Highlight each word as it is read aloud

This feature involves a text-to-speech engine that reads the text on a web page aloud. This may be implemented in a number of different ways – as a built-in text-to-speech reader in the operating system, as downloadable screen reader software that operates on the user’s machine, or as a remote text-to-speech service that receives text online and returns a spoken copy as an audio file.

The way that text is read may vary depending on the implementation and the user group. This approach adds to other text-to-speech features by highlighting text as it is read aloud.

Discussion by Disabilities (Benefits & Preferred Behaviors)

Low Vision

Highlighting text while it is read aloud helps people with low vision to follow the flow of both the visual text and the spoken text.

Cognitive, Language, Learning Disabilities & Low Literacy

Highlighting text while it is read aloud helps people with cognitive, learning, and language disabilities, as well as those with low literacy, to learn words and follow the flow of both the visual text and the spoken text.

Existing Products

This listing includes a wide range of products, from screen readers, to simple text-to-speech utilities, to large literacy suites that include a text-to-speech application. Please note that these products are not necessarily endorsed by RtF, but represent the range of available options.

Many operating systems, including Windows Vista and Mac OS X, include limited built-in screen reading ability as well.

Open Source and free

These products are free and their source code may be modified with few restrictions.

Free, not necessarily open source

These products are free to use, but may have strict restrictions on viewing and modifying source code.

Commercial, with free trial

These products are free to try for a limited period of time or with limited functionality. They must be purchased for full functionality.

Commercial, no free trial

These products must be purchased to be used, and did not offer free trials at the time of posting.

Related Research and Papers

Learn more about digital literacy and digital skills.

Learn more about learning disabilities and how they affect an individual’s life also beyond academics.

Learn more about cognitive disabilities, medical conditions and examples of what people with intellectual or cognitive deficits experience in everyday life.

Learn more about low vision, its causes, types and impact on everyday life.