Last night I stumbled across the website for Read the Words. After a few attempts at recording a message with the reader, I finally settled on the welcome message you see on the right of this screen. If you haven't already, please take a few seconds and listen to the message.
I could have used an avatar to read the message, but chose not to this time. As an educator, I immediately thought of the ways the Read the Words service could be used - especially for students that have difficulty reading. Or, it might be a way to give voice to a student that is unable to speak loudly in front of a group due to a healthy issue or disability. Once you have one of their free accounts, you can choose to type in text, or take it from a website or PDF file, and then save it as a reading. You can choose from 15 different voices, male or female, English, Spanish, or French. Once saved, you can download the file to listen to on your computer, an MP3 player or Ipod, or in Windows Media Player.
I encourage teachers to visit Read the Words and see if this is something that might be helpful to you as you work with students of all abilities. I do think though, that the most powerful voice for student presentations is their voice.