Common Sense Review
Updated December 2012

ClaroSpeak US

Give kids a voice with supportive, quality text-to-speech tool
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Type content to be spoken directly into the app or open a file from other locations.
  • Sentences are highlighted as they are spoken.
  • Save and share files for use by others.
  • The many settings help customize reading text as well as listening to playback.
  • Choose from five different voices; add more with in-app purchases.
Pros
Simple user interface makes it accessible to kids of varying ages and needs.
Cons
Voice choices are limited, unless you make in-app purchases.
Bottom Line
It's easy to use, and the multiple settings and functions make this app well worth the price.
Dana Villamagna
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Kids who need the support of this app to read or communicate will likely find it highly engaging. Fun isn't a big issue; it's designed well and serves its purpose.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

A deeper quality of learning is facilitated by making it easier for kids to communicate or absorb information that may prove challenging in a different form.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The "Visit Website" option under the app's "i" tab moves users out of the app and to the developer's website, where they will find a very thorough user guide and FAQ for support. There are many customizable settings.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Depending on student needs, there are a ton of ways to incorporate this app into classroom use. It could be an outstanding resource for special needs classes or helping kids with different learning styles keep up with reading concepts. Kids could also proofread writing or get a clearer understanding of what they've written by hearing their own words read back to them; great for essays, stories, or even poems.

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What's It Like?

ClaroSpeak US is a text-to-speech app you type or paste content into, then tap the play button to hear the audio. It can save content as audio or text files, and users can send files via email, text message, or save them to Dropbox. In-app purchases are available for different voices in 27 languages.

When you open the app, a white screen appears, where you can enter words using a keypad or by pasting from another source. Across the top of the screen is a toolbar with a set of options: tap to open text, audio, or Dropbox-based files; paste, undo, or clear text; get more info; and play, save, or send content. You can also clear text by shaking the device. Set customizable settings from the tool bar, including rate of speaking voice, font, color, and a feature called "typing echo" (words are echoed after they are typed).

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Is It Good For Learning?

ClaroSpeak US has some unique features that place it a notch above many other apps of its kind, like highligting each word on the screen as the text is spoken. While text-to-speech apps may not directly apply to many of the Common Core standards beyond 2nd Grade, they can certainly support Language Arts, Social Studies and others for kids with special needs at any grade level.  From creating audio versions of textbook chapters or worksheets for kids who have impaired vision, dyslexia, or other learning challenges (or are reading below grade level for whatever reason), to a kid copying a rough draft of a report into the app and listening to the spoken playback, this app is an incredibly useful tool. For kids with speech challenges but who can read and type, this app also provides a stand-in voice for them.

While the five voices provided are quite natural, they're far from perfect. Still, none of the five are hard on the ear and the app's pronunciation of words is almost always spot-on.

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See how teachers are using ClaroSpeak US