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SpeechStream enables all readers, including those with literacy difficulties, to use and understand SIRS social issues content

ProQuest, an information technology firm supporting global research, has enhanced its acclaimed SIRS® Issues Researcher with read-aloud capabilities from Texthelp Systems’ SpeechStream. The new capabilities enable students with learning disabilities, English language challenges, and mild vision impairments to fully use one of teachers’ and librarians’ favorite research tools for kids.

“With Texthelp’s SpeechStream, we can now offer our unique content to all readers regardless of their literacy abilities,” said Chris Cowan, Vice President of Publishing for ProQuest. “This is a significant step to personalize the learning environment to meet the student’s needs and help schools and libraries provide equal access to educational materials for all users.”

SpeechStream enables students to have any of the more than 25,000 SIRS “Leading Issues” articles read aloud to them from any point. Synchronous sentence and word highlighting allows them to read along. SpeechStream provides readers with the choice of male or female voices as well as different reading speeds. Further, SIRS content can be downloaded into an MP3 file, which the student can then listen to on an audio device at a time most convenient to them.

SIRS Issues Researcher is an online resource designed to encourage dialogue and critical thinking on hundreds of major issues. It draws together content selected from more than 1,700 global full-text and multimedia sources. A clear, editorially-organized “Leading Issues” format helps users explore the context, perspectives, and essential questions under debate on hundreds of pro/con issues.

Jack Dolan, President of Texthelp Systems Inc., concludes, “We are proud to be a partner with ProQuest and very excited that SpeechStream was chosen to speech enable SIRS Issues Researcher making this valuable content accessible to all students.”

To learn more about ProQuest’s steps to make research more engaging and accessible for students visit

About Texthelp
Texthelp Systems Inc., based in Woburn, Mass., and Antrim, Northern Ireland, is an educational software company specializing in the design of literacy support and assistive technology to help individuals improve their reading and writing abilities. The company has developed a range of award-winning software products, including Read&Write GOLD, Fluency Tutor, Lexiflow, and SpeechStream, which are marketed worldwide to individuals, schools, higher educational institutions, and publishers. For more information, visit

About ProQuest

ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that provide the most successful ways for people to search, find, use, and share information.

A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as UMI®, Chadwyck-Healey™, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich's™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience.

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any level and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others.

The company is nearing launch of an all-new platform that will transform delivery of several highly-regarded individual platforms into a consolidated research experience that will encompass all ProQuest family products over time.  Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

For more information, please visit

14 January 2010

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Beth Dempsey
Public Relations Manager
(734) 707-2665