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    1.1.4 • Public • Published

    React Readalong Component

    MIT License NPM Bower Dependencies

    A React component that uses the Speech Synthesis API to read text out loud by sentence or word while the user follows along with their mouse or finger

    Demo & Examples

    Live demo: Github Pages

    To build the examples locally, run:

    npm install
    gulp dev

    Then open localhost:8000 in a browser.


    The easiest way to use Readalong is to install it from NPM and include it in your own React build process (using Browserify, Webpack, etc).

    You can also use the standalone build by including dist/react-readalong-component.js in your page. If you use this, make sure you have already included React, and it is available as a global variable.

    npm install react-readalong-component --save


    The component provides a single element, Readalong, that takes three properties and some text content. The properties of lang and delimiter can be provided as attributes, while voiceName should be passed after the browser registers the available Speech Synthesis voices. The browser will use its default voice until a valid, different voice is passed. The component will attempt to choose a default voice based on the passed lang property, but this is hit-or-miss.

    Any standard HTML language encoding code. Used by the browser to select a default voice.
    Either "word" or "sentence." The size of the spoken chunks.
    Name of any voice supported by the browser. Overrides the default selected for language.
    var Readalong = require('react-readalong-component');
    <Readalong lang="en" delimiter="sentence">
      Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nunc turpis eros, interdum ut gravida ultrices, pellentesque
      quis metus. Fusce suscipit ullamcorper magna, eget consequat nulla pharetra at. Morbi luctus dapibus nulla, sit amet
      commodo purus lacinia nec. Duis in metus at est sagittis fermentum non dapibus ante. Nulla vitae sodales massa, ut
      ullamcorper odio. Praesent sollicitudin neque vel mauris elementum, tincidunt porta elit aliquet. Nullam tincidunt
      turpis a dolor condimentum maximus.

    The output of the component receives three classes for use with styling. The outer wrapper has the class, readalong. Every readable phrase is wrapped in a span with the readalong-phrase class. While a phrase is being spoken, the corresponding span also receives a readalong-active class. This can be used, as in the examples below, to keep the phrase highlighted after the user moves off or releases her finger.

    It is advisable to make the font size as large as possible for the contents of a Readalong element. This is especially true if the delimiter is set to word.


    This component depends on two experimental, draft APIs: Pointer Events and Speech Synthesis.

    As of July 12, 2015, the Web Speech API is still an unofficial proposal. As such, right out of the box this component will only work in about half of all browsers. Those include recent versions of Chrome, Opera, and Safari. Ostensibly, iOS Safari is supported, but Speech Synthesis seems to work in that browser only sporadically. All other browsers will need a polyfill. There is no polyfill for Speech Synthesis currently installed on this demonstration page.

    Again, as of the time of this commit, the Pointer Events API is very poorly supported across all browsers. Only IE and very late version Firefox have implemented it. There's no getting away without a polyfill for Pointer Events. They power the cursor/finger recognition. Fortunately, Google/jQuery have put together a fantastic polyfill called PEP, which is providing cross-browser capability for this page. It does not require jQuery as a dependency.

    This component intentionally does not include polyfills. There are many polyfill options, and the one you choose will depend on the needs of your project. The component also intentionally does check whether the Speech Synthesis API is available. Readalong assumes that both window.speechSynthesis and the SpeechSynthesisUtterance object are available, and that they are up-to-date with the unofficial proposal.


    This component was structured on top of react-component-starter project by Jed Watson.

    The constants, regular expressions, and punctuation encoding used in this project were originally lifted from Blast.js, built by Julian Shapiro. These have been modified to fit the particular requirements of this project, including the addition of the Chinese punctuation into the regular expression used to recognize sentence boundaries.

    react-component-starter. MIT License. Copyright 2014 Jed Watson. Blast.js. MIT License. Copyright 2014 Julian Shapiro. react-readalong-component. MIT License. Copyright 2015 Talking Bibles International and Stephen Clay Smith.


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