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Apps and other resources to help students with course and assignment readings


Back to school means lots of reading, as all students know! The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with info on programs, apps and resources that will enable you to do the reading you have to do for courses and assignments.

The list of resources, found below, is the result of the collective work of:

  • Kim Kilpatrick, GTT Coordinator
  • Rebecca Jackson, GTT, Summer Student Project
  • Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
  • Leo Bissonnette, AEBC National Board Member,

Our compiled list is not exhaustive. Indeed, it’s a start and we would welcome comments about our suggestions, along with other apps that you may have found helpful.


APPs Available in Both the iOS Apple App Store and the Google Playstore


The amazon Kindle app allows you to read books that you have purchased from amazon. You can download the kindle app by searching for it in the IOS app store. It is also available on android by searching the play store for kindle.

voice dream reader

This app allows you to read documents and play media from a wide range of formats. This app is available for both iOS and android. It should be noted that at this time more features are available in the iOS app than in the Android app. More info can be found at

knfb reader

This app performs OCR, optical character recognition. This means that you can scan printed material such as a printed handout and the text will be spoken on your phone. This app is available on on both iOS and android. Just search for knfb on the Apple Store or the play store. more info at

You can purchase stands that make scanning with this app easier. Here are links to two of them.

Capti Narrator

This app allows you to listen to documents with a text to speech voice. It is available on IOS and windows via firefox. You can also use it on a Chromebook. More info at


This app comes by default on your IOS device and is an online store that allows you to purchase and read books.


adobe acrobat reader

This program allows you to read accessible pdfs. To find out more about the accessibility of it go to

This is a website that converts written electronic documents to synthesized speech output. website:


This application allows you to convert ebooks to a format of your choice. more info at

libre office

This is a free alternative to Microsoft office. more info at



Another service that converts text to speech, also available on windows found at

Read hear pro

This app is a talking book player on mac and windows, more info at

Scanning Systems Software/Hardware Combinations

The systems, described below, work with both software and flatbed and cameras.

Two Solutions from Kurzweil Educational Systems

Kurzweil 1000 for blind users, and Kurzweil 3000 for LV and LD users: The Kurzweil 3000 is available on both the Mac and Windows platforms

The Kurzweil 1000 program has a number of useful features, including the ability to use a wide range of dictionaries and perform OCR, more info at:

DocuScan Plus:

A self-voicing online scan and read app that works in Windows and on the Mac from any online computer connected to a scanner. It will allow documents to be scanned to the user's folders in the Cloud for retrieval and use at the time, or later. It also converts PDF to text based files. More info at:


A resident self-voicing scan and read app for the Windows environment that also converts electronic PDF files to text for reading or editing. More information at:

abbyy FineReader

A resident scan and read app and PDF conversion tool for both the Mac and Windows environments. More information at:


A new player in the field of textbook sellers that offers all students with a new option to either buy or rent their course textbooks. Accessibility to materials is available on all platforms and technical support is available to help users of JAWS, Android and iOS devices as well as Mac users. In order to use the courseSmart service, you must create an account. For more details go to:


As you can see, there is a multitude of tools you can use to access printed materials and assist you in your studies. However due to the very individual nature of your postsecondary institution, it is very important that you contact your centre for students with disabilities. The people who work there know your school inside out


This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.
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