Essay by ssittonA+, November 2014

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Sue Ellen Sitton

EDAK 501

Action Research Paper


In their paper, "Can You Read Me Now? The Practical Use of Text-to-Speech Software to Improve Reading in Middle School Students," Patricia Arter, Jane Helman, and Hollie D'Agata discuss the usefulness of text-to-speech software, with a focus on Kurzweil 3000, as a means of helping middle school students increase reading fluency and comprehension. The program, purchased and use predominantly by schools, "enables any electronic text to be read aloud through computer-synthesized speech" (Arter et al., 2010). Texts can either be uploaded via an existing PDF or hand-typed into the program. "Kurzweil 3000 enables the student to read, listen to, and manipulate the text that has been scanned or directly typed into the program and digitally converted. Students can listen to the text while the text on the screen is simultaneously highlighted" (Arter et. al., 2010).

This allows students both an audio and visual representation of the text, which is intended to increase reading fluency, thereby increasing both self-efficacy and ultimately reading comprehension. Students can customize the program, as can teachers, to meet the specific needs of the individual by choosing highlighting colors, creating bookmarks and taking notes on the provided text. In addition to the choices offered to the students, teachers are able to highlight specific areas of focus for the students, "insert notes, directions or hyperlinks, or support the student via the footnotes or bubble notes feature" (Arter et. al., 2010) thereby giving direct instruction and reading scaffolding in a way that is meaningful and directly connected to the assigned reading as well as freeing the teacher to work with other members of the class.

How it works?

Text to speech software is software which "enables any electronic text to be read aloud through...