As the school year ends I find myself thinking about all of the great books that I can’t wait to catch up on during the summer. Reading is a great escape, and after the work they’ve done all year, I always advise my students to go enjoy some good books during the summer. Unfortunately, there are several students that aren’t always capable of reading at grade level, which means they won’t be able to read successfully on their own, or read something that will be engaging to them. The problem isn’t just at the elementary level, which is why Read Please has a great tool to help students.
Using synthesized voices, Read Please can help struggling or emergent readers read almost any electronic text. By copying and pasting text into the program’s reader, it can help readers that don’t always have someone to sit down with them by reading words or sentences out loud. It helps improve fluency, word recognition, and can enable older students that might feel “goofy” about carrying around early reader books to read more engaging texts from websites, eBooks, or stories other students have typed. While there is a fee for a more robust version of the software, it’s possible to download a free version with limited functions and voices.
Those of you with Macs, however, can use the built in voice feature of Mac OS. Just open up the TextEdit program, and type or paste what you want to be heard. Then click on the Edit menu and choose Speech>Start Speaking.
I wish I had known about this during the year. I had a student who needed to have everything read to her. Her mother is really good and does most of that herself. I provided the tape of the textbook and even bought a book on CD for her to help get through it. This would have been good for all the little pieces of reading we did that I photocopied and weren’t in the textbook. Good idea for next year and I might even send the mother this link!
Sorry it came too late to help out this year, but at least you’ve already got ideas on how to use it for next year 🙂
Stop back from time to time, subscribe to one of the feeds, or join the forum if you’d like to share or discover more resources this summer.
There are other great “read-along” products out there! Such as Don Johnston’s Read:Outloud program and Start-to-Finish Audio and Computer books written by literacy experts and authors specifically for struggling readers. Their website http://www.donjohnston.com offers free audio lessons created around Universal Design for Learning strategies. Check it out!
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