"Text to Speech (TTS) software with integrated features can be a valuable instructional technology for reading, which can open a door leading to improved motivation and cognitive engagement. TTS software use expands students' access to interesting reading materials and can support students' vocabulary development and passage comprehension. Through the use of TTS software, students are consequently better prepared to participate in small group and whole class discussions of text. We hope teachers will further explore the benefits of this technology for struggling readers. As youth are preparing to exit high school, it is essential that we provide them with every opportunity likely to enhance their chances for success." 

  • ... combined visual and auditory presentation of text by TTS software improves comprehension, especially for struggling readers.

  • ... below-average readers’ comprehension was improved by use of TTS.

  • ... worked specifically with students identified as disabled in reading and found that TTS improved comprehension.

  • .... studied the effects of TTS on readers of various abilities, finding an overall average of 7% improvement in comprehension, with poorer readers benefiting more than better readers.

  • .... found that struggling readers performed as well as average readers when text was presented in this bimodal fashion.

According to the research, specific benefits of bimodal content presentation include:

  • Improved word recognition skills and vocabulary

  • Improved reading comprehension, fluency, accuracy, and concentration

  • Improved information recall and learning/memory enhancement
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More research...

Results of the study indicated that students with reading disabilities aged 10 to18 performed significantly better in reading comprehension tasks when using the device as compared to reading without it.

Higgins, E. L., & Raskind, M. H. (1997). The compensatory effectiveness of optical character Recognition/Speech synthesis on reading comprehension of postsecondary students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 8(2), 75-87.


Findings indicated that the greater the disability, the more the technology elevated comprehension.

Higgins, E. L., & Raskind, M. H. (2005). The compensatory effectiveness of the Quicktionary reading pen II on the reading comprehension of students with learning disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 20(1), 29-38.


Children exposed to CAI made significantly greater gains on rhyming and elision skills compared to the control group. Expressive vocabulary scores were predictive of pre- to posttest growth.

Lonigan, C. J., Driscoll, K., Phillips, B. M., Cantor, B. G., Anthony, J. L., & Goldstein, H. (2003). A computer-assisted instruction phonological sensitivity program for preschool children at-risk for reading problems. Journal of Early Intervention, 25(4), 248-262.


Results clearly indicated that children at high risk who received the reading intervention program with computer materials significantly improved their phonological awareness, word recognition, and letter naming skills relative to their peers who received a reading intervention program with only printed materials and those who received no formal reading intervention program. The results are discussed in detail, with reference to the features of the computer-based materials that contributed to the acquisition of critical early reading skills.

Mioduser, D., Tur-Kaspa, H., & Leitner, I. (2000). The learning value of computer-based instruction of early reading skills.Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 16(1), 54-63.


Reading comprehension of average and below average readers in grades 8 and 9 was compared under three conditions: reading with text-to-speech, reading onscreen without text-to-speech, and listening to the passage read by digitized voice. Below average readers in the bimodal condition outperformed peers reading onscreen without text-to-speech or just listening to the passage, while above average readers in the bimodal condition outperformed peers in the auditory condition.

Montali, J., & Lewandowski, L. (1996). Bimodal reading: Benefits of a talking computer for average and less skilled readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(3), 271-279.


These two critical analyses of the research literature reveal that bimodal reading with text-to-speech can promote significant improvements in reading fluency and comprehension.

Strangman, N., & Dalton, B. (2005). Using technology to support struggling readers: A review of the research. In D. Edyburn, K. Higgins & R. Boone (Eds.), The handbook of special education technology research and practice (pp. 545-569). Whitefish Bay, WI: Knowledge by Design.

Strangman, N., & Hall, T. E. (2002). Text Transformations. Wakefield, MA: NCAC.

Twenty-eight middle school students with dyslexia read literature daily using a computer-based reading system. Seventy percent of the students read with greater comprehension. Fourteen percent showed lower comprehension scores, perhaps associated with kinesthetic motor weakness.

Elkind, J., Cohen, K., & Murray, C. (1993). Using computer based readers to improve reading comprehension of students with dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 43, 238-259