Reader is not a fully-featured screen reader. It’s an aid and convenience for sighted people, who might want an audio version of a webpage or to listen back to an email before they hit send.
A keyboard shortcut allows you to select whole paragraphs and navigate webpages easily. By default this shortcut is
Ctrl+Shift+Space on Windows and
Cmd+Shift+Space on Mac.
The basic usage of Reader is:
The Reader icon will appear in the Firefox address bar. In Chrome, click on the extensions icon and pin the Reader icon to the toolbar.
Click the Reader icon to enable or disable speak on selection for individual websites. The icon will highlight blue on websites where speak on selection is enabled. By default, speak on selection is enabled for all websites. You can change this in the Reader preferences in your browser.
On pages where speak on selection is disabled, you can still use the keyboard shortcut to select and read whole paragraphs. You can also right click on selected text to open a context menu and choose to speak the text you have selected.
To stop text that is being read, just unselect the text by clicking anywhere on the webpage.
Open Reader’s preferences by selecting “Extensions & Themes” in Firefox or “Extensions” in Chrome in your browser settings.
You can set your preferred voice and rate of speech. The actual spoken voice will depend on the language of the webpage you are reading. To reset preferences to their defaults, click the Reset button in Reader’s preferences.
The keyboard shortcut can also be modified through the Firefox and Chrome settings.
Reader doesn’t transmit any data about what you are reading away from your computer. The speech synthesis is performed locally in your browser. The add-on is deliberately not allowed on some domains as well as on settings pages in your browser.
Reader preferences are stored in your synced browser storage, which you can manage through Firefox and Chrome settings.
The project is entirely open source. All of the source code can be read on GitHub.
Icon message by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project.