Blind World Magazine

TEXT TALKER: New Teaching Tool.




February 14, 2006.
Press Release.




Merit Software announces the addition of a voice component, called the Merit Text Talker


www.meritsoftware.com/text_talker/


to most of its English language improvement programs. With the Merit Text Talker, all of the passages, questions, answers, tips and explanations students view on the screen can be spoken aloud. This is a new innovation that shortens the time required to grasp key English language concepts.


Text-to-speech functionality is now seamlessly integrated into the software. With just two clicks, students can command that text be spoken aloud without additional windows opening or closing. There is no copying and pasting of text, or toggling back and forth between applications. Students may repeat words and phrases as often as they choose, and from wherever they wish within the context of Merit's skill-building exercises.


Words are highlighted in synchrony with their enunciation, providing emphasis and helping students follow the text. The company provides two high-quality North American voices. Users may also install their own regional voice into the Merit Text Talker.


Research has shown that a multi-sensory approach to instruction shortens the length of time required to grasp essential English language concepts. Even before the addition of speech capability, Merit programs have been evaluated through rigorous research and shown to have a long term positive effect on student mastery of essential English language concepts.


Merit expects that the fresh instructional enhancement of including text-to-speech will be beneficial to a wide variety of students, including but not limited to English language learners, people with learning disabilities, and remedial readers.


The Merit Text Talker is included with the installation CD-ROM for all 1-Station, 5-Station, 10-Station, and Site License networkable versions of Merit reading, vocabulary and grammar programs. Home versions purchased on a CD-ROM also include the Merit Text Talker. The Merit Text Talker may be purchased separately for Home versions sold by download.


The Merit Text Talker runs under Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows XP and uses the Microsoft Speech Application Interface Version 5 (SAPI 5). SAPI 5 is pre-installed on Windows XP and freely distributed by Microsoft. The Merit Text Talker functions only with Merit programs. It does not read-aloud common documents such as Word or PDF files.


Although other screen reader products can be used with Merit Software, they do not combine the quality of voices, ease of use, and other features of the Merit Text Talker.


RAM usage on most Merit programs is between 32 and 75 MB. Merit programs use many shared components, so each additional program installed will usually take no more than 5 MB of hard disk space. A few graphic-intensive programs will use an additional 55 MB. The Merit Text Talker requires 500 MB of hard disk space and 20 additional MB of RAM.


To see how the Merit Text Talker works, please go to www.meritsoftware.com/text_talker/ Complete copies of all Merit programs are available for review upon request.



Source URL: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/2/prweb345235.htm.




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