Tools for Reading & Writing
Time 1.8 hrs

Difficulty Beginner
Prerequisites Free Learning For Students
Departments Human Technologies
Authors Ross Parker
Groupings Individual
Minimum Year Group None


Reading and writing don't always come easily: the tools shared here can help you if you struggle in these areas.


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  • Screen reading thumbnail image by macrovector on freepik under Freepik License.

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5 mins
  • This unit will focus on two types of technology:
    • Text-to-speech which helps you to read.
    • Speech-to-text which helps you to write.
  • There is some reading involved in the unit, but feel free to ask your teacher if you are stuck.
20 mins
  • There are many ways for your computer to read to you, but a good place to start is NaturalReader, which allows you to read any text in Google Chrome:

  • Let's get started by installing Natural Reader's Chrome Extension, on either your Mac or Chromebook, as shown in the video below:

  • Once installed, use NaturalReader to read the remainder of this unit to you, to get used to it.
  • Adjust the voice and speed settings to suit your needs.
  • NaturalReader's online tool can also read PDFs: it requires registration, but is free.
45 mins
  • For speech-to-text we have a few more options, each of which is good for different things:
    • Google Docs
      • This only works when using Google Chrome, but is as simple as going to Tools > Voice Typing, clicking the microphone and then speaking:


    • Otter
      • Otter is like the Google Docs Voice typing tool, but is better in terms of punctuation.
      • Use this PDF guide to access, sign up for and use Otter.
    • Mac
      • Mac computers have a STT tool called Dictation built in. If you go to  > System Preferences and then Keyboard, you can see how to enable and use it:

  • Take some time to play with these tools, to see which work for you.
10 mins
OpenDyslexic Font
Not Comic Sans
  • Although it does not help everyone, some people with dyslexia find the font below (called OpenDyslexic) easier to read:

30 mins
Finishing Up
  • In finishing up this unit, use a speech-to-text tool of your choosing to create a Google Doc that tells us what you've learned here, which tools you like, and what challenges you still have.
  • We'll use your ideas to keep improving this unit.
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