Date
09 December 2019

Support the use of digital text as a learning tool

Digital text may be preferable to traditional print media as a learning tool.

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Benefits at Parkvale Primary

Benefits at Parkvale Primary

Teachers explain how a digital writing environment removes barriers to literacy. It increases engagement and enables students to demonstrate hidden skills and talents (part of a longer video). 

Offer digital versions alongside print

Offer digital versions alongside print

Students can customise digital text to suit their needs and preferences.

  • The style, size, and colour of fonts and background colours can be adjusted to enable easy reading.
  • A text-to-speech tool can be used to provide a listening or read-along option to support understanding.
  • Embedded supports, including definitions and background information, are easily accessible.
  • Text can be accessed or revisited anywhere with Internet access, removing time and distance restrictions.

Suggestions for using text-to-speech

Suggestions for using text-to-speech

Encourage the use of text-to-speech across the curriculum.

  • Listen and read along with unfamiliar texts to develop reading fluency.
  • Access texts beyond the students’ reading level.
  • Listen to audio while doing another activity, such as exercise, travelling, or resting the eyes.
  • When editing writing, select sections of text and listen back for errors and fluency.

Text-to-speech tools

Text-to-speech tools

Offer free text-to-speech tools to all students across the curriculum.

  • Natural Reader download – This is a floating toolbar. Selected text will post into toolbar window. Text is highlighted in short sections and read aloud. It can sync with Google Docs.
  • Natural Reader Online TTS – To use: upload a docment, highlight text in short sections, which will be read aloud. It can sync with Google Docs.
  • Mac text to speech – A built-in text to speech program. It "speaks" selected text in all applications including text on internet pages.
  • Read and Write for Google Docs – This toolbar opens at the top of a Google Docs page. Selected text is highlighted yellow. Each word is tracked in blue as it is read aloud.Note: After 30 days of registering, premium features are reduced and users have access to the basic TTS tool.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Website

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

Publisher: Kit Hard

Visit website

Website

Cross curricula apps

Publisher: Allanah King

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Website

How text-to-speech technology can help journalists avoid copy errors

Read time: 5 min

Publisher: Poynter Institute

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Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Support independent access to learning materials”:

Return to the guide “Digital technologies”

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