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Ivona MiniReader Free Text to Speech Reader

by Paul Nisbet

on Tue Nov 20, 2012

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One very common question we get asked is "what do you recommend for reading out the SQA Digital Question Papers?" 
 
There are several good programs for this such as TextHelp Read and Write Gold, ClaroRead, Co:Writer and Penfriend but if you have no money and you want a nice simple tool for your Windows computer, take a look at the Ivona MiniReader. It's very straightforward - select the text you want to read and click 'Play', and it reads reliably from PDFs, Word files, the internet - anything provided you can select the text.
 
A technician recently asked if the licence allows for it to be installed on all the computers in a school, and so I contacted Ivona to ask: Piotr Syrokwarz of Ivona says "Of course you can use MiniReader at schools".
 
 

MiniReader Quick Guide (download it from here)

Ivona MiniReader is a simple text reader which adds a floating toolbar on the screen and can read out text from almost any program Adobe Reader, Microsoft Word, internet browsers etc.. MiniReader can use the free Scottish voice Heather and Stuart and most other voices on your computer.
 

Download and install

 
Go to http://www.ivona.com/en/mini-reader/ and click on the Free Download button. Follow the instructions to install MiniReader.
 
When you install the software, it offers you the option to install some of the Ivona voices for 30 day trial we suggest that you decline this offer and untick the Start the Ivona voices installation, unless unless you are interested in evaluating the voices. 
 
 

Reading text with MiniReader

 
 
Click Start > All programs > IVONA > IVONA MiniReader
 
Open your PDF document of web page, select some text then click on the Play button (or press CTR+SHIFT+SPACE), and MiniReader will read it out. Click Pause or press the keyboard shortcut again to pause the speech. 
 
 
Double click on a word to select it, triple click to select a line and quadruple click to select the whole page.
 
 
 
 
You can switch between the Mini and Full toolbar by clicking on the Show/Hide button. The Full toolbar lets you change voice and adjust speed and volume:
 
 
 
 
Some limitations of MiniReader compared to other paid-for text readers are that you have to manually select the text to be read, it doesn’t highlight the text as it reads, and there is no pronunciation dictionary. The hyperlinks to encourage you to 'Buy IVONA Reader' and 'Buy IVONA Voice' might also be distracting for some learners.
 
 
The paid-for Ivona Reader comes with extra voices, can convert text to MP3 files, has a reading window that does highlight the text as it reads, and adds reading buttons to internet browsers, Word and email.
 
 
The paid-for text readers like Read and Write Gold, ClaroRead, Co:Writer and Penfriend also have many other features and tools such as word prediction, phonetic spellchecker, dictionaries, scanning and OCR etc. 

Tags: text-to-speech, books for all, SQA, digital papers

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