Odiogo is a free tool that allows you to convert your blog posts into audio files. The sound is of good quality but there is no choice of accent or gender.
Odiogo is compatible with all blog engines that publish RSS feeds such as Typepad, Blogger, WordPress or Overblog. The process is very straight-forward, you register and Odiogo lets you know when the audio version of your blog is ready. Each blog post is converted swiftly and is easily accessible in its audio form through an icon next the post heading.
I found listening to the audio version of some posts an interesting experience as something that reads well sometimes does not sound as good, and vice versa. This really has reinforced my awareness of language and how it should be influenced by the media used for communication. I certainly will bear this in mind when I have a real attempt at podcasting, hopefully over the summer holiday…
Odiogo could also be used in a variety of ways with students to reinforce literacy, by reading and listening or listening and looking at a different text-easily done with an Interactive Whiteboard- or for EFL listening skills.
Unfortunately, it does not seem to be available in French or Spanish, although listening materials can also be produced using the variety of text-to-speech software available, although quality can vary a great deal-from the robot-like to the nearly human...