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Reading Tools

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


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.

Capti Voice

Capti is a web and mobile app that will read your textbooks, exams, and other readings aloud to you while highlighting each word on the screen. SUNY Cortland students may get an account activated by Disability Resources for no cost. 

Immersive Reader

All SUNY Cortland students have free access to this powerful reading tool that's built into most Microsoft Office apps. Maybe you want to have an email read aloud to you; or a paper you are drafting; or notes you typed for class; or a webpage your instructor assigned to you. Learn about how you can use Immersive Reader's text-to-speech and other features in OutlookWord, OneNote, and Edge.

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 Apps

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


Thorium is a great EPUB reader


Speak Selection is built into iOS
Voice Dream 
Dolphin Easy Reader 
Microsoft Lens will allow you to take a photo of a document, recognize it as text, and have your device read it aloud. You may also save it into OneDrive or OneNote.


Legere Reader (formerly Voice Dream
Dolphin Easy Reader 
@Voice Aloud Reader 
Microsoft Lens will allow you to take a photo of a document, recognize it as text, and have your device read it aloud. You may also save it into OneDrive or OneNote.

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. Contact the Disability Resources Office 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.


Most ebooks purchased at the College Store are through Red Shelf, which has it's own built-in text-to-speech reader

A "read aloud" feature is also available in VitalSource Bookshelf

Many ebooks will not work in text-to-speech software. 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 Capti 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 information, visit Memorial Library's page on accessibility.


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