Voice Dream Reader App for iPhone/iPad (1.99) is a newly developed app by Winston Chen which supplies high quality text to speech within a reader app. Some of the great features this app provides is its easy connection from within the app to the Web, Dropbox, Instapaper and Read It Later- now Pocket services files and text to speech capabilities for access to documents when imported. Established accounts with Dropbox, Instapaper and Pocket are needed for access to those web-based services. As a frequent user of Dropbox to manage, organize, transfer files and media to numerous devices, I am extremely excited to find this app that integrates established cloud services so well and provides access to print for special needs students all for $1.99!!!
Voice Dream Reader app’s ability to connect to your Dropbox articles and documents organized in the cloud allows access to many different file formats:
- Word documents
- PPT documents
- Pages documents
- html/htm files
After accessing and importing your files, the app populates the documents into a playlist that provides easy access to different documents within Voice Dream Reader app. I see this being used to manage and populate documents into a playlist for students to read using the text to speech tool – all in one easy app. How exciting is that!!!
Here are some screen shots of how Voice Dream Reader presents on an iPhone:
Here is the app on my iPad reading a PDF imported from my Dropbox:
Immediate use of the app found the text to speech provided to be high quality. It offers a wide variety of other high quality voices for $.99/each which can be easily downloaded within the app. Other features supporting students with a print disability include easy access to speech rate, choice of voices (as purchased), ability to turn on highlight spoken text and ability to increase or decrease text size up to size 17 font. The app provides easy controls at the bottom of the screen to pause, start, forward, review and return to the last text location you read. You can also touch a word to start it reading at that location when text has been stopped or been paused. This feature required use of a stylus for me due to the size of the text, but was much better than many other apps I have used with text to speech which did not provide easy start and stop of text to speech at the touch of a word.
The option of highlighting spoken text (yellow only and one word at a time) is important, however the small text size somewhat limits its visual effectiveness. I hope that the limited text size might be changed in the future to larger font size capabilities. What is impressive is the presence of the highlighting, high quality text to speech, ease of managing the speech rate as well as ease of general navigation within in the app. An immediate help menu provide a good overview and directions for app use. Other features not mentioned such as editing text, translating are also provided within the app.
Thank you to the developer Winston Chen for alerting me to his new app. I think it is a great app that can be used for individual with a print disability whether middle, high school, post secondary, or adult users who need to easily access documents stored in cloud storage or from other Web services (newspapers). It does not allow access to iBooks or Kindle services or have study tools but does provide high quality text to speech and easy access to documents of your choosing. Many of our students qualify for Bookshare service which has a great app to access Nimas files, however for accessing classroom content not found in Bookshare stores, this provides a method of accessing curriculum materials in a number of different formats within one app on the iPad. The developers statement on the iTunes app page stating “this app will actively be maintained and enhanced” indicates a commitment to the app and individuals with a print disability. Contact with Winston Chen found him very responsive to questions regarding the app!
Do you have a suggestion of a similar app you use, please share! If you don’t have an app that imports and reads a variety of formats check out this app and consider adding this to your OT iTool Kit!