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Friday, June 20, 2014

Using Free Mac Text to Speech to Edit Student Writing

For many students, it is a struggle to edit one's own writing - if it is even done at all.  We all tend to read what we have written the way we meant to write it, and it’s easy to scan over misspelled words, word omissions, improper word choices and more.   Typos like “form” instead of “from,” will never be detected by a spell check and these types of mishaps can be very difficult to notice.  However, activating text to speech on the Mac can really help with the editing process.

What is Text to Speech?
Text to speech is an assistive technology device that allows the writer to highlight text and with a simple command, the computer will read your writing aloud.  It uses computerized speech, but there are a couple voices that are quite realistic.  
How Can I Use This Technology on My Mac?
  1. Go to system preferences.
  2. Select “Dictation and Speech” which offers a microphone icon.
  3. Select a "System Voice" (my personal favorite is Alex), and pick a speaking rate by sliding the icon between slow-fast.
  4. Select the check box next to “Speak selected text when the key is pressed."
  5. Select the “Change Key” button and make your preferred selection.  Let me suggest using the control key and the letter s).
  6. Now, select the text that you want the computer to read and hold down the control key while selecting the letter S.
What Else Can I Use Text to Speech for?

If you find text on the Internet, and you would like your computer to read it to you, all you have to do is highlight the desired text and hit the control key while selecting the letter s.  You can also use this to edit your emails.  I do it all the time.

I hope you find this helpful!
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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