Accessible Readings - Students - SUNY Cortland

Accessible Readings - Students

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.

Text-to-Speech Apps

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

NaturalReader for PC, Mac, or iOS

Speech Built into Mac OSX

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 read it aloud.

Talk for Android
GoRead for Android

Text-to-Speech and MP3 Apps

These free or low-cost apps will read your e-text aloud to you and will create mp3 files of it if you choose.

Balabolka for PC
GhostReader for Mac

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 usually 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. 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 select 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. See Jeremy Zhe-Heimerman to schedule your exams with this accommodation.