Reading Pens: Innovative Tools for Improved Literacy

2022-07-02 | By Orcam Staff

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What is A Pen That Reads to You and Who Needs It? - OrCam

The question in the title of this article indicates the contradiction between the functionality and the description of the reader pen, also known as the scanning pen, or dyslexia pen that reads text to people who have reading difficulties.


The reason for the ambiguity between the name and the function of a device called a pen that reads to you can be found within the origins of its creation, who the intended users are, why they need it, and where they were intended to use it.

How Reading Pens Transform the Reading Experience

Reading pens, also known as scanning pens or dyslexia pens, are innovative devices designed to assist individuals with reading difficulties, particularly those with conditions like dyslexia. These portable handheld devices serve as a valuable tool in helping individuals access written materials more easily and foster independent reading skills.

How Reading Pens Work

Reading pens function by scanning text and converting it into speech, allowing users to hear the words read aloud. When a reading pen is used, an individual simply scrolls the pen across the surface of a page, and the device reads the text back to them. This technology eliminates the need for constant reliance on others to read aloud or decipher written content, empowering individuals with reading difficulties to engage with text independently.

Benefits of The Reading Pen

Reading pens offer a range of benefits for individuals with reading difficulties. Here are some key advantages of using reading pens:

  1. Enhanced Accessibility: Reading pens enable individuals with reading difficulties to access written materials, including textbooks, documents, and other printed media, with greater ease and independence.

  2. Improved Literacy Skills: By hearing text read aloud, users can improve their comprehension, pronunciation, and fluency, which contributes to the development of vital literacy skills.

  3. Increased Confidence: Reading pens provide individuals with a sense of autonomy and confidence in their ability to read independently, fostering a positive learning experience.

  4. Versatility and Portability: These devices are portable and handheld, making them easy to carry and use in various settings such as classrooms, libraries, or even while traveling.

  5. Privacy and Convenience: Since reading pens work offline, users can read without requiring an internet connection, ensuring their privacy and enabling them to use the device anytime, anywhere.

  6. Additional Features: Some reading pens offer additional features such as translation capabilities, enabling individuals to read and understand content in different languages.

Reading pens have emerged as valuable assistive technologies, bridging the gap for individuals with reading difficulties and empowering them to become independent readers.

A Little bit of Background

A teacher standing and smiling in the classroom with students sitting at their desks

In the mid-1900s, education started to become available to a larger percentage of the general population. As more and more children became a part of the public education system, reading, writing, math, and scientific studies were becoming common knowledge.


However, as more and more students were being taught by professional teachers in large classrooms, they couldn’t help but notice, that some of the students were not capable of properly learning how to differentiate between letters and numbers.


Over time, these students began to be known as students with learning and reading difficulties, which the most common one among them, is Dyslexia. Today, almost twenty percent of students are diagnosed as students with reading difficulties such as dyslexia.


These students require a different teaching method, using tools and devices which were designed specifically for the purpose of teaching students with reading difficulties how to read on their own. One of the most popular tools that are being used is a pen that reads to you.

What Are Reading Pens For?

A little girl sitting at a a desk and studying with her laptop and her notebook

One of the most common ways to teach students how to read is by having them read out loud from textbooks individually or together in the classroom. When the concept of a device that reads for you, was created, the first generation of devices were handheld devices that students would scroll on the surface of a page for the device to read the text out loud to them. Since the device’s length was roughly five inches long, and half an inch wide, when the students scrolled it on a piece of paper in class, it looked like they were scrolling pens on their textbooks.


There are currently a variety of tools and devices that are being used for the same purpose and are not called reading pens, but still, read the text to its users. The most advanced device that resembles a pen that reads to you is the OrCam Learn, a recent addition to OrCam’s assistive technologies and life-changing devices.

