ClaroRead 7.1 Released

ClaroRead 7.1 Released on

This week, Claro Software are pushing out a minor update to their text-to-speech software, ClaroRead. It is a point update with some simple improvements to make servicing the software easier, to extend speech, and make a lot of small technical improvements.

ClaroRead Version 7.1

What is included in the update?

The update to version 7.1 includes a range of new features and technical changes to ClaroRead. A scan-from-screen tool has been integrated into ClaroRead Standard. This was a feature that was previously limited to Plus and Pro, and allows you to scan an inaccessible part of a webpage or document and paste the text into another application. The text can then be read aloud by pressing the play button on the toolbar. This feature can be quickly launched using the key combination Ctrl + Shift + S. The update also allows you to install up to eighty additional voices covering 30 languages via the Claro Voice Setup program.

A wide range of technical changes and fixes have been made in this update. Details of this can be found on the Version 7.1 Release Notes web page.

How do I update my current version of ClaroRead?

To update to version 7.1, you will need to login at ClaroRead Cloud. From there you will be able to update your software to the new version.

For any more information about the minor update that has been released, please comment below.

C-Pen Reader Scanning Pen Review


Scanning pens, such as the C-Pen Reader, are a popular form of assistive technology which help those with literacy difficulties access printed text. They are especially handy for those with dyslexia as they can read aloud text from books, labels and documents. This tackles literacy difficulties surrounding reading that many dyslexic children and adults face on a day to day basis.

There are many scanner pens which are also approved by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams. This means that students with literacy difficulties can independently take their exam knowing that they can read and understand each question. Other portable scanner pens include the Exam Pen Reader from C-PenIRIS Pen and the Wizcom Reading Pens. To find out more about any of these assistive technology products, please visit the Scanning Pens page on

Image of the C-Pen Reader Scanning Pen

How does the C-Pen Reader work?

The C-Pen Reader is the latest scanner pen which was released by C-Pen in November 2015. C-Pen also created the 3.5 Bluetooth Portable Scanning Pen and the TS1 Digital Highlighter Pen. These products have now been discontinued, but the new C-Pen Reader is a great replacement.

It uses impressive optical character recognition (OCR)technology to read aloud printed text. With the integrated Collins 10th Edition English Dictionary, individual words can be highlighted and the definition read aloud. This is particularly helpful for dyslexic children and adults who struggle understanding complex words but prefer to hear words read aloud to them. The C-Pen Reader comes complete with a headphone jack so the handy tool can be made more discrete if you are listening to text in public places.

How does it differ from other scanning pens and digital highlighters on the market?

There are lots of different digital highlighters and scanner pens on the market, so what makes the C-Pen Reader any different? Well, it features a much clearer and more natural text-to-speech voice than most reading pens. This makes it a lot easier to understand the words and hear pronunciations. It is also much more accurate when scanning over a line of text. Some pens that read can struggle when moving at a faster pace; however the C-Pen Reader worked quite well.

The size of the C-Pen Reader scanning pen is fantastic. It is half the size of other reading pens and weighs just 50g. Measuring just 13.5cm long, it can be used by younger children from aged 6+ as well as younger children. Plus, its ergonomic design means that it’s very easy to hold and move along a page of text.

The C-Pen Reader is the first portable line scanner on the market that is both Mac and PC compatible. With no software needed, you simply need to connect the pen to your computer via the USB cable and it will appearas an external hard drive. You can scan pieces of text, store to the pens memory and transfer to your computer. This is an extremely useful feature if you are a university student or researcher. The C-Pen Reader also doubles up as a USB drive with 3GB of data space available.

A feature that is very useful is the Voice memo tool. The reading pen doubles up as a dictaphone and allows you to record audio and voice memos. These files are saved to the device and can be listened to or uploaded to your computer at any time.

How can I buy the C-Pen Reader Scanning Pen?

Simply follow this link to purchase the C-Pen Reader on >>

C-Pen Reader and Exam Reader launched on


This week, we launched the brand new C-Pen Reader and Exam Reader on! These scanning devices are small, portable and lightweight, and designed to support those with reading difficulties such as dyslexia, or those learning English as a second language.

