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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
about Text-to-Speech

What is text-to-speech?

Text reader software "reads" the screen using computerized speech. Some text readers highlight the text word by word as it is read. Many software programs also offer a variety of study tools, including electronic notes, highlighters, dictionaries, and more.

What is accessible text?

For text-to-speech to work, the text needs to be in an accessible format. This means that the text is presented on the screen and that you can select the text with your mouse. Accessible text is one of the four formats of AEM (Accessible Educational Materials). Schools are required by law to provide print instructional materials in accessible formats to students who need them. Learn more about accessible formats from the AEM Center.

How do you know who needs it?

As with all tools, students benefit when the tool is matched to the task at hand and their individual needs and preferences. All learning tools should be used in conjunction with authentic learning tasks. 

The  Universal Protocol for Accommodations in Reading (uPAR) provides a systematic method for data collection to determine how students perform using reading accommodations such as a text reader. If you want to start using this with your students, please sign up for an educator's account here.

How do I find digital text?

 Many internet sites provide informational text. Text-to-speech tools can easily read text from these sites. Here is a list of good sites for teachers. If you need digital text or audiobooks, here is additional information on where to locate them.

 There are also available resources for students. These sites are only for use with students who have a reading disability as defined by the Chafee Amendment.

How do I have the digital text read aloud by the computer?

You need something to read (digital text) and something that will read it (a text-to-speech tool). Once you have a file of digital text opened, you can utilize various text-to-speech tools to access the digital text, depending on where you are accessing the text. Please see below to see what text reader software is available in MCPS.

How do students access text-to-speech on an MCPS device?

Text to Speech is available to all students and staff in MCPS; below are the options available. Click on the tool to learn more. 

Does text-to-speech support writing?

When a student is composing writing, they can use text-to-speech to hear what they have written read back to them. This assists with editing and attention.