"All Minnesotans have a right to learn to read proficiently, reach their full potential, and contribute to society."
MN DA Proclamation, Oct 2009
Mac OS X
If you can highlight it, Mac OS X can read it back to you. Mac OS X has built-in Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology that requires little configuration and speaks selected text or an entire document. TTS works with all applications that support the Mac OS X Speech engine—including Mail, iChat, TextEdit, and Microsoft Word…in fact, nearly any program that allows the user to select text (including today’s most popular browsers). Both Apple Leopard and Snow Leopard operating systems feature the voice of Alex—what’s been called one of the most realistic synthesized human-sounding voices in existence. Those with language-based learning disabilities benefit greatly from Alex’s near human-like voice. According to Apple, Alex is so natural “that he even breathes when speaking long passages.” Mac OS X allows you to adjust the voice and speaking rate for all its voices (including Alex). The fully adjustable speaking rate is a critically important feature to help accommodate APDs, or to ensure optimal listening comprehension.
For more information, or to hear Alex speak, visit Apple's webpage on Accessibility/Literacy and Learning here.
Windows XP, Windows Vista & Windows 7
Both Windows XP and Vista operating systems offer built-in TTS technologies. According to Microsoft’s website, “The Text-to-Speech tab in the Speech tool in Control Panel presents the options for each TTS engine.” For information on how to configure and use Text-to-Speech in Windows XP and in Windows Vista link to Microsoft here. Windows 7 users, link to Microsoft here.