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Use Text to Speech (TextHelp) on Advanced Assessments
Use Text to Speech (TextHelp) on Advanced Assessments

Learn how to enable a text-to-speech read aloud tool that also has a single-word translator, dictionary, and optional highlighters.

Monica Burke avatar
Written by Monica Burke
Updated this week

This article is written as an informational guide for teachers. To see the article written for students on how to use the TextHelp Speechstream toolbar, click the button below.

Otus partners with Texthelp to bring the SpeechStream cloud-based, language and literacy support toolbar to Otus Advanced Assessments. This tool includes a text-to-speech read aloud, talking single-word translator, talking dictionary, picture dictionary, and highlighters.

How to Activate the Toolbar

When assigning an assessment, there is a checkbox for Texhelp Speechstream in the Settings section. This box must be checked in order to turn on the toolbar.

Toolbar Functions

Students will see the Texthelp toolbar in the upper-right corner when they start the Advanced Assessment. They can move the toolbar to any location on the screen by using the move icon.

Read Aloud Feature (Text-to-Speech)

There are optional settings for the read-aloud feature.

Under the General tab:

  • Voice Speed: The text can be read to the student slow, medium, or fast.

  • Text Highlight: As the text is spoken, it will be highlighted. The student can choose which color the text is highlighted in.

  • Speech Mode: The student can choose to have the text spoken upon click or hover.

Under the Translation tab:

  • Translations: The student can change both of these options to any of these languages: English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Student Use:

  • To use, the student will select the pointer icon, select a word, and the program will begin reading aloud from the beginning of the sentence. The student can stop or pause the reading at any time. To turn off the read-aloud, the student will select the pointer icon again.

Talking Single Word Translator

This function allows the student to see a translation of a single word.

Student Use:

  • The student will select a word, select the translation icon, and then select the play button next to each word to hear it read aloud.

Talking Dictionary

This function allows for the student to see a definition of a single word, as well as have the definition read aloud to them.

Student Use:

The student will select a word, select the book icon, and then select the play button next to each definition to hear it read aloud.

Picture Dictionary

This function gives the definition of a word in the form of a picture.

Student Use

The student will select a word and then select the picture icon.


Students can highlight portions of their assessment.

Student Use:

Students will select any number of words by clicking and dragging the cursor, select the highlighter icon, then select the color highlighter they wish to use.

  • Students can remove any of their highlights by selecting the text again, then selecting the paintbrush icon.

  • Students can also see all of their highlights together by selecting the collect icon.

Otus Live Video

Click to see a video from our Otus Live series on Text to Speech in Advanced Assessments.

FAQ and Troubleshooting

Click to see FAQ and troubleshooting details.

Can this feature be used on other assessments besides Advanced Assessments?

This feature can only be used on Advanced Assessments.

Is this something that the school needs to install and/or pay for?

No; this feature is available in all Otus account without the need for installation or extra payment.

Will this feature still work if the Lockdown Browser is being used?


Can text to speech be enabled just for certain students?

When you select "TextHelp SpeechStream" while assigning an assessment, it will be enabled for all students the assessment has been assigned to. If you only want it available to certain students, you can assign the assessment separately to those students. Click here for more information on how to select individual students or student groups when assigning and assessment.

Can I enable highlighting, note-taking, or annotation tools without turning on text-to-speech?

Yes! The Student Annotations feature when assigning an Advanced Assessment has a highlighter, notepad, sticky note, and drawing mode that is entirely independent of TextHelp Speechstream. It can be enabled when assigning (or by viewing the Settings on the assigned assessment) simply by enabling the Allow Student Annotation checkbox, at the bottom of the Assign page.

Student Annotations are just used for student reference and convenience while taking the assessment, their annotations are not accessible to teachers.

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