ReadSpeaker is a text-to-speech tool to help facilitate reading and comprehension. For student use, it is integrated directly into Brightspace with a tool for use outside Brightspace. Faculty and staff will all have access for use outside of Brightspace as well.
Why get excited about ReadSpeaker?
ReadSpeaker is a user-side tool which puts accessibility right at the students fingertips with the font size, colors, reading speeds, and other settings that work best for them. And it is not just for Brightspace! The TextAid tool and browser add-ons work outside of Brightspace for other essential reading and text.
Text-to-speech options like ReadSpeaker are not just for students with declared disabilities. They are for anyone that finds audio helpful for comprehension, note taking, and other reasons.
You don’t have to take my word for it, let’s hear directly from a Meredith student. Click the excerpt to see the full quote.
For me, which I have no diagnosed learning disorders, ScreenReaders are extremely beneficial.
“During the semester I use a screen reader up to several times a week. An estimated average of 2 – 3 times a week whilst classes are in session. I am a slow reader, so when a professor assigns what to them is an easy 20pg reading, it takes me over an hour to complete the reading whilst other classmates are able to complete the reading after about 30 minutes. I am unable to read and comprehend the material at the same time, I find that my mind will wander, causing me to re-read sections more than once in order to understand. Even then I still struggle to gain the deeper meaning in the text.
Using the screen reader allows me to listen to the audio and follow along on the screen. By listening and following along I have found that I am able to retain more information, take notes, and form conclusions while the audio continues. This allows me to complete my assignments in at least half the amount of time that it would have taken me to read the material. Not to mention I am more likely to complete the entire reading when using a ScreenReader versus stopping early or not even attempting the reading because of how long it would take. By using a screen reader I can also have more time to complete assignments for other classes in the same chunk of time that traditionally I would have blocked off just to read. For me, which I have no diagnosed learning disorders, ScreenReaders are extremely beneficial.“
Intro to ReadSpeaker Tools
This piece reads the text within Brightspace. It has a listen button embeded above the text with many adjustment options. In Quizzes, webReader will read one questions at a time.
This is for opening documents for reading within Brightspace and also has many adjustment options as well as highlighting. Supports document types made by Microsoft office (.doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .pps, .xlx, .xlxs), Open Office (.odp, .ods, .odp), and others (.rtf, .epub, and .pdf).
Check out this doc for differences between webReader vs. docReader. It also highlights each tools menu option buttons and what they do.
TextAid can perform the same text-to-speech reading and document highlighting but outside of Brightspace. It also has
- text read back
- spell checkers
- personal document or epub library accessible from any device
- talking calculator
Head over to the ReadSpeaker TextAid page for a short written description and video of each TextAid feature.
TextAid also has a browser add-on or bookmarklet available for reading web text. This YouTube video details how to install that for your devices.
How to log in to ReadSpeaker
Students & faculty
webReader and docReader are integrated into Brightspace so you just have to login to Brightspace to use them.
To access TextAid, sign in to Brightspace and click on the My Brightspace menu. Then choose ReadSpeaker/TextAid.
A TextAid account will be automatically created for you using your NetID credentials. After you have first created your account, you will be able to use your NETID and password to use the TextAid application and the browser reading options.
When you change your NetID password, you will have go to Brightspace and click through these steps again to resync your account.
Staff will also have access to TextAid from a link on the My Meredith portal. The link is titled “ReadSpeaker TextAid” in the Systems & Applications section. After you click the link, you will be signed in and redirected to TextAid.
Which ReadSpeaker tool do I use?
Confused which tool to use when? This is the workflow suggested for using Readspeaker in Brightspace.
- Look for the webReader listen button
- If that is not available, look for the docReader menu option
- If webReader and docReader aren’t available, use the TextAid browser option
You can also watch the video below to see this same workflow.
We’ll be putting out for information about ReadSpeaker on this blog but you can also head over to InfoBase Learning Cloud (formerly Hoonuit) to see the documentation we have available in our ReadSpeaker training module. You can sign in directly here or from the My Meredith portal.
Or browse through ReadSpeaker information in screen reader module of our Library of Accessibility Resources course in Brightspace.