Talking spell-checkers combine spell check software with text to speech in order to correct spelling mistakes. It has the added advantage over a regular spell checker that the student gets to hear the word they think they’re trying to spell. While talking spell checkers are often included in reviews of assistive technology programs (e.g. Cummings, 2011), there is limited research on the effectiveness of this tool specifically. It has been shown with a combination of a spell-checker and text to speech in the program Writing Outloud that students produce more words, have less spelling errors, and produce higher quality compositions in a quasi-experimental study (Cullen, 2008).
Research Rating: Due to the experimental nature of the study cited above these results should be trusted as reliable, however further research is needed to corroborate these findings.
Reduces the reading demands when writing, and helps focus student attention on mistakes during the writing process.
Interrupts flow of writing and draws student attention to spelling instead of focusing on content
Many talking spell-checkers are part of a larger word processing assistive technology.
*Many products have an excellent spell-checker as well as text-to-speech capabilities. Together these can be used in the same way as a talking spell-checking. However, they lack the specificity (a talking spell checker speaks out loud specific mistakes/corrections).
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
Cullen, J., Richards, S. B., & Frank, C. L. (2008). Using software to enhance the writing skills of students with special needs. Journal of Special Education Technology, 23(2), 33-44.
Written by Francis Wall, Last Revision March 2018