How Do I Use the Read Aloud (Text-to-Speech) Tool?

The "Read Aloud" text-to-speech student tool lets your students select blocks of text from the uploaded background, and have them read aloud in the voice of their choosing. Each word is highlighted as its read so they can follow along. They can even set the speed of the reading. It's a great tool for those who benefit, or even require, that on-screen text be read to them, and can serve the same function as most adaptive screen readers.


Enabling Read Aloud

Enable Read Aloud as an assignment option. Just check this box when you're creating or editing an assignment:



You can turn on Read Aloud for existing assignments by navigating to the Activity Detail page (where the list of Assignments appears) and selecting "Edit Assignment" from the triple-dot menu to the right of the Assignment name.


What Students See

With Read Aloud enabled in their assignment, students will see a new tool at the top of their submission. It looks like this:


When a student clicks that icon, the Read Aloud box will appear to the right of the activity and the cursor will change to a cross. The student will click and drag their mouse to highlight a block of text. 



When the student releases the mouse, the system will take a second to extract the text from the background, then start reading it. If the text doesn't come out right, have the student draw a larger box, making sure they cover all the ascenders and descenders of the text. Read Aloud uses "optical character recognition" technology, and might occasionally produce imperfect results, especially if there are images, blurry text, or extraneous marks on the background. It only reads English.



Reading Teacher Text

The student can also read any Teacher Text blocks that you have added to the activity. They should first select the text or portion of text they'd like to have read, then click the Read Aloud tool icon to hear the text. The selected text will be copied to the Read Aloud box and the audio will begin. 


Audio Control

The computer will highlight each word as it is read. The student can pause and restart the reading using the audio controls, and change the voice and speed of playback. The voice and speed are remembered from play to play, but not between sessions or multiple assignments.


The Read Aloud Box

The student can move the Read Aloud box by clicking and dragging anywhere on the title bar, or enlarge it by clicking the box icon. 


When done, the student can close the Read Aloud box if they wish, or just leave it open, and select another block to text to hear it read aloud.


Conclusion

Read Aloud will really help your students that need audio, and save you the time and effort of recording it yourself!

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