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Text to speech for ESL students

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Learning on July 20, 2022
How can text-to-speech tools help English language learners? Learn more about these tools below.

    Regardless of whether you are trying to learn British English or American English, the process can be complicated for those who do not have the right tools. The good news is that the process has evolved significantly during the past few years, and there are a number of tools that can help people looking to learn English as a second language.

    Learn more about this process below, and make sure you have access to the necessary tools to help you learn English as quickly and comprehensively as possible.

    Difficulties for ESL students with learning

    For those who are English language learners, or ELL, there are a number of difficulties that they might encounter. Some of the biggest challenges that come with learning English include:

    • The grammar in English does not always make sense to a lot of people. Many people who are used to speaking another language aren’t used to conjugating verbs how it’s done in English—or at all.
    • There are a lot of different accents that people might hear as they try to learn English. These accents can make it hard for people to understand the proper way to say a word or form a sentence.
    • Sometimes, the way a word is spelled does not necessarily match the way a word is pronounced. This can make it even harder for someone to learn how to speak English.

    For all of these reasons, it is critical for people to find a language learning tool that is easy to use. That is where a text-to-speech tool, also called a TTS tool, can be helpful.

    What the research says about text-to-speech

    If you take a look at web pages that discuss the possibility of using a text-to-speech tool, such as NaturalReader or Speechify, you will quickly find that there are a lot of benefits that come from using this type of tool. What people need to know about a text-to-speech tool include:

    • This is a tool that can take written text and speak it to you. With this type of free text tool, it is possible to take just about text written on s page and convert it into a language that you can easily understand. This is great for helping people learn a new language.
    • There are even some text-to-speech tool options, such as Speechify, which help you translate text from one language to another. This makes it even easier for people to learn a new language.
    • This is also a great way to save time. Some people have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, that can make it hard for them to read something on the page. With a text-to-speech tool that comes with a Google Chrome extension or an Android app, it is possible to take text and quickly convert it into speech from anywhere.

    After learning the basics of a how a text-to-speech tool, it is important to take a closer look at some of the specific ways that a text-to-speech tool can help someone looking to learn a new language, such as English.

    Easing text anxiety

    One of the biggest benefits of using an online text-to-speech tool is that it can ease text anxiety. People often have many anxieties when they are learning English, and there are some situations where it can be absolutely paralyzing. The good news is that a text-to-speech tool can help people feel more comfortable. Some of the reasons why include:

    • When someone uses a text-to-speech tool, such as one for iPad or iSpeech, they will know exactly how something is spoken. By understanding how to say something, they can replicate it themselves, easing their anxiety.
    • When a learner uses a text-to-speech tool, they will have a better feel for how sentences are structured, allowing them to move through the text more quickly as they speak.
    • There are even some tools, such as Speechify, that come with an automatic text highlighter. This makes it easier for someone to follow along as the text is spoken out loud.

    These are just a few of the biggest reasons why a text-to-speech tool can help ease text anxiety.

    Helps with writing

    Another major benefit of a text-to-speech tool is that it can help with writing significantly. A text-to-speech tool can show people how certain words are spelled. The reality is that the more times someone sees a word written, the easier it will be for them to learn the language. This is a key part of modal learning.

    Someone can even use a text-to-speech tool to practice writing themselves. Then, they can take the text they have written, convert it to speech with a natural sounding voice, and see if it makes sense. Writing and speaking go hand in hand with each other, which is why a solid text-to-speech tool is so important.

    Helps to teach reading

    Finally, with text-to-speech software or text-to-speech technology, it is possible for people to learn how to read in a new language as well, which will do wonders for reading comprehension.

    When someone uses Speechify, which is a popular text-to-speech tool, they can take advantage of a highlighter that allows them to follow along as the words are spoken.

    This helps people learn how to read, write, and speak. They can take a look at the text as it unfolds on the screen, match the sounds they hear with the words on the screen, and learn how to read more quickly. With a quick tutorial, users will be in a position to maximize the features of the tool, and they can learn how to read and speak English. That is why a text-to-speech tool is an integral part of learning English.

    Best tool for ESL students: Speechify

    There are lots of ESL teachers who are looking for a text-to-speech reader they can use to teach their students, and the best option is Speechify. This is a tool that comes with the best functionality and will rival any other text-to-speech tool on the market today. It can handle numerous file types, including PDF files, and this is a speech program that has proven it is easier to use than the other options on the market. Some of the top benefits of Speechify include:

    • You can choose from hundreds of voices, which allow you to customize the voice to meet your needs.
    • It can handle dozens of languages, so you can convert just about any language into English.
    • There is a free version available, but you can try the premium version for free for a few days before you decide if you want to pay for the whole thing. The premium version allows you to translate from one language to another instantly.
    • There is a highlighting tool that allows you to highlight the content as the program goes along. That way, you can learn how certain words are pronounced.

    Speechify has been praised on numerous podcasts, and it is easy to see why this is the best program for ESL students. Put this tool to work for you if you want to learn or teach English.

    Frequently asked questions

    Some of the most common questions English learners have about TTS and various speech tools include:

    Is text-to-speech UDL?

    Yes, TTS is considered UDL, so you can use this to help you students learn a variety of components related to English, including ESL topics.

    How do I use text-to-speech in Google Classroom?

    Google Classroom is a great area where students can take advantage of TTS and dictation to learn English. However, if you really want to use TTS in the classroom, you need to use Speechify, which comes with more features and more tools to learn English.

    What is text-to-speech in the classroom?

    If you decide to use TTS in the classroom, there are a few ways you can do so. First, this is a tool that you can use to speak to words to everyone in the class. Then, you can use this tool to highlight text on the screen, allowing students to follow along. You can even use this tool to instantly translate from one language to English, helping your learners.

    What are the drawbacks of text-to-speech?

    There are not a lot of drawbacks of TTS, but one drawback is that the voices do not always sound realistic. If you use Speechify, this will not be an issue, and the voices should be realistic and customizable.

    Why is text-to-speech beneficial to students?

    You can use a variety of templates for TTS that you can combine with instant translation, customizable voices, and highlighters to help students of all levels learn how to use TTS.

    How can I make text-to-speech work on my phone?

    If you want to make TTS work on your phone, you need to use Speechify. This is the best program available for all platforms, and it will work well on your phone.

    What is the best text-to-speech app?

    Without a doubt, the best TTS tool is Speechify. It has everything you need to make it easier for your students to learn.

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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.

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