04 November 2009

Text-To-Speech to Build Literacy from the Start

At ATIA 2009 in Chicago I presented my argument for using Text-To-Speech systems from the start of literacy education.

Sure, the favorite (most tweeted) quote was, "if phonics worked it would be spelled differently," but the focus was on strategies which work - on using Text-To-Speech to help bridge the issues of differential home/parental literacy skills, and using TTS to offer access to content before decoding can take over, on using TTS to improve sight-word recognition and new vocabulary acquisition, and perhaps most importantly, using TTS to prove to kids that there is value in books, that there is value in reading, by giving them a chance to get to what's inside the books.

Because reading should not be a school skill. It should not be a task. Reading is learning to take in information and process it for our own use - something schools rarely show students.

Anyway, thanks to the folks from WYNN who helped out (and gave away a software package as a prize!), and thanks to Karen Janowski for coming to visit!

- Ira Socol


Karen Janowski said...

It was such a pleasure to finally meet you F2F and to discuss the things that we are both passionate about in person.
I continue to look forward to reading your rants and learning from you.
Will you coming to Philly for Educon?

Paul Hamilton said...

I wish I could have attended this session, Ira. Thanks for sharing the slides. I want to hear/read more about your contention that text-to-speech supports learning to read across the board. My limited experience says you are right on the mark with this. I don't believe there are any beginning readers who would not benefit from using text-to-speech. --Paul