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How text to speech is changing the game for students struggling with reading

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in Students on January 13, 2020
When you're a full-time student, finishing your readings can feel like an uphill battle. Especially if reading is a challenge. See how Text-to-Speech can help.

    Listening empowers students to finish readings faster, deepen understanding, and remember more

    When you’re a full-time student, finishing your readings can feel like an uphill battle. Especially if reading is a challenge.

    When you finally get one out of the way, another one is close behind. And once that’s done? An assignment, presentation, or exam that needs your attention. And don’t forget the dishes piling up in the sink.

    Hours go by and you’ve hardly made a dent. You’re absolutely exhausted.

    A 2014 study found that college students in the U.S. actually spend around 17 hours a week on homework, reading, and studying, in addition to the hours spent in class and just…being a human. And if you live with learning differences like ADHD or dyslexia, that work load is an even bigger challenge.

    For millions of students, the pressure can feel endless.

    The power of listening

    Enter: text-to-speech. The benefits of text-to-speech is based on a simple truth — listening is just easier than reading. Reading exhausts our eyes and brains, especially for students knee-deep in assignments.

    Listening, meanwhile, requires far less energy and keeps us productive and energetic. We know this intuitively — podcasts, audiobooks, and music engage our creative and intellectual senses.

    For students, text-to-speech makes listening into a secret weapon.

    • Finish your readings faster + save hours each day
    • Multitask easily by reading anywhere, anytime
    • Understand the content you read more thoroughly
    • And remember more of it longer

    Our time and energy go further when we listen. That means less time reading, and more time eating dinner with friends or a calling your parents. Or sleeping. (Remember sleep?)

    Student reading book

    Text-to-speech changes lives

    Text-to-speech isn’t just a shortcut to avoid reading altogether, though. It makes reading less of a barrier and less of a challenge. It makes us better, more effective, and more capable readers.

    Science tells us that listening is one of reading’s closest companions. The two reinforce each other — audio strengthens our visual skills and vice versa. Doing both at the same time can help you:

    1. Read faster. Studies show that listening and reading at the same time helps readers increase their reading speed. That means you can save up to 2 hours or more every day.
    2. Improve your memory. When we associate what words look like with how they sound (visual + audio cues) we can recall them more easily, later.
    3. Practice difficult pronunciations. “Chrysanthemum”? No problem. Kruh-san-thuh-muhm.
    4. Focus better + comprehend more. Using two senses at the same time produces a deep focus that allows us to be efficient, on-task, and understand what we’re reading.
    5. Embrace our learning challenges, not avoid them. Text-to-speech creates a multi-sensory reading experience that can help level the field for readers with dyslexia, ADHD, and related challenges.

    In other words: reading and listening are a match made in heaven.

    Group of students studying at a table

    A multitasking supertool

    If we want to give our eyes a break and just listen, text-to-speech also makes for a multitasking supertool. Good thing, because school is one big mess of multitasking.

    We’re constantly making choices to divide our (limited) time in the best way possible. Especially when we’re slammed.

    Sadly, this usually means putting work first and ourselves second. How many times have you skipped a trip to the grocery store, or just some simple self-care, to finish reading assignments instead?

    But text-to-speech apps allow us to check off multiple items on our to-do-list at once. Easily load the week’s readings onto the iOS or Android app, hit play, and go. Here’s a few suggestions to start:

    • Hit the gym for a run + read for your history seminar
    • Grab groceries + listen to the essay you just finished to check for errors
    • Take a long, aimless drive + crush that psych reading

    Or just stretch out on the couch, eyes closed, and effortlessly finish that final chapter.

    Remember: you don’t have to be glued to your desk to be productive. In fact, a change of scenery will refresh and rejuvenate a tired, stressed-out mind. As research tells us, it boosts our productivity, mood, and focus. Even a quick walk makes a big difference.

    Having a new experience — or just seeing or hearing something different — sends our brains into action. Our creativity goes into overdrive.

    And our mobile apps enable you to take the reading wherever you go. Seamlessly move files between mobile and desktop to set your own study style. Start at your desk and finish at the park. (Or the beach. Whatever floats your boat.)

    Keeping up is easier than catching up

    When we fall behind, the deadlines stack up quickly. We get overwhelmed. We feel powerless. That’s why the old saying rings true for so many students: keeping up really is easier than catching up.

    So what are the best ways to keep up?

    • Block off time. Estimate how much time your study tasks will take you. Then dedicate blocks of time in your schedule accordingly. Remember to be realistic and flexible, especially when you’re starting a new routine. You’ll find a flow that works for you as you go, so just try to get started without worrying about being perfect right away.
    • Schedule breaks. Good work comes from building good habits, like getting enough rest. Give yourself intentional time to recharge and write it into your calendar alongside your other tasks. That way you don’t overbook yourself and feel more stress about keeping to a strict schedule than you feel about the assignment itself.
    • Transform how you work. Try new ways to study that amplify your strengths, rather than create more barriers to overcome. If reading is a barrier, try listening to help you finish your readings faster and study more effectively instead.

    If you’re looking for the best tool to help you get more reading done in less time, boost your comprehension, and spend less energy finishing your assignments, Speechify is a great place to start.

    Try Speechify for free today.

    Table with school books

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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.