ReadSpeaker: Use ReadSpeaker and ReadSpeaker TextAid in Canvas

ReadSpeaker and ReadSpeaker TextAid

ReadSpeaker is a screen reader tool enabled in Canvas. The tool can highlight and read aloud text on a Canvas page. Readspeaker is available to all Canvas users. ReadSpeaker TextAid (or TextAid) is an additional accessibility tool that allows users to have nearly any text highlighted and read aloud, including documents, websites, text composed by a user, and more. TextAid must be enabled by instructors within a Canvas course module for student to have access to the tool.

These tools make course content more accessible to all learners by enabling multiple learning modalities, but the tools are especially beneficial for learners with any of a variety of different reading and learning disabilities, and for those with English as a second language. There is not a way for individual users to disable the ReadSpeaker widget in their Canvas account.

Using ReadSpeaker

To get started with ReadSpeaker, click the ReadSpeaker icon in the lower left corner of the Canvas page. The icon is a simple black 'play' button on a white background.
ReadSpeaker Widget. A small black 'play' button on a white background.

Clicking the icon will detach the widget from the side of the browser window and also expand the ReadSpeaker toolbar. Click on the grid to drag and place the ReadSpeaker toolbar anywhere on the webpage.
Expanded ReadSpeaker Widget.

Click the Play button on the toolbar to use ReadSpeaker to read the text on the page. Click the three vertical lines in the lower left of the toolbar to access other features and the options menu. Adjustable settings include text highlighting, word color, sentence color, text color, text visibility, speed, and automatic scrolling.
ReadSpeaker Widget additional features and options menu.

Using ReadSpeaker TextAid

ach Canvas user can use TextAid to create or upload documents to their personal TextAid library and use TextAid for the following actions. Watch a video on ReadSpeaker TextAid functionality (5:09).

  • Read text aloud from a document or as you type
  • Mask surrounding text to focus on one line at a time
  • Save text as a portable audio file for listening on the go
  • Convert images of text to readable text
  • Read text aloud from a website
  • and more...

To access ReadSpeaker TextAid from anywhere in Canvas.

  1. Click Account in the leftmost Canvas menu
  2. Click ReadSpeaker TextAid in the flyout menu

Faculty can also enable ReadSpeaker TextAid within a Canvas course module by using the following step.

  1. Create a module, or use an existing one, in your Canvas course site
  2. Click the "+" button on the module to add an item
  3. Select External Tool from the dropdown list
  4. Scroll through the list of tools and select ReadSpeaker TextAid
  5. Click Add Item to add TextAid to the module
  6. Publish the tool and the module by clicking the gray "Not" icons to the right of the tool and the module names
  7. Consider adding a Canvas content page to the module with general instructions on how to use TextAid. Feel free to use or adapt the following text and YouTube video:
    "You can use the ReadSpeaker tool at the lower left corner of the Canvas screen to have text on any Canvas page read aloud. To do this for documents, Web pages, your own writing, or other content, click the ‘ReadSpeaker TextAid’ link in the Canvas course module. TextAid opens a page within the Canvas course site with a full toolset to upload files and work with many types of content and have them read aloud, highlighted and more."
    ReadSpeaker YouTube video (5:09)

Watch a video on Enabling and Using ReadSpeaker TextAid (2:41)

Still have questions?

If you questions about this topic or related topics, please use one of the following methods to contact the Canvas team at Oregon State:

  • Add a comment/question to this article using the tools below the article
  • Send an email to


Article ID: 69905
Wed 1/9/19 9:05 AM
Tue 11/2/21 11:55 AM