I have been exploring options for text to speech and speech to text for a few months, thanks to Kasey Bell’s research I have a number of new Chrome extensions I have learned about. I subscribe to Kasey’s email newsletter and I love the way she shares great tips and tricks, I learn something every time! Thank you so much Kasey for all you hard work and generous sharing of great information! The latest email blast had me heading straight to the Chrome extensions Kasey talks about in this post
I had the extension Speak It! already installed but I had never played with it. To get started you need to open Chrome and look for the three bars in the upper right hand corner. Next navigate the menu to more tools, scroll to the end of the list and select get more extensions. Search for Speak It! and select add to Chrome. This is where I got lost, I could not find where the extensions were hiding! I found them under the little arrows to the left of the three bars in the upper right hand corner. I’m sure the placement of the extensions makes sense to someone but it is lost on me.
Now I started playing with Speak It! I agree with Kasey it is a very simple extension to use and to get started all I needed to do was highlight some text on a Google Doc and select speak it from the extension menu. the extension launched and read the highlighted text. It sounded like a computer reading the text, but it worked. I could see this really helping a struggling reader tackle challenging text.
Next Kasey directed me to another extension Announcify, this time after I enabled the extension a little red bird appeared on my toolbar no searching required! I opened a Google Doc and the extension started to read the document it only read the heading and then it stopped, I waited and nothing happened. I tried another website and the same thing happened. The third website I tried worked like a charm, the voice was crystal clear and very easy to understand. I sat back again with a WOW! First the extension eliminates the ads and the junk around the text, cool! It got even better the extension helped the reader focus on a paragraph at a time, by blurring the rest of the text, awesome!
The last extension Kasey shared was the Read&Write for Google. I played with this one long ago but I disabled the extension for some reason. After enabling the extension again, I found the text to speech option works great. I was disappointed that there is now a premium features that have a price tag of $100 per year. Some of my favorite features including highlighting, vocabulary and the dictionaries are not available in the free version. Darn!
Explore Kasey’s website and subscribe to her newsletter here Kasey Bell of http://www.shakeuplearning.com/