How to automatically play "Read-Aloud" instructions for students

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Yes! Many lessons in Code.org's courses offer a read-aloud option for students. You can even set some courses to read instructions aloud to your students automatically. Code.org offers the following 'read aloud' features:

  • Text-to-speech read-aloud of lesson instructions in CS Fundamentals and most Hour of Code courses - NEW! this feature can be turned on automatically for students, or triggered by students individually on each level, when they need it.
  • Immersive Reader for lesson instructions - this feature reads text aloud to students in a separate experience, and allows them to change other settings to make it easier for them to read and process the lesson instructions.

We recommend introducing your students to these features as they can help students learning to read; students learning a second (or third!) language; and/or students who process information in different ways.

Text-to-speech (TTS) for lesson instructions

Text-to-speech reads the lesson instructions aloud to students in a 'computerized' voice. It keeps students in the Code.org experience and can help them make progress on levels even if they have trouble reading the instructions to themselves.

Where can my students find this?

The text-to-speech (TTS) control is represented by the speaker + play icon located in the upper, right hand corner of the instructions panel in many Code.org lessons. Students can tap the control to have the instructions read aloud to them.

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If the icons are missing from the level, it means this level does not currently support text-to-speech.

 

Can I turn text-to-speech on for my students so it reads them instructions automatically?

Yes! Teachers can choose to have text-to-speech read lesson instructions to their students automatically when they open a level, so students don't have to remember to tap the play button. This option is available for classroom sections assigned to CS Fundamentals, Courses 1-4, or Hour of Code courses, and it will affect all students in the classroom section when it's turned on.

 

You can turn the Automatic Instruction Playback setting on when creating a new section OR update the setting in the Edit Section Details dialog for an existing section. To adjust this setting for an existing section, do the following:

  1. Go to your teacher homepage (studio.code.org/home)
  2. Find the section you want to enable / disable the setting for in your Classroom Sections table and tap the Gear / Settings icon that corresponds with that section on the far, right-hand side of the table.
  3. Choose "Edit section details" from the menu 
  4. Make sure your section is assigned to a course from this list in the dialog that appears: a CS Fundamentals course, Courses 1-4, or an Hour of Code course. This will cause the setting to be visible at the bottom of the dialog.

The setting looks like this:

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Can individual students still use text-to-speech to hear lesson instructions when the automatic read-aloud setting is turned off for their classroom section?

Yes! If you do not want all students in your section to automatically hear lesson instructions read aloud to them OR students are using a browser that does not support the automatic read aloud feature, students can still choose to use text-to-speech to listen to lesson instructions on individual levels where it is supported. They will need to tap the icon on each level to hear the lesson instructions read aloud.

 

Is text-to-speech available for all Code.org courses and Internet browsers?

Code.org courses: Text-to-speech is available for most levels in CS Fundamentals, Courses 1-4, and Hour of Code courses. Select levels in CS Principles and CS Discoveries will also offer text-to-speech, but many levels in these courses do not yet support this feature.

Internet Browsers: Text-to-speech will work for all of Code.org's supported browsers (see details), but the automated read aloud setting will only work for students using Code.org with Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Edge browsers.

 

Immersive Reader

Immersive Reader can also read lesson instructions aloud to students, but it provides more functionality than the basic text-to-speech feature above and can be additionally helpful for students who need to make adjustments to lesson text, language, or the structure of sentences in order to process a lesson's instructions.

The Immersive Reader feature takes students to a new page (eliminating distractions) and allows them to change font size, text spacing, and background color; split up words into syllables; highlight verbs, nouns, adjectives and sub-clauses; choose between two fonts optimized to help with reading; read out text aloud, and change the speed of reading; and translate text into different languages.

You can read more about Immersive Reader's features here! 

 

Where can students find the Immersive Reader feature?

The Immersive Reader control is represented by the book + speaker icon and is located in the upper, right hand corner of the instructions panel next to the text-to-speech control. Students can tap the book + speaker icon to enter the Immersive Reader experience.

Is Immersive Reader available on all Code.org courses and in all internet browsers?

Courses: Immersive Reader is available on programming levels in Code.org's courses. Concept levels (represented with a diamond mceclip2.png) do not yet support Immersive Reader.

Internet Browsers: Immersive Reader is supported in all of Code.org's supported browsers (see details); however, we have found that Immersive Reader does not work well for Chrome users who have either Vernier Graphical Analysis or Sketchpad browser extensions / widgets enabled.

 

Questions? Something not working as expected?

Reach out to support@code.org.

 

 

 

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