The UDL Educational Technology Guide 2019-2020: Technology for Special Education

John F. O'Sullivan

Section 4 Text to Speech Readers


The number of programs that incorporate text to speech is massive. All the major operating systems have a program to read the text. There are many plug-ins or extensions for a browser that read the text. Optical character recognition allows you to take a picture and then have the text read to you. The technology is cheap, free, or you already own it. My advice is to look for what works best for you. Please understand if you want something read to you the hardest thing is deciding between a list of good options.



Microsoft Word Hidden Gem 

Yes, Microsoft Word has free text to speech. The program will read anything you type. This is very helpful for editing. A number of people can do better editing if the document is read to them. You do have to go into the setting to find it.

Here are the directions to enable this: 


Mac (Text to Speech) Hidden Gem 

Many Mac operating systems have text to speech. If you don’t have it, then download updates to your computer. 

Kindle Fire

A Kindle Fire will read to you with text to speech. The price is reasonable considering how much education gets lost if a child cannot read the textbook. The best part is the Kindle store on Amazon is the largest bookstore. You can download the book and read it now. As much as I have the reputation as being very much someone that likes the iPad, the Kindle Fire’s text to speech cannot be ignored. I have seen the new Kindle Fire for a little as fifty dollars. You can still pay more for a nicer version. 

Kindle Fire Accessibility 

How to turn this on. 

This is a list of versions that have text to speech. What you will find is that almost all versions have it if you buy a Kindle Fire. 

Narrator (Windows)

This will read your computer screen. It takes a little bit of time to get used to it. The program does work.



This is a screen reader for the Chrome browser.

ClaroRead for PC


Speechify - Text to Audiobook

You can turn text into audio with Speechify. The Chrome and iTunes app gets awesome reviews.

iPad Apps


Voice4u TTS: Type / Photo to Speak in 30 Languages 

With this app, you take a picture of a passage. The app translates the text and then reads it to you.

iPad/iPhone Accessibility 


Speak selection (iPad)

On an iPad, you can go into the general settings under accessibility and choose speak selection. When words are highlighted, you can choose to have the iPad read them to you. When you are in iBooks, you can highlight the text and then click on speak. The text will then be read to you.  


Read Aloud: A Text to Speech Voice Reader Honorable Mention 

Read Aloud is very good at reading webpages.

Select and Speak - Text to Speech Honorable Mention 

This text to speech app works with Google Documents.



This is a Chrome app that reads what you highlight on your screen. I have tried it, and it works. The app works in the Chrome browser. 


This Chrome app reads the words on your screen. If you want to have the website read to you, this is a good app because it works. The app works in the Chrome browser. 

Google Play



The high rating and the number of people that have downloaded this speaks for itself. 


eReader Prestigio: Book Reader

This is a highly rated eBook reader with text to speech that can be turned on. 


@Voice Aloud Reader

This app reads what is on the screen of your Android. 

Turn Text into Audio Files:


Upload a file to convert to MP3. 

Fram Text to Speech

Cut and paste text to create an audio file.

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