Talking Pointer, or Hover Speech, software converts the mouse pointer into a reading tool (Texthelp Ltd., 2016). When the mouse pointer stops over text or a location on the computer, the software will automatically begin to read the sentence or paragraph over which the mouse is hovering. This enables readers to quickly search for an important point in a document or have text audibly presented to them (Learning & Leading with Technology, 2004; Premier Literacy, 2012). This feature can be turned off at any time. Talking Pointers are closely related to Text-to-Speech (TTS) technology; both assistive technologies have text voice options that the user can select from the menu. Talking Pointers come with a delay time option which gives varying amounts of time in seconds. This function indicates how long the user must hover over the text before the text is read.
Research Rating: Due to pairing with TTS and lack of peer reviewed research, Talking Pointers have not been independently studied. However, TTS as a whole is a reliable and very validated technology.
Effective in circumventing problems for students with learning disabilities affecting reading
Can be used by individuals with any level of vision or visual impairment
Can assist writers in editing and proofreading texts
Can be used to translate text into different languages
May not highlight the text as it is being read; bimodal reading ability (Montali & Lewandowski, 1996)
Choose the correct text-to-speech voice to aid in improved comprehension (Cunningham, 2011)
Choosing the correct delay time is important, especially if the pointer does not highlight the text as it is reading. The user does not want the tech to begin reading every time their cursor becomes momentarily idle, however they also don't want to wait unecceraility long wait times for the cursor to begin reading.
For more information about Text-to-Speech technologies, check out our TTS page.
Special Consideration: Workflow
Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed.
$ - Under $5
$$ - Between $6 and $50
$$$ - Between $51 and $250
$$$$ - Over $250
Montali, J., & Lewandowski, L. (1996). Bimodal Reading: Benefits of a talking computer for average and less skilled readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29(3), 271-279.
Premier Literacy. (2012, May 6). Universal reader plus – Talking pointer. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv98OhIICIg.
Talking Pointer. (2004, December). Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(4), 62. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.myaccess.library.utoronto.ca/apps/doc/A126553994/AONE?u=utoronto_main&sid=AONE&xid=9d9260e.
Texthelp Ltd. (2016). Read & Write for Google Chrome. Quick Reference Guide. Retrieved from https://www.texthelp.com/Uploads/MediaLibrary/texthelp/US-Training-Documents/Read-Write-for- Google-Chrome-Quick-Reference-Guide-Oct-2016.pdf.
Written by Tresa Jules, Last Revision April 2018