Effects of text-to-speech software use on the reading proficiency of high school struggling readers

Assist Technol. 2017 Fall;29(3):146-152. doi: 10.1080/10400435.2016.1171808. Epub 2016 May 16.


The literature highlights the benefits of text-to-speech (TTS) software when used as an assistive technology facilitating struggling readers' access to print. However, the effects of TTS software use, upon students' unassisted reading proficiency, have remained relatively unexplored. The researchers utilized an experimental design to investigate whether 9th grade struggling readers who use TTS software to read course materials demonstrate significant improvements in unassisted reading performance. A total of 164 students of 30 teachers in Hawaii participated in the study. Analyses of covariance results indicated that the TTS intervention had a significant, positive effect on student reading vocabulary and reading comprehension after 10 weeks of TTS software use (average 582 minutes). There are several limitations to the study; however, the current study opens up for discussions and need for further studies investigating TTS software as a viable reading intervention for adolescent struggling readers.

Keywords: adolescent struggling reader; assistive technology; intervention; reading; text-to-speech.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Communication Aids for Disabled
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / therapy*
  • Male
  • Reading*
  • Self-Help Devices*
  • Software