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Audio textbooks for dyslexics

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Books on June 27, 2022
Audiobooks and text to speech programs can be extremely beneficial for people with dyslexia or other learning difficulties. Learn more in this article.

    In essence, dyslexia is a learning difficulty. It’s behind problems such as having a hard time reading, writing, and spelling. Due to its nature, it can prevent people from studying like all others, as reading and writing is essential for that process. Nevertheless, dyslexic children don’t have lower intelligence, unlike those with learning disabilities.

    To overcome this difficulty, many struggling readers use audiobooks. These are audio interpretations of certain written material, and they can be anything. From fiction bestsellers to children’s books to non-fiction study material. The latter is what we call audio textbooks, as they revolve around education.

    In the following few paragraphs, we’ll introduce you to them, as well as to a way to make all your written material listenable.

    Assistive technology for dyslexics

    Assistive technology (AT) refers to programs and devices that make daily life for people with reading disabilities easier. As such, AT for dyslexics can be almost anything that improves reading level, spelling, and reading comprehension.

    Most schools, colleges, and universities in the United States provide this technology to students who need it. This means that it’s free of charge. However, the results of school-provided tech aren’t always top-notch, so students have to manage themselves.

    Choosing the right AT comes down to personal preference. If you’re having trouble reading, you’ll be better off with audiobooks. On the other hand, if you can’t quite put down the words you want, it’s best to use speech-to-text AT. It all comes down to you.

    Helpful tools for dyslexics students

    Nowadays, dyslexic students can benefit from using numerous hardware and software specially designed for their needs. These devices and programs all come under an umbrella term—assistive technology. The following three are the most popular.

    • Speech recognition: This piece of software listens to you talk and transcribes it into text. People also refer to it as speech-to-text software. The main idea behind speech recognition is to make it easier for dyslexics to write emails, chat, or do any other type of writing on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet device.
    • Spell checkers: Although everyone uses them, spell checkers are originally designed for dyslexics, as they automatically correct spelling errors when writing text, emails, and other documents on electronic devices.
    • Text-to-speech: Opposite to speech recognition, text-to-speech (TTS) apps transcribe written words into audio. They can turn any e-book into a full-on audio one with additional options such as narration voice, speed, and tone controls.

    What is a TTS reader?

    Since we’ve mentioned TTS apps, it’s only fair to expand on what they actually are. At their core, these are assistive technology tools. The whole idea behind them is to help people with reading difficulties like dyslexia and vision impairment enjoy written content, just like all others do.

    Most high-end text-to-speech readers use optical character recognition technology. This allows the tool letter, symbol, and word decoding, which the artificial voice reads. They also use artificial intelligence as well as machine learning for better efficiency.

    Nevertheless, it’s not just people with learning difficulties that use this type of software. It’s popular with everyone as it allows for multitasking

    There are many TTS apps online. The most popular ones are definitely Amazon’s Polly app, Google Speech Services, and Speechify. TTS apps have their pros and cons, meaning they might not suit your needs. Well, that’s apart from Speechify.


    Like all great text-to-speech apps, Speechify uses optical character recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to turn written words into audio. 

    Speechify also allows you to snap photos of physical writing, which the OCR will turn into speech in a matter of moments. This is why it’s popular among students, as it can turn their notes into audio when it comes time to study for exams.

    But that’s not all. Aside from creating personal audio textbooks, Speechify can transcribe emails and other types of documents. As such, it truly does make life easier for students and people who struggle with dyslexia and similar forms of reading difficulties.

    It’s an easy-to-use piece of software that includes more than 30 reading voices and more than 15 different tongues that can benefit foreign language learners. Furthermore, you can fiddle with controls and adjust the reading speed of your narrator to your liking.

    Another reason why it’s the number one rated app online is the fact that Speechify is available across all popular platforms. You can use it on your Windows-based PC or macOS laptop as a plug-in for Google Chrome and Safari browsers. Then again, if you want it on your mobile device, you just download it from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.


    Are audiobooks good for dyslexics?

    An average dyslexic student reads below grade level. Nevertheless, they have the aptitude to improve greatly. They can do so through audiobooks by simultaneously listening and reading the same material.

    Does dyslexia go away?

    Impacting more than just basic reading skills, dyslexia is a lifelong brain-based issue that doesn’t go away. People who have it need to find ways around it (e.g., using audiobooks), as there’s no way of permanently eliminating it.

    Do digital books help with dyslexia?

    The September 18 issue of PLOS One scientific journal suggests that e-readers can greatly benefit people with dyslexia. Namely, if we set them up to display only a few words per line, dyslexics will have an easier time reading it both quickly and with better comprehension.

    Are there audio versions of textbooks?

    Numerous platforms offer non-fiction books in audio format. You can listen to them using your computer, tablet, or smartphone device. They work similarly to podcasts, as they offer self-education as well as an additional option for all students and their teachers.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Pick Your Speechify Tribe

    I have been flailing due to an eye injury on top of Lyme disease on top of long-covid and a herniated disc with neuropathy. Sitting hurts and propping a book while lying down is stressful. Anxiety over not keeping up, ADD with medication fluctuation and nystagmus of one eye, stigmatism with the other eye both before the retina injured has caused duress as an exam approaches in 35 days. I just need to get through these 500 pages and at least try the assignments. I believe this app will be the key.. thank you ever so much! It’s never too late to find a key and unlock the door to a new world!

    “I have ADHD and I love to read but have piles of book that I have never touched. I downloaded this app and it has helped me read more and obtain information better for school! Love this app , I recommend it to everyone!” - JENEMARIE

    “Love this app, I have eye problems and this app helps me read headache free. Plus it’s great for traders to listen to news and multitasks.” - JJJJJJMMMMMMM”

    “I like Reading books but I don’t like to read at the same time this is so nice and very much correct. Totally recommend!” - Amazing use this now!!! - HALL LACKS SI USA

    “I am a student who had dyslexia so is very very very helpful for me. A reading assignment that would normally take me 30+ minutes took 10! I will be using this very often.” - CHAMA NORLAND

    “I’m an audible learner. Speechify helps me to comprehend readings better than I am capable of reading the text silently.” - CANDI CL

    “This is probably top 5 of greatest apps ever, you can literally read alone an entire book in a day. Easily worth the cost of the app.” - TJV 34

    “Excellent for comprehending medical textbooks more quickly and thoroughly!! This is awesome for keeping up with latest surgical techniques and technology. Dr. K” - IMPLANTOPERATOR

    “Speechify saves my 70 year old eyes. I close them. I listen.” - WRANGLERSUPREME

    “I was dreading reading this long story but Speechify got it done now I can go ahead and take my college quiz.” - SUNCOP

    “I teach visually impaired students AND students with dyslexia. This app is a huge help to all of them. Thank you for helping those who need it most!!” - ETTETWO

    “I use this app to proofread before I publish chapters of my books and it works so good! 10/10 recommended.” - LOUIELEIUOL


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    “Congratulations for this lovely project. Speechify is brilliant. Growing up with dyslexia this would have made a big difference. I'm so glad to have it today.”
    - Sir Richard Branson
    "Speechify lets me listen to Goop blog posts out loud in the car and gets my friends through grad school. It's amazing for scripts."
    - Gwyneth Paltrow