“Text To Speech” Can Be a Game Changer for Many Kids (& Teachers too!)
This post is the fifth in my “Using Google Voice Tools” Series. In this blog post series, we will have talked about three creative ways in which Google has woven Voice Tools into its suite of apps and how I am currently using them in my elementary classroom to empower student learning:
- Speech-To-Text (First Post)
- Text-To-Speech (Current Post)
- Voice Search Options (My next post!)
Among the many “Super Powers” available to us as educators using technology in our classrooms, I get almost giddy sharing Google’s Text-To-Speech options with you! Those of us that are currently teaching low-level readers or “English as a Second Language Students”, this function is truly a blessing. If you have not tried Text-To-Speech options, you are in for an “Ah-Ha! Moment” and I feel privileged to be the one to share it with you.
As the above image states, students may now have difficult texts read and even re-read to them while having the ability to personalize how that reading is performed. Amazing, right?! When I say personalized I mean students may select the text by highlighting it, select the readers’ voice with an accent and even the speed of the reader. Then watch the highlighted text and listen as the text is read to them in real-time. My students literally gasp and grab a pencil to write down important information when I show it to them for the first time. (Demo Video below)
My Favorite Text-To-Speech Tool is the TTSReaderX Extension:
*Free & Unlimited with no login required
*Natural Voice, pausing for punctuation and a new paragraph.
*You can control speech speed
*Reads in real time, highlighting text as it speaks in Google Docs & Slides!! ~ MY FAVORITE!
*Listen in one open tab and continue browsing on another tab
*Other languages offered to practice pronunciation
*Pause and resume play
*Remembers where you leave off so you can resume comprehension. Actually adds a few words to remind you where you left off.
*Restart or Rewind to go back and read from the beginning
*Once the page is loaded, you do not need an internet connection to listen
*Safe data security- Does not save what you listen to.
*You may need to restart computer to initiate use of extensions
*Click on extension options to set up preferences such as voice rate of speed, male vs. female, etc.
There are many options available to you in the Chrome Webstore to have texts read aloud to a student but TTSReaderX is my favorite among the ones I have tried.
Eric Curts, from Control Alt Acheive.com, has an extensive article- “3 Text to Speech Tools and 5 Ways Your Students Can Use Them” on other options. If you are unfamiliar with Eric’s work, you are in for a real treat. He is amazing!
In a previous post, I shared “Read to Me” Holidays Around the World Christmas Slides, which includes the use of the TTSReader Extension to read ANY Text on a website and even text from in a Google Doc or Slide, which is one of the major features that make this extension so unique. When using TTSReaderX from inside a doc or slide, you will need to copy the selected text and paste it in the pop-up box that is accessed by clicking on the extension icon.
My next post- Using “Voice Search” Options in Google Chrome will be the sixth and final post in this series. Which means that, as of the date of this post, I am almost finished with the complete set of slides for you to use in your classroom or for your school’s tech PD on using Google’s Voice tools.
I am offering a free complete set of Google Slides on this topic (They are still in progress) in my final post of this series. My slides – “Using Google Voice Tools” will break procedures down into bite-sized pieces, offer kid-friendly language and have all the links and images you see throughout this series.
I continue to receive an amazing amount of positive feedback on my “Google Basics For Kids” series, so thank you for the awesome feedback and keep the suggestions coming!
Please subscribe by leaving your email address at the right or bottom of this page if viewing from a computer, so you may be notified when updates are posted. If you are reading this article from inside your email or on a mobile device, click on the post title above that takes you to my actual blog post, then scroll to the bottom of the post where it says- “Sign Up To Recieve Updates Here” ~ Thank you!