The C-Pen Reader allows the user to simply run the pen across any printed text, whether that is from books, newspapers or printed labels. This text will then be read aloud from a naturally speaking British English text-to-speech engine, allowing pronunciations of words to be heard. This is useful for those who struggle reading large pieces of text as they can use the pen to read this aloud to them. The integrated electronic dictionary allows the user to scan a word and have the definition displayed and read aloud. The C-Pen Reader saves words that you have looked up previously, so the history is available for you. It also contains a highly accurate optical character recognition (OCR) engine which enables you to capture printed text and save this instantly. The text can be transferred to your PC or Mac and converted into editable text. Follow this link to find out more about the C-Pen Reader >>

The C-Pen Exam Reader has been approved by The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) for use in exams. This allows students to independently take exams knowing that they can read and understand the questions and any additional text. Like the C-Pen Reader, the C-Pen Exam Reader allows students to run the pen across the printed exam question and instantly hear this read aloud in a naturally speaking British English text-to-speech engine. Follow this link to find out more about the C-Pen Exam Reader >>

ABBYY FineReader Answers the Call to Help Students with Learning Challenges

Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (CALL) Scotland is a unit within the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. It specialises in providing assistive technologies to Scottish students who have physical, communication or sensory difficulties and have trouble accessing standard curriculum materials.


More than 5% of pupils in Scotland need help in accessing the curriculum. the Scottish Government asked the CALL team to investigate how many pupils require books in more accessible formats, which formats were needed and where improvements could be made by using technology. the type of technology was not limited but any solution would need to be cost-effective and work on a large scale to meet the range of support required. out of this research a report was published titled ‘Books for All’.

The ‘Books for All’ project found that the needs of thousands of pupils in Scotland with sight impairments and those with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, or hearing impairment, were not being sufficiently addressed. these pupils often require digital versions that can be read out by a computer or other multimedia resources and ‘Books for All’ found these to be in short supply. To enable a computer to read text aloud it is necessary to scan the book, or other source material, into digital format and then convert the image to editable text. From this intermediate file, the ‘Books for All’ team can produce a variety of accessible formats. However, because the information in these source materials is ‘trapped’ in a format that does not allow for easy editing and reuse – in most cases as paper documents – the team determined they would need an optical character recognition (OCR) software program to read and convert the text within the scans before they could create further materials for students.



The ‘Books for All’ team chose ABBYY FineReader Professional Edition as a best-fit solution for their document conversion needs. ABBYY Finereader is a leading OCR software for converting scanned documents, PDFs and camera images into searchable and editable formats, including Microsoft® word and Excel®. Its advanced recognition capabilities provide full access to information locked on paper and images and virtually eliminates time-consuming retyping and reformatting. ABBYY’s exclusive technology ADRT® (Adaptive Document recognition technology) ensures accurate results not only when recognising single pages of text, but also in multipage documents. It re-creates a document’s logical structure, producing documents with precisely reproduced formatting attributes that will appear as native elements in a Microsoft word document: tables of contents, hierarchical headings, headers and footers, footnotes, page numbers, and font styles.

“We picked ABBYY FineReader for its ability to output in multiple formats and cost effectiveness – both key considerations to making the ‘Books for All’ project a success, helping students with differing disabilities communication, Access, Literacy and Learning (CALL) Scotland is a unit within the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh. It specialises in providing assistive technologies to Scottish students who have physical, communication or sensory difficulties and have trouble accessing standard curriculum materials have access to various curriculum material” states Paul Nisbet, Senior research Fellow at CALL Scotland.

CALL Scotland run training courses for staff and faculty members of schools throughout Scotland on how to create accessible books by using ABBYY FineReader software on their laptops. Staff members are walked through the use of FineReader, how to convert scanned curriculum material into editable Microsoft Word documents and how to convert these documents into the formats required for student needs. They now produce the widest range of accessible curriculum materials from sources including reading books, textbooks, exercise worksheets and assessments. the results of this work are Large Print, Adapted Print, Braille, and audio books as well as various accessible digital formats such as Daisy, PDF, word and eBook formats.


One example of the impact the ‘Books for All’ approach has had on the lives of Scottish students are digital versions of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam papers. Previously, a staff member would read the questions aloud to the pupil and then would write down the student’s answers. Now pupils with visual impairment or dyslexia can use text-to-speech to listen to the digital version of the exams, or zoom in on questions in order to more easily read them and those with physical disabilities can work independently to type their answers. The benefits gained from this program have been numerous. Students are more confident, independent and motivated when using digital exam papers. The number of employees required to staff an examination and the associated costs have been greatly reduced. The number of pupils now taking advantage of the Digital Exam papers has doubled year on year since they were first introduced, and in 2010 there were 1,962 requests to SQA for digital papers. CALL Scotland is now trying to raise awareness of the use of accessible books and resources so that pupils throughout Scotland can take advantage of this work. The team are working on a means for sharing existing assistive tools with teachers and students in different schools. The Scottish Government is currently funding work with Learning and teaching Scotland, a non-departmental public body that supports the development of the Scottish curriculum, to expand the ‘Books for All’ database.