Aerden (aerden) wrote,

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PSA: ReadThisToMe

According to their web site, Read This To Me is a free reading service for the blind, powered by volunteers and Internet collaboration. ReadThisToMe allows blind and low-vision people to have printed documents read to them over the phone."

Ironically, the old-tech solution for the service is what makes this a great solution for getting print information. One of the best things about ReadThisToMe is that the blind or visually impaired person doesn't even need a computer. It only requires a phone line and a fax machine. (Of course, the phone numbers for Read This To Me will also be necessary!) However, where this service is superior to current optical character recognition (OCR) software is that it will read handwritten material, or documents with complex graphics.

The service works like this:

Step 1: The blind person faxes what he needs read to the toll-free, ReadThisToMe fax number.
That number is 1-877-333-8848.
The fax must include a cover sheet containing the blind person's name and a number where he/she can be reached.

The faxed document itself can be most anything, including handwritten letters, food labels, or even a multi-page magazine article.

Step 2: One of the volunteer readers at ReadThisToMe will then call the person and read the document.

And, users can't argue about the price or availability. ReadThisToMe is completely free and available throughout the United States. However, the company is accepting donations and welcomes business sponsorships.

For more information, interested people can go to the service's web site at, or alternatively, keeping true to their stated mission of users not being required to have a computer, interested persons can listen to a recorded message describing how to use the service. They can reach this by calling 1-877-333-8847.

Additionally, if you are sighted and want to give to the community by giving some time as one of ReadThisToMe's volunteer readers, then check out the web site. All you need to be able to give is a few minutes a day.

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