Cynthia Fernandez visited the BSU team in May to promote a product of which she is very passionate. She first came across the Reader Pen when researching tools to assist her own son, who has experienced significant challenges related to dyslexia.
The Reader Pen is a portable scanning tool (about the size of a highlighter) used to convert text to speech. By scanning typed text line-by-line, the pen narrates the information back to the student through personal earphones. This text can also be saved to a computer, thereby creating summary notes. By directing the pen towards a single word, the student is able to access the dictionary definition from the Collins Dictionary software.
According to Cynthia, the tool is a great asset for negotiating the volume of reading required in and outside of the classroom. The tool becomes particularly handy when completing homework, creating personal summary texts, and studying for tests. The learner can become an independent reader, both in terms of school-required reading, as well as reading for pleasure.
In the case of students who have qualified for a Reader following a psycho-educational assessment, the Reader Pen may offer an alternative. Instead of employing a person to physically read question papers aloud to a learner in a separate venue, the pen and earphones set could afford the user the opportunity to write in the same venue as his peers. It is important to note, however, that this option is still under review by the Western Cape Education Department, and may not be accepted as a valid concession for Matric exams.
The Codpast YouTube channel is dedicated to reviewing text-to-speech tools. A review video can be screened here.
For more information, Cynthia Fernandez can be contacted at http://www.readerpen.co.za