I use a variety of methods when I proofread, but the one I wanted to share today involves listening rather than reading.
It’s really surprising to me – or maybe it shouldn’t be any longer – that I can re-read content several times and STILL miss an error here or there. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea to copy my text into a text-to-speech application and listen to it as it was “read” back to me. Inevitably when I’ve done this, I’ve picked up at least one (embarrassing) mistake.
Free Natural Reader
The application I usually use now is Natural Reader. There are different versions available here, including free, personal, professional, and ultimate.
Microsoft® Anna comes with the free version. If she’s reading too quickly, I can adjust her pace with the speed bar. There are also controls to stop, pause, and resume the playback. And I can rewind back to the previous sentence or fast forward to the next one.
By default, a yellow highlight appears around each “narrated” sentence and a blue square appears over each word as it is “read.”
There are many more features available in the Free Version, including a Floating Toolbar that eliminates the need to copy and paste the text. And of course, the versions that you pay for include even more options.
Other Free Text to Speech Tools
Recently a post appeared in my Twitter feed with a link to 10 Free Text to Speech Tools for Educators.
If you’re a Twitter user, you may want to follow the individuals who provided this link: @cpappas and @medkh9. Oh, and you can follow me at @refco27.