Let’s discuss how text to speech pens work, their pros and cons, and what you can use instead.

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Text to speech pens – what you need to know and alternatives

Learners with dyslexia and other reading difficulties have various assistive technology tools at their disposal. Some of the most efficient tools for such learning disabilities are pen scanners or text to speech pens. In this article, we’ll talk about pen scanners and what other tools can be used as an alternative.

What are text to speech pens and how do they work?

Text to speech pens are small, portable devices that look like regular highlighters. They use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read aloud printed text.

Students can use them by “highlighting” a line of text in their textbook. The scanning pen then reads the scanned text aloud. You can listen to the text through the built-in speakers or connect the device to your earphones.

They’re chargeable, and they can be connected to different devices. Most reader pens are compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows and Mac computers. They usually have Bluetooth connectivity or they can be connected to a device via a USB cable.

Depending on their capacity, text to speech pens can read out whole sentences or even entire paragraphs.

The pros of text to speech pens

Here are some of the most important advantages of text to speech pens:

  • They are helpful to dyslexic students and students with visual impairments.

  • These devices are small, lightweight, and portable, so you can take them to school, work, or where ever you want.

  • Scanner pens are also handy if you’re learning English as a second language.

  • Some pens, like the C-Pen Reader pen, have built-in dictionaries, so you can use them to look up new words.

  • They can be used for all kinds of printed text, from textbooks and exercises to documents and books.

  • Digital highlighters can have other useful features, like note-taking tools, the ability to upload text to your devices, and the option to record audio and listen to it again.

  • Text to speech pens improve word recognition, pronunciation, and one’s attention span.

The cons of text to speech pens

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to reading pens:

  • Reading pens can only read printed text. They don’t work on handwritten text or digital content.

  • Some scanner pens are only available in English.

  • Pen scanners need to be charged regularly like mobile phones.

  • Some pen scanners have a limited font size range, so you wouldn’t be able to use them with bigger letters.

The alternatives to text to speech pens

If you don’t want to use text to speech pens, here are other assistive technology tools that you might prefer:

Text to speech apps

Text to speech apps are used for converting digital text into spoken language. They can be used as desktop apps, mobile apps, or web browser extensions. The good news is that there are a lot of text to speech apps you can choose from, such as Speechify, Murf.Ai, Synthesis Studio, Natural Reader App, and Speech Central.

OCR text-scanning apps

OCR text-scanning apps work similarly to TTS apps. They use OCR technology to convert images into text. Users can use OCR apps to scan printed text in their schoolbooks and the app will create a digital copy, which they can share and edit. Some of the best OCR text-scanning apps include Speechify, Office Lens, Text Fairy, CamScanner, and the Google Keep Image to Text App

Electronic flashcards

Electronic flashcards are designed for adults with dyslexia. They’re especially useful for creating customized flashcards. You can even download and print the flashcards and carry them with you.

Speechify – The text to speech app that aids reading comprehension

Students with dyslexia and learning disabilities can use Speechify for everyday needs.

Speechify is a text to speech (TTS) app that translates digital text into spoken language. This assistive technology tool works with various types of text, including Microsoft Word documents, PDF files, emails, blog posts, study materials, etc.

You can improve your listening experience by choosing one of 30 natural-sounding voices. Speechify can also read text in more than 15 languages. In addition, you can control the playback speed if you need to hear the text quickly.

You can use Speechify as a mobile app. It’s available on iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. You can also use it as a Chrome extension.

To see how Speechify works, you can try it for free today.


What is the purpose of a reading pen?

A reading pen is used for scanning printed text and reading it with a digital voice. It can be used as a text reader, a study aid, or a useful tool for learning new languages.

What is a C-Pen?

The C-Pen is a handheld scanner pen for dyslexic students. It comes with a built-in dictionary and a voice recorder with playback for voice memos. The C-Pen Reader can read texts in languages such as English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Swedish, German, and Italian.

Which is the best reading pen?

Some of the best reading pens include the C-Pen Reader, the ScanMarker Air, the IRISPen Air 7, the WorldPenScan X, and the Exam Reader.

What is a word processing pen?

A word-processing pen is the same thing as a reading pen or pen scanner.

What are the different reading pens?

There are different types of reading pens. They differ in font size range, scanning speed, battery capacity, interface, language availability, etc.

How do you use a reading pen?

Using a reading pen is simple. All you need to do is drag the reading pen along a line of text at a slow pace, just like you would with a regular highlighter. The scanner pen will read aloud the text you scanned.

Pick Your Speechify Tribe

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“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

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“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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