Maximizing Potential with Reader Pens

Reader pens are revolutionizing the way we approach reading and learning. These innovative devices are not just tools for reading text out loud; they are comprehensive learning aids. With a reader pen, users can effortlessly scan printed text and have it read aloud, making it an invaluable resource for individuals with reading difficulties, dyslexia, or visual impairments.

The beauty of a reader pen lies in its simplicity and versatility. Whether you're a student needing to quickly capture information, a professional who wants to easily access written documents, or someone who enjoys reading for leisure but faces challenges, the reader pen is designed to meet diverse needs. Its portability means it can be used anywhere, from classrooms to workplaces, and even while traveling.

Moreover, reader pens often come with additional features such as dictionary support, which aids in vocabulary development and language learning. This makes them an excellent tool for language learners and those looking to expand their linguistic abilities.

In essence, a reader pen is more than just an assistive device; it's a gateway to a more inclusive, accessible, and efficient reading experience. As technology continues to advance, the capabilities of reader pens are expected to expand, further enhancing their usefulness in our daily lives.

A Device That is More Than Just a Pen That Reads to You

The OrCam Learn and using it as a pen that reads to you, while pointing the device at an open book

The OrCam Learn was introduced for the first time at the CES 2020 convention, one of the world’s largest and most influential tech events, annually held in Las Vegas.


Following its introduction, the OrCam Learn began to receive recognition from globally recognized media worldwide. This was the first time that a tech company that produces devices that operate with advanced machine learning and state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, was providing people with reading difficulties with a revolutionary advanced technological device that can enable them to read independently.

Reading Pen for Kids

A reading pen for kids is a device that can help children with visual impairments or reading difficulties access written materials more easily. These pens work by scanning text and converting it into speech, allowing children to hear the words read aloud. Reading pens for kids can be particularly helpful for children who struggle with reading, as they provide a way to access text independently and build literacy skills. Some pens may also include features like translation, allowing children to read and understand materials in other languages.


There was more than one reason, or shall we say more than one feature that got everyone so excited about the OrCam Learn, and here is a list of them:

Smart Reading

The OrCam Learn Laser Capture feature

Smart Reading is an artificial intelligence-based technology that differentiates OrCam Learn from the other basic reading tools. Additionally, the Smart Reading feature allows you to utilize your reading device fully with voice commands. The voice commands allow you to rewind, skip ahead, and alter the reading pace easily so you can read at your own pace.

Read Entire Pages in One Click

a pen that reads to you

All other reading pen devices that read to you will require scrolling the pen or the scanner across each and every line and word for the pen to read the text for you. However, the OrCam Learn, requires only one click for the device to start reading AN ENTIREPAGE of text for its users. After clicking on the activation button while the device is pointed at a page, digital screen, street sign, or even restaurant menu, the user can then lower their hand and the device will continue to read the text.

Open, Point, Click, Listen

When users receive their OrCam Learn device, they simply need to take it out of the box, turn it on, point the device at the text they want to read, and that’s it. The device then reads the text they pointed it at for them.

Works Offline

reading at the beach

One of OrCam Technologies devices’ main attributes, is that they do not require an internet connection in order to be used. This feature enables users to be able to read independently no matter where they are, without the need for an internet connection to be able to use the device. This is also a good benefit for those who are concerned about their privacy.

Portable & Handheld Device

The OrCam Learn can be used on the go and does not require being connected to a computer or to an electrical outlet while it is being used. Users can carry it in their pocket, handbag, school bag, or anywhere else they want to, and use it while being on board of trains, airplanes, ferry’s, cruise ships, etc.

Connects to Bluetooth

The text reading audio will be heard from the device’s microphone to anyone who is within 1-2 feet of the device or by connecting Bluetooth-enabled earphones, so that only the user can hear. This helps students who want to avoid attention in class and don’t want to disturb their classmates or users who are reading on airplanes, trains, or any other public environment.

Still not sure the OrCam Learn is the perfect device for you? Discover more info here or fill your details to speak with us!