Listen to this: words aloud

My goodness. A plethora of free audio resources have become available on the Web and I’ve finally collected a selection in one place. I can’t claim that I’ve tried them all, but I can tell you a little about each (not that anyone can’t copy and paste from a Web site and do a little editing…).

First, here’s a list of sources that offer free audio books and other materials. It’s important to note that text transcripts of the audio files available at these sites are uncommon. has 500+ free audio and video titles that have been collected from the Web. Their directory features free audio books, lectures, speeches, sermons, interviews, and many other great free audio and video resources. Most audio titles can be downloaded in digital formats such as MP3 and most video titles are available to stream online. The link above will take you directly to LearnOutLoud’s directory of free audio and video titles. Note that you can also purchase titles of materials that are in copyright and therefore not freely usable. has MP3, iPod, and DVD audio books (adventures, detectives, horrors, classics, children, non-fiction, philosphy, etc.) for download. According to its Web site, every audio book is produced and recorded by professional actors/narrators and experienced directors. The site is organized by category (fiction, children’s, non-fiction), as well as a listing of daily additions. If you’re looking to grow your own audio library in an instant, you can opt to purchase the whole site collection or bundles. offers public domain literature paired with audio performances. They set themselves apart from other sources that offer audio books by stating that “putting the text and audio together, readers can learn spelling, punctuation and paragraph structure by listening and reading masterpieces of the written word.” Their collection of children’s stories, poetry, short stories, novels, and history is small but growing. They actively seek donations on their homepage. For example, currently they’re raising money to complete the narration of The Scarlet Letter.

LibriVox has volunteers who record chapters of books in the public domain and release the audio files back onto the Web. According to their Web site, their goal is to make all public domain books available as free audio books. LibriVox is a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.

If you have your own digital text that you want to have read aloud, here are a couple of nifty and free online tools: is a free online text to audio conversion tool. Simply tell it what you want to have read aloud (upload a file) or copy and paste your plain text (up to 80,000 characters), choose a voice and reading rate, and…voila…audio file. Multiple options for listening to the file are provided: listen online, download MP3, post it on your blog or Web site, or turn it into a podcast. Here’s an example of the transcript of the Sound of Learning video, the topic of my last post, read aloud by ReadTheWords.


An alternative to ReadTheWords is SpokenText.

Check them out, compare and contrast, implement.

2 comments so far

  1. Jim Burke on

    Thanks, Cynthia. I grabbed some of your finds to add to the LIM Resources Wiki: Books

    Try Lit2go

    Thanks again . . .


  2. Brita on

    Teachers might also find good material on the Humanities on Demand page of our Maine Humanities Council website. The content is eclectic, but includes interviews with Maine authors, readings and lectures by nationally-known speakers, and even picture books read aloud by children’s librarians. You can either access the material directly from our website, or find it on iTunes – we’re linked from the new K-12 iTunes U page for the ME Dept. of Ed.

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