Text to speech reading resources in school libraries can be a powerful avenue of reinforcing students’ reading skills, particularly exhibition of text to speech videos that highlight words as they are read aloud. Librarians/instructors already utilizing the technology typically use Smartboards or projectors to magnify text to speech stories and other content from relevant websites; and students may individually access the websites from computers or ipads in their school or a public library and/or from computers or ipads in their classrooms (with instructor approval) and from their homes, etc.
School and public libraries should also make text to speech ebooks or stories or links to ebooks/stories available on their respective websites for during and after school access. Text to speech DVDs should be available for checkout for those who lack computers at home, but are in possession of DVD players.
Text to speech reading material may also be customized via Microsoft Word* and/or text to speech software (*To utilize the text to speech feature in Microsoft Word 2010 open a Microsoft Word document. Click on “File,” and scroll down to and select “Options.” Next click on “Quick Access Toolbar.” Click on the drop down arrow under “Choose commands from” and scroll down to and select “Not in ribbon from the dropdown menu.” Select “Speak,” and click “Add” and “Okay.” The Quick Access Toolbar, which resembles a dialogue balloon, should be viewable above the toolbar at this point. Highlight any word(s) and click the Quick Access Toolbar. The computer, or an automated speaker will recite the selected text at this point).
Text to Speech Audio Braille or other Touch and Feel Learning Resources
Utilization of text to speech audio braille or other touch and feel learning resources (i.e. standard touch and feel alphabets and words) in schools for the visually impaired or schools generally with students who are visually impaired would teach visually impaired students to read with the same efficacy as standard text to speech programs (*Braille and/or other touch and feel learning resources, including standard touch and feel alphabets and words, should be a required component of learning for visually impaired students).
The more students are shown (or feel, as for the visually impaired) words read aloud the better they’ll remember them and learn to read or improve their reading skills. Some especially animated text to speech programs may not be as effective, however, if the text is exhibited or moves too quickly for students to read along with, or if multiple or groups of words are highlighted as read; students best learn what individual words are when words are individually highlighted as read. Audio braille or touch and feel reading resources would likely work best where particular letters and/or words are recited only as touched.
Ready Availability of Alphabet to GED Text to Speech and Other Reading Resources
Text to speech* and other reading resources should be readily available in public libraries, and at all reading levels, alphabet to GED, for the benefit of traditional students and adults at various levels of learning, from homeless individuals who have never set foot in a school to the GED ready (*The text to speech reading material would be optional, or utilized as needed).
Speech to text and other reading resources in public libraries, in adult and juvenile correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and other synonymous agencies would not only help to further improve the reading skills and academic performance of traditional and other students and prospects, it would be a major stride towards a wholesome solution to illiteracy and social ills such as poverty, violence, etc. that are resultant of it in our communities and the world as a whole.