Would you like your computer to read books aloud to you?

Our book CDs include the installation file for the trial version of ReadPlease voice conversion software. (DVDs includes plain-text books only -- no software and no other formats). You'll find installation instructions in the index.html document on your CD. The trial version of ReadPlease Plus will let you read files of any size, but it expires after 30 days, after which you could buy a license from ReadPlease for $49.95. The free version (which in part of the same installation file), has no time limit, but can only handle files 16 Kbytes or less, which will probably be a major nuisance if you want it to read books (which typically are 100 Kbytes to 1 Mbyte in size).

Once you have installed either version, you can open ReadPlease by clicking on an icon on your desktop.

When running ReadPlease, click on File, then Open, and browse to the texts you are interested on the CD (or any other text file you have). Click on Play and it will start "reading" the complete file aloud to you. Highlight a chunk of text (of any size) with your browser and then click on Selection, and it will read the text you selected. Controls in the right column allow you to change the speed of the voice (with a sliding bar), change the font size (with a sliding bar), and switch among four different voices (with the right and left arrows). You can edit the text right in the text window of ReadPlease, adding your notations, and marks you might want to make to indicate where you last stopped reading, and then save that edited book wherever you'd like on your hard drive. You'll find other choices under Options.

Please keep in mind that ReadPlease is their software not ours. They are the experts on it. They have even better versions with even clearer, more natural voices, which they sell. You can listen to samples at their Web site www.readplease.com, where you can also see detailed help files. And you can contact them at: ReadPlease Corporation, 121 Cherry Ridge Road, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada P7G 1A7. Phone: 807-474-7702

How might you use it? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Have the computer read aloud to you while you do email and while you wash the dishes and while you exercise.
  • Have it read lists of vocabulary or lines from plays that you have to memorize.
  • Have it read to you while you fall asleep at night.
  • If you happen to learn and remember better what you hear than what you see, or if hearing and seeing at the same time boosts your recall, use this capability for everything you study.
  • If you absolutely, positively have to remember something in the morning, have it read that text to you while you fall sleep at night.
  • Use it as a teaching tool for a child who is learning to read. You see the text at the same time as you hear it, and yellow highlight moves from one word to the next.
By the way, at their site, ReadPlease indicates that they are working on Spanish, French, Protuguese, Italian, German, and Dutch versions of their software. They promise to make free versions of those available for download. Then you'll be able to use this capability for studying foreign languages. In that case our World Literature CD could prove particularly valuable, with lots of books in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.