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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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Technology Type: Visual

Category: Screen Readers


A Screen Reader is the commonly used name for Voice Output Technology used by learners who are unable to read the standard text displayed on screen. This software is commonly used by students who are blind or low vision. Screen readers produce synthesized speech output for text displayed on the computer screen, as well as for keystrokes entered on the keyboard. The output can also be translated into braille.

Because the preferences of the user may vary considerably, this software is highly configurable. For example, most screen readers allow the user to select whether most punctuation is announced or silently ignored; image descriptions may be turned off or on, etc.

Screen readers may be used with the computers operating system, with almost any software application and with the web. Some software applications have custom scripts for JAWS users to improve usability.

You may want to experience a simulation of a screenreader. What is it like to listen to a web page? Visit WebAim Screen Reader Simulation.

Screenshot of JAWS start screen


  • Screen reader technology is very empowering for users and provides independence.
  • Saves time and cost of converting learning resources to tape or braille.
  • Usable with any application.

Note: Provider of digital content, including web resources, must ensure that content is accessible to the technologies that blind people use. Graphic components must be associated with text alternatives.


View a long video demonstrating use of a screenreader.


A full range of tutorials on use of Write:Outloud are available from the Special Education Technology British Columbia Organization. Visit SET-BC JAWS Resources.

See also Keyboard Shortcuts for JAWS.

Quick Start

JAWS Quick Start Tutorial