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Talking Word Processors

Text and Screen Readers

Scan to Speak

Screen Magnification

Readers for ebooks

Reading Sources

Reading Skills Development

Scan to Speak Programs

Frequently, 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 are necessary:

  1. The text is scanned into the computer
  2. Special OCR software translates it into digital format so it can be read and edited
  3. Text is copied from the OCR software and pasted into the Talking Word Processor
Printed Page arrow Word Processor Screen Shot
Step 1 arrow Scanner Step 2 arrow OCR image Step 3 arrow

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 Professional
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 computers.)

Kurzweil 1000 (Kurzweil Educational Systems)*
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)

Kurzweil 3000 (Kurzweil Educational Systems)*
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 scanner

WYNN (Freedom Scientific)
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.

Special Resources

There is a growing number of sites that offer scanned materials for students. Copyright issues are addressed at each site.

WATI's Scanned Text Exchange

Kentucky Scanning Network (coming!)

New York State Scanning Network (coming!)

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