Claro ScanPen

App review by
Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Media
Claro ScanPen App Poster Image
Easy-to-use tool that gives voice to printed text.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to independently access text (books, worksheets, tests, or projects), will learn from the text they scan, and will be empowered instead of frustrated. By taking ownership of the tools they may need to learn, kids may be motivated to complete activities that typically require a good deal of reading. Claro ScanPen helps kids approach reading and content learning in a new, flexible way.

Ease of Play

The app is easy to use and quickly responds to user input (scan, highlight, audio).

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

In-app purchases allow users to buy additional reading voices, and there's no parent gate (except your own Apple ID), but potential purchases aren't advertised or highlighted.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Claro ScanPen is an easy-to-use assistive tool that scans printed materials and reads them aloud. The app speaks in several languages, including English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish. It may be exceptionally beneficial to students with dyslexia or whose verbal comprehension surpasses their ability to decode text. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

CLARO SCANPEN opens immediately into the tool and allows users to take a picture of a page of typed text. Once the tool automatically scans the picture, kids can use their fingers to highlight the text they want read to them. Features include an X that allows kids to erase the current screen to scan something new, a settings gear to adjust the speed or tone of the computerized voice, and access to the photo roll. Users can select entire passages, independent sentences, or specific words to have read aloud to them. Once they're finished, kids click the X in the corner and move on to the next page. It's possible to buy additional reading voices from the settings, but that option isn't prominently displayed to kids.

Is it any good?

The optical character recognition (OCR) technology that converts text to audio is as good as it gets. Arguably, the most impressive feature is how quickly it allows kids to snap a picture, process the page, highlight, listen, and move on to the next page. Though not intended to replace reading-comprehension instruction, this app levels the playing field for content-heavy reading tasks, especially as kids gather information to meet classroom demands. One disadvantage is that the voice reading the text is computerized, so emphasis is not always placed on the right words in a sentence. Also, if a page is not scanned clearly, the computerized voice will only read independent letters it identifies: Some kids may not understand what's happening and may grow more confused about what they're hearing. As they use the app and learn how to troubleshoot the blurry parts of text, kids will grow more confident in the process. So long as the user takes a clear picture of typed text (not handwritten), this tool makes text much more accessible to kids who struggle with reading.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about problem-solving and persevering: For kids with different learning needs, assistive technology can be a useful tool to level the playing field with their peers. Families might discuss the importance of using tools to overcome reading challenges.

  • Talk about appropriate times to use assistive technology; for instance, when someone is talking, it may be inappropriate to scan a book and have it read aloud. On the other hand, kids might use headphones to scan and hear signs or directions when visiting a new place.

App details

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