare was created to stop redundancies of books being scanned and distributed to students. In 2007 special funding for the e-books from the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs made it possible for eligible students to have access to novels and textbooks. Students with visual impairments, physical disabilities, or print-based disabilities (Learning Disability in the 3 reading areas) are eligible to obtain digital books through Bookshare. Bookshare books gives the student access to the curriculum books, magazines, or newspapers. This site has a wide range of materials and many levels of reading. The e-books are in either DAISY or embossed Braille formats. In order for the books to be read on the computer's text reader software would need to be installed on the computer. Bookshare offers a couple options. Free software for reading DAISY digital books from Humanwares Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition or Don Johnstons Read: Outloud Bookshare Edition.
Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D):
RFB&D are audio books allow a level playing field for students to struggle to access regular textbooks and novels. These books are human-narrated audio books with descriptions of images, tables, and graphs. The audio books are created in DAISY and WMA formats. RFB&D Window Media Audio (WMA) can be played on a MP3 player. The DAISY formatted books will need a separate player that reads DAISY Audio downloads or CDs.