Text to speech is an assistive technology that reads digital text aloud. This feature has improved the quality of life for many people with disabilities and is useful for the visually and speech impaired, as well as anyone who can listen to synthesized speech. This feature has helped young adults who have a learning disability improve word recognition and increase their ability to pay attention and remember information while reading. The iOS devices, such as iPhone/iPad, have this feature built in. Text to speech can read email, iMessages, web pages, and books. If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, see below for a list of third parties apps that can be used for text to speech.
How to enable Text to Speech on your iOS device
- Go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and turn on Speak Selection and Speak Screen by sliding the toggle switch to the right.
- Adjust the speed of the speech by sliding the speaking rate slider to the right (or the left) until the voice reads at an acceptable pace for your needs.
- Turn on Highlight Content. This option highlights words on the screen as they are read aloud by the iPad.
How to use Speak Selection on your iOS device
Speak Selection will read selected text aloud.
- Open a website and press and hold on a word and then release to select some text.
- Move the blue bars on either side of the word to make a larger selection.
- Tap “Speak” to start the text to speech. Stop it at any time by tapping “Pause”.
How to use Speak Screen on your iOS device
Speak screen reads everything on your screen without selecting text.
- Open a website and swipe down from the top bezel on the iPad with two fingers.
- The iPad will begin reading all the text it finds on the screen. You can control the narration with the on-screen media controls.
- The media controls will auto-hide after a few seconds. You can bring them back or hide them yourself by tapping the left arrow on the side of the controls.
Our Top Text to Speech Apps
Cost: Free – $2.99
- Easy to use and no internet required
- The ability to adjust the pitch and rate of speech
- An auto expanding text field
- Speak as you type
- Highlight spoken text
- Change the font size
- Copy and paste text from different documents.
- Can read content in a variety of voices from a variety of sources
- Variable font size and customizable colour choice for
- highlighting read words, selected words, and lines
- Built-in dictionary, bookmarks, and search feature
- Sentences rewind/fast forward, a sleep timer
- Ability to type directly
- Adjustable reading speed.
Cost: Free – $3.99
- Reads the text for you
- Import plain text, PDF , docx, and Pages documents
- Allows you to share the text by email, message, iCloud Drive,
- and/or add to Notes
- Available exclusively on iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad
- Recently updated