Plurk Powwow - Text2Speech Software Solutions

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Earlier today, a colleague asked:
Anyone know of reading software that can assist students with disabilities, who need tests, reading selections read aloud to them?
Being totally ignorant in this area, I asked my network of folks (my PLN) what they knew. Via Twitter, no response.

Via Plurk, here are some of the responses that came about as a result, some of which I had never heard of! Thanks so much to all who responded!!
  1. Balabolka is a Text-To-Speech (TTS) program.  Read LifeHacker's review of this program. All computer voices installed on your system are available to Balabolka. The on-screen text can be saved as a WAV, MP3, MP4, OGG or WMA file. The program can read the clipboard content, view the text from DOC, EPUB, FB2, HTML, ODT, PDF and RTF files, customize font and background colour, control reading from the system tray or by the global hotkeys. Balabolka uses various versions of Microsoft Speech API (SAPI); it allows to alter a voice's parameters, including rate and pitch. The user can apply a special substitution list to improve the quality of the voice's articulation. This feature is useful when you want to change the spelling of words. The rules for the pronunciation correction use the syntax of regular expressions.
  2. Verbose Text to Speech Software -  Verbose is a text to speech software program which will read aloud any text or save it as mp3. 
  3. Kurzweil -  Kurzweil 3000™ is a comprehensive reading, writing and learning software solution for any struggling reader, including individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, attention deficit disorder or those who are English Language Learners (ELL).
  4. Natural Reader -  NaturalReader is a Text to Speech software with natural sounding voices. This easy to use software can convert any written text such as MS Word, Webpage, PDF files, and Emails into spoken words. NaturalReader can also convert any written text into audio files such as MP3 or WAV for your CD player or iPod.
  5. System Access to Go - Requires Internet Explorer
  6. Text to Speech on a Mac - "The Mac can read almost any text that you ask it do read.  It even reads the built-in calculator, dictionary, and word processing documents. Text-to-speech simply means the computer takes the text and speaks it out loud in a lovely computerized voice. Text-to-Speech Handout (PDF file)"
Update - Other solutions suggested via Tweet:
  • WordQ - Thanks to Layne Henn for this one!
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    Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


    Deryl said…
    Another commercial product worth considering is Read&Write Gold from TestHELP at
    RGW is a mature product capable of performing many functions related to Fluency.

    We've purchased site licenses of this product for each of our campuses and are in the process of deploying and training specific teacher groups.
    Ginger Lewman said…
    ...aaaannnddd that's why we Plurk. :-) Glad you could find some good leads!
    Tim Holt said…
    YTou asked a few weeks back about the difference between PLurk and Twitter. This is a good example.

    You need to read this as well:
    Dean Mantz said…
    This is a nice list of resource options from a great group of educators. Glad to know I am not the only one that asks questions on Twitter and not receive a response. That is why I am proud to say I "Plurk".

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