Reader and scanner pens are indispensable pieces of assistive technology. Here’s how they can help with dyslexia.

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Ultimate guide to reader pens for dyslexia

Although somewhat underutilized, reader pens are a fascinating piece of assistive technology and a real game-changer for countless people who struggle with dyslexia and similar reading difficulties. When combined with other tools, they can offer a wide range of possibilities and solutions for readers of all ages.

Reader pens and assisting those with Dyslexia and other learning disabilities

Reading pens are compact, portable pieces of equipment designed to facilitate independent reading and promote literacy among those with reading disabilities.

As you can tell by their name, they resemble pens, although you can often mistake them for oversized thermometers due to their bulky shape. However, the appearances are only secondary — it is their fantastic optical character recognition (OCR) technology that makes them an indispensable tool in both academic and professional environments.

With a reading pen, you can scan and highlight any line of text, both printed and handwritten, and have it read aloud to you in real time. Thanks to advances in text to speech technology, these pens feature realistic, expressive AI voices, and their sync features allow the user to connect them to text editing software and digital dictionaries to facilitate not only reading comprehension but learning foreign languages as well.

These types of pen scanners have been around since the ’90s and the advent of the C-Pen Reader Pen, and they’ve proven to be among the most helpful tools for dyslexic students struggling to engage with their study materials. Since they encourage independent work, reading pens also give learners and dyslexic children a chance to become result-driven and rely less on others on their journey to literacy.

Benefits of using reader pens for reading difficulties

Why reading pens and not something else? You could use all sorts of assistive tools, from scanning pens to note-taking apps to various kinds of text readers and speech synthesis programs. What makes a reading pen unique is that it usually comes with functionalities that can replace all of those tools to some degree because:

  • They’re quick

  • They double down as dictionaries

  • They usually require no Wi-Fi internet connection

  • They can store text and audio recordings on their internal storage

Top 3 reader pens of 2023

If you’re sold on the idea of reader pens, we have a list of our top three picks for 2023. They’re all available on Amazon and similar online stores and have fantastic features:

  1. ScanMarker Air — Reader pens are compact, but the ScanMarker goes a step further with its Air model. This is a small device, but it’s nonetheless a powerful tool that can take on a lot of work. It can scan texts of virtually every kind, its battery lasts up to ten hours, and it comes with a USB cable so you can charge it and connect it to your PC or Mac.

  2. Youdao Dictionary Pen 3 — This tool is oriented towards foreign language learners, but it’s a terrific reader pen, no matter what your goals are. It can scan multiple lines at the same time, and it can translate English, Chinese, and Spanish in real time.

  3. C-Pen Reader Pen Scanner — This is pretty much the one that started it all. It’s a sleek tool with great OCR features and extensive language support (English, Spanish, French). It also has some cool customizable voice features, so it’s worth its steeper price.

Best assistive technology for dyslexics

Digital highlighters are great, but they aren’t all there is when it comes to assistive technology for dyslexics. If you’re looking to make the most out of your reading experience, make sure you check out some other tools, such as:

Text to speech

Text to speech technology has pretty much changed how we approach dyslexia. TTS tools have made reading accessible to everyone, and with the advent of the internet and personal computers, these tools are available in just a few clicks. There are tons of TTS programs out there, but more premium solutions such as Speechify are all the rage thanks to their customizable features and high-quality AI voices.


Want to turn your handwriting into digital notes without struggling with spelling? Look no further than Livescribe. This tool turns written text into textual files and records audio files simultaneously.

Newyes smart notebooks

Everything comes in the Smart variant nowadays, and notebooks are no exception. Newyes smart notebooks are essentially reusable notebooks that let you remove your scribbles using nothing but hot air, which is pretty nifty for those making lots of mistakes.


If dyslexia is preventing you from enjoying your favorite novel, don’t fret – e-readers like Kindle with built-in TTS support will do the reading for you. Just put your earphones on and have fun. They also allow for font customization, which is fantastic if you’re struggling with the fonts more so than words themselves.


Nessy is a platform for multisensory games and applications meant to teach phonics, writing, math, and everything in between. It’s great for younger students because it’s pretty interactive and fun, but everyone can use it, even high school students and adults.


Even those who don’t have to deal with reading disabilities rely on Grammarly regularly. It’s simply the best spell-checker and writing guide out there, especially if you can afford the premium version. It’ll polish your writing style, teach you how to be concise, and make sure you’ve organized your writing well.

Make learning and reading fun again with Speechify’s cool ai text to speech voices

If you had to pick only one suggestion from the list above, we recommend Speechify. The reason why we would choose Speechify over something like a reader pen is that it features the same kind of OCR technology but also allows for more flexible digital text editing.

In addition, since Speechify is an app, it is constantly being updated, and its machine-learning algorithms are becoming more sophisticated as technology advances. That allows the programs to operate at high speeds in multiple languages.

Speechify also has a wider variety of human-like digital voices to choose from, so it can accommodate many users when it comes to accents and pronunciation, giving the listener more control of their playback.

Try Speechify for free today to see how transforming text to speech can up your reading game.

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

Take the dyslexia quiz and get an instant score. See if you are dyslexic or not.

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