As a father of a dyslexic son, I have looked into many tools and supportive measures to help him with his reading skills. During the years I have helped him by reading to him when he struggled with difficult texts, and I’ve always wanted to make sure that he reaches the same level of literacy as those who aren’t dyslexic.
Some years ago I came up with an idea for a tool that could assist when I wasn’t there to help. I wanted to develop a program that made sure he wasn’t dependent on me being able to read out loud to him. The tools that his school provided were just not good enough, and he didn’t use them. And that’s how the idea for IcanRead was born.
I started developing the app about 2 years ago, spending as much time as I could in order to make this idea come to life. I had two goals in mind. I wanted the voice to sound as natural as a real person and I wanted it to be fast and simple to read any text regardless of if it was in a physical book or on your computer screen.
Now 2 years later, IcanRead is finally available to the public. And even though a tool like this is never done (with steady improvements to the design and functionality of the program can be expected), I’m very proud to have given my son and others this tool.
How does IcanRead work?
The functionality of the app is very simple. If you have your phone in a tripod, you use your finger and point at the text you want to listen to. The app recognizes a pointing finger and converts the text above your finger to speech. If you prefer to hold the phone in your hand you aim at the text, tap the screen and listen. When on your computer just use the mouse to listen to any text on your screen.
Science shows that using text-to-speech can improve comprehension for people with dyslexia. And since reading uses a lot of mental energy for some, by listening instead, that energy can be used to comprehend the text and further develop your reading skills. However, text-to-speech tools should not be used as a substitute for learning to read but rather as a complement.
IcanRead is currently available in over 40 languages, and it’s designed to automatically recognize the language of the text being read. It uses the absolute best voices available. My hope is that this tool can help as many dyslexic people out there as possible on their reading journey, and I am glad that I am able to share it with you.
If you’d like to know more about IcanRead, or try it out for yourself, visit www.icanread.io