ICT Tip: ReadPlease text-to-speech voice synthesis

28 Jun

Quick overview: A desktop application that will read back any written text in a synthesized voice.

How can it be used in the classroom? In a nutshell, ReadPlease is a free software application allows your students to type in single words or full sentences and then hear it spoken back through the use of computer generated voice synthesis. The computer will read aloud phrases or words that are typed in. This can help FSL or Literacy students with their pronunciation and oral comprehension.

Why should I use it? If you look through the rest of my Blog, you’ll notice that I’ve already highlighted the AT&T Text to Speech Website that does pretty much the same thing as “ReadPlease” without requiring you to install special software on your school’s computer. Heck, the voices on the AT&T Text to Speech Website even sound more realistic! At this point, you may ask why would I even mention the “ReadPlease” software in the first place? Well, ReadPlease has a few advantages over other voice synthesis applications. In fact, some FGA teachers I’ve spoken to prefer to use “ReadPlease” in their classroom for a couple of good reasons:

  1. ReadPlease allows you to control the speed of the computer’s voice as it reads back the text. You can slow things down for students who really need it.
  2. ReadPlease highlights EVERY word as it reads it aloud. This makes things MUCH easier for students to follow along.
  3. ReadPlease does NOT rely on a stable or fast Internet connection. In fact, once it’s installed on a computer or notebook, you don’t even need to be connected to the Internet!
  4. ReadPlease allows you to download other language “vocabulary packs” so that ReadPlease works in French too.