Time4learning, used 2 use an integrated text to speech program, that utilized an "MS Agent",(talking character, a Parrot named Peedy).

They suddenly made it unavailable, and my son missed his "classroom helper" a lot.

They suggested another TTS program that didn't use a character. We tried it, but my son didn't like it because it had no character.

So I searched to find out if there was another character driven TTS program out there.

We found that there was! It is called Desk Bot- http://deskbot.en.softonic.com/- it contains no malware, is FREE, simple to install, and use.

My son found 8 free characters to use with it, so he can have a different "friend" help him with each different lesson.

Iwrote T4L about it, but they were not impressed.

"To: Time4Learning Support
Subject: I just though other Time 4 Learning users might like to know about DeskBot, a text to speech program, that uses MS agents like Peedy.

I think it's free too! My son is delighted to have Peedy (parrot), Merlin(wizard), Robby(robot), Genie(a blue genie), Leo (the bug), Max (the dog), Audie (the computer), and Phoenix (baby turkey) agents all for free! Other characters are available through a Desk Bot link through "options" then "about", in the program window. Then to their site, "additional microsoft agent characters" then "characters" in the top menu bar. Besides the "whimical" characters, there's several human lady and one young lady/teen/girl character, even "e-man" and "e-woman" superheros, with 81 gestures like move up, move down, look right, look left, etc.

When using DeskBot, the characters can read ANY text that is copied, even the lesson categories, and titles in Time 4 Learning.

They can read the copied text from anywhere, even text students write, emails, Wikipedia, online ebooks, articles, etc.

We go to related websites, and have the characters read, articles on history, biographies, explanations, definitions, pronunciations, etc.

It's light years beyond the "natural reader" substitute that you had listed.

We downloaded that one, found it aggravating, and so searched to see if there were any alternatives out there, and found Desk Bot.

We use it every day with Time for Learning and more.

You could make a lot of kids happy by letting other Time4Learning users know about it.

Maybe you have a forum were I could have posted this, but I haven't gone there yet."

This was their answer "Hi,

Thank you for contacting us and for your suggestion. We suggest Natural Readers in place of MS Agent and find that our members do enjoy it. We appreciate your feedback.

Thank You,Nela"

I signed into the forum just to let people know about this, since they don't seem eager to.

My son doesn't have a hearing problem, but uses Desk Bot anyway because it makes reading more fun and less tedious for him.

He looks forward to his lessons because of the characters, instead of dreading having to read vast amounts of text.

I'd like other kids to have this chance to feel excited about class time as well.