students need to have books or other printed material translated into digital
format to have the computer read the text aloud to them. To do this several steps
- The text is scanned into the computer
OCR software translates it into digital format so it can be read and edited
is copied from the OCR software and pasted into the Talking Word Processor
These are OCR (optical character recognition) software programs packaged
together with flat-bed scanners. They are sometimes referred to as "scan
to speak" products.
Scanner + OmniPage
Most scanners come bundled with OCR (Optical Character
Recognition) software that converts printed materials into editable text within
a word processor. Any scanner/OCR software bundle can be upgraded to Omnipage
Professional. While bundled OCR software is usually good, upgrading to the professional
version is better. You can scan directly into your word processor of choice and
then manipulate the text to make it bigger, eliminate some text, insert explanations,
etc. OmniPage Version 10.0 (Windows) also has a "Read Text Aloud" feature
that reads the scanned text.
With these bundled products, scanning text
into a word processor becomes simply a matter of selecting an item from the FILE
pull-down menu (for Windows-based computers) or from the APPLE menu (for Macintosh
Kurzweil 1000 (Kurzweil
When used with a flatbed scanner and synthesized
speech system, this software creates a reading tool for people who are blind or
visually impaired, by converting the printed sword into speech. Several excellent
speech synthesizer systems are available with Kurzweil 1000.(Windows)
For individuals with learning disabilities or a
reading difficulty such as Dyslexia, Kurzweil 3000 software improves reading speed
and comprehension by highlighting text as it is spoken aloud. Users can read along,
take notes, and highlight right on the computer screen. In this version, words
are highlighted in a contrasting
color making tracking easier.
* prices can include a color flatbed
WYNN lets you open a file and hear it read aloud or, scan
in a page using a flatbed scanner, and read that aloud. Once you open a page,
you can edit it by adding text or making corrections. And, you can alter the way
the page is presented on the screen as well as the way it is read aloud to you.
To help you study, you can insert notes and bookmarks, highlight sections, or
look up words in the dictionary. Files can be saved in a variety of formats to
use on other computers.
There is a growing number
of sites that offer scanned materials for students. Copyright issues are addressed
at each site.
Scanned Text Exchange
Kentucky Scanning Network (coming!)
New York State Scanning