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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Dyslexia and Voice Dream Reader: Discussion and Demonstration with Winston Chen

This blog shares my most recent video podcast featuring Winston Chen, the author of my favorite app for readers with dyslexia.  This is the first of many free video podcasts for Go Dyslexia!

Winston founded Voice Dream while on sabbatical on an island north of the Arctic Circle and his flagship product Voice Dream Reader is an amazing technology device that offers text-to-voice for audiobooks, PDFs, and more.  This top-selling iOS app has a recent, free, comprehensive update with some new extraordinary features. Come learn about this creation and view a demonstration of this amazing tool that is changing the accessibility of text for individuals with dyslexia around the world.

Mentioned Resource Links:
Voice Dream Reader: http://www.voicedream.com/reader/
Voice Dream Writer: http://www.voicedream.com/writer/
Abbyy Fine Reader:  http://www.abbyy.com/finereader/
Scanner Pro 7:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scanner-pro-7-document-receipt/id333710667?mt=8
Cam Scanner:  https://www.camscanner.com/user/download
Snap to PDF:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/snap2pdf-scan-documents-share/id472940721?mt=8
Prismo: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prizmo-scanning-ocr-speech/id366791896?mt=8
Apprentice Alf:  http://www.epubor.com/apprentice-alf-drm-removal-tools.html

Best New Features:
1) Pac-man reading mode: The latest research at MIT and Harvard shows that anyone can double their reading speed with no loss of comprehension. This new technique combines audio, visual, and attention propulsion. The words disappear from the page slightly before they're spoken by text-to-speech, forcing the reader to read ahead visually with audio arriving a fraction of a second later. With practice, the results can be staggering.

2) Finger reading: Some readers struggle to follow even at the slowest speed, which also becomes distorted. With finger reading, the reader runs their finger under the words on the screen to hear each word.

3) Quickly browse text: On an iPhone 6s or 6s plus, you can press firmly on the fast forward button while the app is reading -- also called Force Touch -- to double the reading speed. Release it slightly to return to normal speed.

What’s New in 4.0.0 release of Voice Dream Reader?
•  A brilliant new user interface
•  Grid view and book cover images in the library.
•  Improved library organization: filters, flags, and sort order.
•  Visual appearance of the entire app uses the current color theme.
•  Experimental rich text
•  Support for images/illustrations for all documents.

Library Synchronization:
• Your entire library, including folders, reading locations, bookmarks and annotations are synchronized across all your devices using iCloud Drive.

New Reading Modes:
• Finger reading allows beginning reads to control the speed by running a finger under each word.
• Pac-Man mode. Harvard and MIT developed speed-reading method for everyone to read at 2x speed with no loss of comprehension.
• Sentence mode. Speech pauses at every sentence. Useful for beginning readers.
• Repeat mode.
• Option to rewind to beginning of the last sentence when you pause.

New Voices:
• Alex, free, high-quality voice in iOS 9.
• New premium child voices from Acapela in US, UK, Australian English, US Spanish, and German.
• Acapela's new flagship German voice: Claudia.
• Emotive variations of Jeroen, Antoine, Margaux, Dimitris and Will.

Other New Features:
• Set PDF margins to exclude text in header and footer.
• Up to 4X speed for recorded audio.
• Support for 3D Touch, split-screen multitasking, and Spotlight search.
• Safari extension to save Web pages and Web addresses.
• Evernote file attachments.
• Background download for files and voices.
• More accurate language detection.
• Option to hide header and footer in full-screen mode.

What do you think of Voice Dream Reader?  Share your comments and stories below!

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.com, www.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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