Text-to-speech use to improve reading of high school struggling readers

Kelly Roberts, Kiriko Takahashi, Hye Jin Park, Robert Stodden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of two pilot studies was to test the efficacy of text-to-speech (TTS) software in improving the reading skills of high school students reading between a 1.0 and 6.0 grade level equivalency. Participants were receiving special education services, or at risk of referral. Their reading baseline and outcomes were measured, using select subtests of Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Achievement or with Nelson-Denny Reading Test, without access to TTS software (unaided) during the testing. Kurzweil 3000 was used with the participants for one semester within a content area class (e.g., science). Results from the first study found the use of Kurzweil 3000 significantly increased participants' unaided vocabulary. The second study found participants who used Kurzweil 3000 for more than 400 minutes in a semester had significantly increased their unaided reading vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency rate when compared to their baseline scores. There follows discussions on exposure to text and the possible link to improved reading, the limitations of the pilot studies, and future research directions of TTS software as a potential reading intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Literacies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • High school struggling readers
  • Successful reading interventions
  • Text-to-speech software

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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