Reading Tools

Many students with reading disabilities or other print-based disabilities require e-text to have equal access to their course readings. Below are resources and suggestions for students who use e-text.


Buy your books however you wish and save your receipts. Make an appointment to see Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman, who will provide you with accessible e-text copies of your books. While some books may be available in just one day, others may take a week or more.


Read&Write is a suite of reading, writing, and study tools that appear in a toolbar on your screen. It includes a text-to-speech app that will read your textbooks aloud to you while highlighting each word on the screen. All SUNY Cortland students may download and install Read&Write on their own Mac or Windows computers.

Built into Mac OSX

This is how to set your Mac up to read text aloud to you when you select text and hit a keyboard shortcut.

Text-to-Speech Mobile Apps

These free or low-cost apps will read your e-text aloud to you on your tablet or phone.


Speak Selection Built into iOS
Voice Dream for iOS
Prizmo for iOS will allow you to take a photo of a document, recognize it as text, and have your device read it aloud.


@Voice Aloud Reader for Android
Voice Dream for Android
Talk for Android
GoRead for Android

Free Accessible E-text

Bookshare has a wide catalog of hundreds of thousands of popular books available for download in a variety of accessible formats. It also offers apps and computer voices you may use to listen to Bookshare books. The Office of Disability Services must verify your registration with SUNY Cortland for you to get a free membership from Bookshare.

Public domain books (old books out of copyright) are available for free from Project Gutenberg, Amazon, and Google Books. These are often accessible through text-to-speech software.

Please note that most ebooks will not work in text-to-speech software. This includes Google Books, Kindle, Nook, and most e-textbook formats. If you wish to purchase an accessible ebook, contact Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman for assistance.

Readings Assigned by Instructors on Blackboard, Library E-Reserve, or Paper Handouts

It is your instructor's responsibility to ensure these readings are accessible. Be sure to have a discussion with your instructor about this as early in the semester as possible. Refer your instructor to Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman with any questions. Then, quickly check your readings to ensure they are accessible. If you can select the text by dragging your cursor over it to highlight it, then your text-to-speech app can read it aloud. If not, you may be able to use Read&Write to recognize the text in the PDF. However, the speech might be garbled if the image quality is poor or if there is writing or underlining on the page. If the image quality is poor or if you cannot recognize the text, notify your instructor and Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman immediately.

Library Research

Many of the readings you can obtain through library databases or interlibrary loan are accessible. To ensure your interlibrary loan readings are accessible, make sure to put a note in the request that you "need a clean and searchable copy." For further training on finding accessible copies through library research, see Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman.


You may have text-to-speech software read your exams aloud to you. You may schedule your exams with this accommodation through the Test Administration Scheduling System. More information about receiving equal access on your exams may be found on our Test Accommodations page.