March Madness – Reading Edition!
March is National Reading Month, so the Bridges Technical Assistance Center’s Helpdesk is celebrating March Madness – Reading Edition! This month, we will be sharing reading-related resources all month long.
- March 7: Free and Low-cost Braille Books
- March 14: Bookshare’s New App: Bookshare Reader
- March 21: Voice Dream Reader and More!
- March 28: Accessible College Textbook Program
In this third installment of our “March Madness – Reading Edition!” series, we delve into Voice Dream Reader as well as some other accessible reading apps.
About Voice Dream Reader
Voice Dream Reader is a versatile, navigable, and intuitive tool. For ten dollars, you can buy lifelong access to a powerful reading app.
Files that Voice Dream Reader Can Read
You can read multiple file types, including EPUB (that are DRM Free), DAISY Audio, DAISY Text, Plain Text, HTML, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint.
Additionally, Voice Dream Reader can scan many PDF files, even some that other readers might struggle with. If there is a PDF you want to read, you can check if Voice Dream Reader can do it by simply sharing the file with the app, and opening it. If Voice Dream Reader it gives you the option, you can proceed with the scan and read the PDF.
Easy to Load Files into Voice Dream Reader
Sometimes it can be frustrating to make sure the file you want is in a place that your reading app can access. You can store and organize books and other files from a variety of sources, including others apps, the web, and Bookshare. You can also use Voice Dream Reader to access local files on your device.
From a shared Google Drive folder to an online news article to anything from your Bookshare account, you should be able to access virtually any reading material. You should be able to navigate it systematically and customize how quickly and with which voice it is read to you. You can also keep track of it based on (1) where it came from, (2) when you downloaded it, and (3) other, more creative criteria up to and including renaming the file to something that makes more sense to you.
Other Voice Dream Reader Features
- Can pair with a refreshable braille display
- Control of Reading Modes
- Audio Controls
- Library Management
- Visual Controls
- Free companion Apple Watch app can play your reading list offline while not connected to iPhone
- Play recordings, like Zoom recordings. For example, if you save a Zoom meeting recording in Dropbox, you can then share it to Voice Dream Reader and play it back from there – including voice controls (speed, etc.).
Voice Dream Reader Limitations
Of course, no tool is perfect, and no reader is best for every situation. For example, when reading a data table, Voice Dream Reader will just represent the data as a block of text. Maybe that’s good enough for you. If not, perhaps the solution exists within the app itself, and perhaps it would be best to organize that data elsewhere. Either way, Voice Dream Reader tends to work well in the majority of circumstances. If there’s an issue with how best to use it, whether it’s a good fit for you, or what other apps might be best to supplement it, please reach out to us at the Free Bridges Helpdesk; we’re here to help you figure out how best to meet your needs and achieve your goals.
Voice Dream Reader is a paid app. It costs ten dollars ($10), but this is a one-time cost. You do not need to pay any additional fees for upgrades.
The Voice Dream Reader app is ONLY available on iOS platforms. This includes iPhones and iPads. However, Voice Dream Reader is not available on Android devices, and it is not available to use on a computer.
Other Free Accessible Reading Apps
- Offers features similar to those of Voice Dream Reader, including reading controls and OCR
- Free (more features and voices are available with paid upgrade)
- Free (paid versions and voices available)
- Offers features similar to those of Voice Dream Reader, including reading controls and support for multiple formats
- Supports multiple languages
- Note: “Access to the BARD web site is restricted to eligible readers.” Please contact the Free Bridges Helpdesk for more information.
Bridges Can Help
For more information, including help in funding the hardware or software needed to access reading materials, please reach out to us at the Free Bridges Helpdesk.
Even if you just want to chat about the different options and experiment with them, we are happy to set up a phone call, Zoom meeting, or FaceTime meeting to work with you on any topic.
Whatever you decide, and however you go about it, we look forward to hearing from you. And, happy reading!
Follow the Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page for more transition tips, and please contact the Bridges Technical Assistance Center’s Free Helpdesk for Maryland Blind/Low Vision Transition Students, Families, and Educators anytime using:
- Our Accessible web form
- Email: Helpdesk@IMAGEmd.org
- Text or Leave a Voice mail message: (410) 357-1546
- Bridges Helpdesk Facebook page or Facebook Messenger
This unique project is being coordinated through The IMAGE Center of Maryland, a center for independent living in Towson, and it is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.