Disability Services

Free and Low Cost Programs for Reading Alt Text

Free Reading Programs

Read & Write Gold is an outstanding product for reading and writing assistance for people with learning disabilities. Cleveland State has an unlimited site license so that our students can install the product on their personal computers for use off campus and use it in nearly every computer lab on campus. This product has a wide variety of reading tools and also has optical character recognition for documents that students need to scan to read.

ReadSpeaker and Blackboard Ally are accessibility applications which CSU has licensing for improving the accessibility of Blackboard content. ReadSpeaker is a text to speech app built into the Blackboard environment which works with Respondus Lockdown Browser.

Balabolka is a free reading program that runs on Windows. It opens many document formats like Word, HTML, PDF, and plain text. The program looks like a simple word processor and has the playback controls and voice adjustments in toolbars above the document. The program can highlight text as it reads and has adjustable highlighting options.

Natural Reader is a program that you copy and paste text into to read the text back or use to read inside of word processors or browsers. Text opened in the program works like a media player with play, pause, stop, forward, and rewind buttons. You can read inside of another program by holding down CTRL and pressing F9. It will read what is highlighted or all of the text. . This application is free to use. There are other low cost versions of the Natural reader program with better voices and more features. This program works in all versions of Windows and Mac.

WordTalk is a free program that works in MS Word versions 97 through 2013 on PC's. It reads word by word, Sentence by Sentence, or paragraph by Paragraph. It also has a talking spelling dictionary.

VoiceOver and Text to Speech are programs for the Macintosh OS X that work fairly effectively. VoiceOver is a full function screen reader. Text to Speech only reads what is selected. They are both free with the operating system.

NVDA is a free full function screen reader that works on Windows XP and later. It will work in most popular Windows applications like Word and Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is a much better screen reader than Narrator

Narrator is Windows LITE VERSION of a screen reader. Narrator, in Windows Vista and 7, can read in Notepad or WordPad.

AMIS is a free DAISY Reader. It will play DAISY Audio books and display DAISY text files. It does not play LearningAlly formatted DAISY books because of the DRM.

Free or Low Cost Apps for Mobile Devices

iOS Reading Programs - iOS is the operating system for the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod. It is the most universally accessible of the mobile platforms.

Android Reading Apps - Google's Android is the most prevalent mobile platform today. It is starting to provide accessibility features comparable to Apple's iOS.