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September 28, 2023

5 reasons you should be using a screen reader

A screen reader is exactly what it sounds like—a software program that converts screen elements, like text, buttons, and images, into speech. Basically, it reads and narrates on-screen text to inform you about the content and page layout. While screen readers were originally designed for individuals who are blind or have low vision, anyone can benefit from using one. Here are the top five reasons why you should incorporate a screen reader into your workflow or study sessions.

1. Accessibility

Screen readers make the digital world more accessible for people with visual assistance needs. For example, many computer users with dyslexia use screen readers to have content narrated to them to increase their comprehension of the material. With a screen reader, anyone can browse the web, read emails, use their operating system, and consume content.

2. Improved productivity

Using a screen reader can boost your productivity levels. While you’re listening to on-screen text being narrated, you can multitask and get more done. Divide your focus among a variety of tasks and stop focusing solely on the computer screen, which can be tiring and cause eye strain. Screen readers can also help speed up tasks such as email reading and web browsing.

3. Language learning

Learning a new language? Using a screen reader can help with pronunciation, spelling, memorization, and reading comprehension. You can listen to the text being read aloud and follow along on the page to reinforce your vocabulary and grammar skills. Even if you’re using your screen reader in your native language, hearing something out loud can increase your comprehension of the material.

4. Grammar checking

Because of the way our brains work, it’s easier to hear grammar and spelling mistakes than it is to see them. Proofreading something you wrote using your computer’s screen reader feature is a great way to catch errors and ensure you’re turning in your best work.

5. Personal preference

Finally, screen readers can be used by anyone who prefers audial feedback over visual feedback. Some people, like auditory learners, find it easier to listen to content over reading it on their screen. By using a screen reader, you can listen to emails, documents, articles, and more in a digestible format.

Screen readers are a valuable tool for anyone who uses a computer or mobile device. If you haven't already, it's worth trying out a screen reader to see how it can benefit you. If you’re a Windows 11 user, take advantage of Windows Narrator—a free screen-reading app that’s already built into your browser—to use apps, surf the web, and more.

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