Did you know that you can transform any text in almost any program into a spoken track on iTunes using your Mac? You can, and it is extraordinarily easy to do!
First you need to adjust a setting in your System Preferences:
1. Open System Preferences
2. Click the Keyboard icon
3. Select the Keyboard Shortcut tab
4. Choose “Services” in the left sidebar.
5. Scroll down to “Text” and check the box next to “Add to iTunes as Spoken Track”
Next, open any program and highlight some text (Pages, Word, an Internet browser, Mail, Notes, etc.):
1. Click on the program name in the menu bar (for example “Pages” or “Firefox”)
2. Select “Services” and click on “Add to iTunes as Spoken Track”
Finally, find your spoken track saved as an audio file in iTunes.
*Alex is the default voice used for the Spoken Track service. You can change the voice in System Preferences:
1. Open System Preferences.
2. Click on the Speech (microphone) icon.
3. Select the “Text to Speech” tab.
4. Choose a new system voice from the drop down menu. You can also adjust the speaking rate here.
How to use the Add Spoken Text to iTunes in the classroom: The ability to transform any text into spoken text is really amazing. Teach your emerging readers, struggling readers, or English as a second language readers this trick. As they encounter webpages, documents, or notes that they struggle reading independently, they can quickly add the text to iTunes as a spoken track that can be played as they read along. Have notes or information for your students? Create an audio track that they can download to their iPad or iPod Touch. This is a great built-in accessibility tool for students.
I often had my students creating multimedia projects. The problem? I had one microphone and a room full of 26 students at all times. Recording their own voice in their projects just wasn’t always possible. Solution? Have students type up the dialogue or narration in their project, send the spoken text to iTunes and add it to the project. Voila, problem solved!
Devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod (any), Apple computer