I spent quite a bit of time trying to locate a tool that would convert text to MP3 that would be free and easy to use. There are several sites with this capability, but most limit the recordings to a minute or less or to a minimal amount of words without a paid membership.
http://vozme.com/text2voice.php?lang=en is free without time or character limitations; however, the audio is barely understandable.
http://www.text2speech.org/ allowed up to 4,000 characters, had the option of either an MP3 file or a WAV file for downloading, along with four different English speaking voice options.
I converted this blog into two MP3 files:
Unfortunately, the recording is very mechanical without appropriate pauses for periods, commas, and hyphens.
While I believe having audio available can help students with different learning preferences, I felt this particular audio was not very effective; however, there are better options if you are willing to pay for them.
www.readthewords.com, which costs $99 for the teacher’s package, has an option to add in manual pauses using <Silence msec=”500″ /> within the text to apply pauses by the milisecond. The 500 option would provide a 1/2 second pause.
With the paid membership, there are options to embed a customizable avatar along with 15 different voice choices for the recording. The recording limit without a paid membership is 30 seconds and with the Teacher’s Pack it is 8 hours.
While converting text might be helpful for learning in theory, finding a tool with a voice that is understandable and easy to listen to is a challenge.