To listen to this post:
In Windows, click <FUNCTION> + <F9> to open Immersive Reader. Then click on Read Aloud.
On an Apple Computer, instructions are here.
On an iPhone, follow this link. On my old-ish iPhone, it is just tolerable.
As at December 2021, the Windows built-in reader edges out Apple for listenability, but this is a tech race so improvements should continue for all players.
Many of us struggle with dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia, or other learning challenges. If this includes you, please reach out to me and to our Registrars. I can steer you to some work-arounds (see below) and put you in touch with current or former students who would love to chat. And our Registrars can help you apply for special consideration in your studies and your exams – things like extra time or even a scribe for exams.
And take heart! Several students with ADHD, dyslexia, and other processing challenges have successfully completed their degrees at Moore.
Below are tips from some of these students. I have not used these products, and neither I nor Moore College endorses them. I share them because fellow-students have found them helpful. If you know other useful resources or tips, please email and let me know so I can update this post.
The dyslexic advantage: unlocking the hidden potential of the dyslexic brain is in hard copy in our library. Last time I checked, this is not available in electronic copy in Australia – a shame, as its target audience would best be served by electronic copies, which can be read aloud with software.
One student recommended this as his favourite, saying that The Dyslexic Advantage has shifted thinking from helping people ‘do things like others’ with technology and other aids, to ‘embracing the way a dyslexic mind works’. He loved it and gained much from it.
For taking notes and studying, the same student recommended Bullet Map Academy. It claims to be ‘Ideal for Dyslexia, ADHD and Dysgraphia — Any age, Anywhere.’ He tells me it was developed for people with dyslexia. He loved it as well, and went all the way through Fourth Year of College with it.
Earlier this year, an informant emailed me:
. . . I’m well versed in text-to-speech software and I recommend three different options.
The first and easiest is, if they have an iPhone or iPad it can be set up to read the screen in the accessibility menu. Once set up, all you have to do is swipe two fingers down the screen and it will read what’s there including PDFs, Kindle app, etc. This is free and Siri reads pretty naturally.
[Gordon’s comment: If you are an Android user and find a similar tip, please let me know so I can share it.]
The second option is Natural Reader which is also free as an app and links to cloud folders for easy transfer. I used this for a couple of years at college and it was really good, I then found an even better one.
The best one is Voice Dream. Voice Dream costs money but has so many features that are very helpful for College. If you have an iPad you can read along with the app as it highlights each word or line and highlight what you want. The highlights can then be exported as a copy of the PDF or just the highlighted sections, saving a lot of time. The app can also make quick scans and read them back instantly.
I would encourage starting with a free option then if it works well move to Voice Dream.
NB: Voice Dream runs on iOS and iPadOS only. So you need an Apple device.
He also commented that these apps can turn College readings into audiobooks.
Apple has its own software for dictating written text. But there are many competitors, and they often get better reviews. Google Mac dictation software reviews.
MS Windows and MS Office also offer built-in read-aloud and dictation technology and other helps. The Office software appears to work on Windows machines and on Apples:
Read-aloud: Listen to your Word documents (microsoft.com)
Other helps: Accessibility Features | Microsoft Accessibility
To listen to a web page in MS Edge, CTL+Shift+U start the voice and highlights the text.
And if you want to get rid of visual distractions on the page, then FUNCTION + F9 opens the Immersive Reader for compatible pages, and provides read-aloud options there.
I just had it read a web page for me, and it read aloud reasonably well in an Australian accent that it had already picked out for me. It also highlighted the text, allowing me to follow along.
As with Apple, the in-built product is perfectly good for basic purposes, but other software may get better reviews. Google and read review of Windows dictation software to find the current products.
Microsoft also has its own software for dictating written text. One review as at Dec 2021 rated the Windows 10 version much better than the Windows 11 version, but I am sure that will change.
Google Windows dictation software reviews when you need more than this.
General tips on using dictation software are included in this review. Scroll down a bit. That is followed by advice on mics if you are more than an occasional user.
And of course, if you know of other useful books or software, please let me know, so I can update this post.
Academic Support Coordinator