Texas Instruments Speak & Read (Type 1)

Date of introduction:  1980 Display technology:  Fluorescent
New price:   Display size:  9 alphanumeric
Size:  10.0" x 7.0" x  1.3" 
 254 x 177 x 34 mm3
Weight:  16.7 ounces, 474 grams Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*C cells Date of manufacture:  wk 44 year 1980
AC-Adapter:  AC9199 Origin of manufacture:  USA
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TMC0270/CD2705, TMC0280/CD2801, 2*TMC0350 (CD2394, 2395)
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner
    Download manuals:   (US: 11.5M Bytes)
  (US: 3.2M Bytes)
  (US: 0.3M Bytes)

Shortly after the invention of the synthesizer technology to reproduce human speech with tuned voices stored in ROMs (Read-only Memories - Integrated Circuits), Texas Instruments introduced this innovative product.

Speak & Read uses an electronic voice and programmed activities to help children build reading skills. More than 250 basic words are introduced through activities like "Word Zapper" and "Hear It", helping young children recognize letters and words alike.

This educational toy was rated by Texas Instruments for children aged between 4 and 8 years.

An alphanumeric display was used as feedback during typing words.

Other products in the Speak & line cover spelling words and math. Compare this Speak & Read with both Speak & Spell and Speak & Math

Don't miss the appearance of the Speak & Spell in the movie „E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial“. Do you know Qubais Reed Ghazala? Get more tunes from your Speak & Read with circuit-bending.

Dismantling this Speak & Read manufactured in October 1980 by Texas Instruments in the United States reveals a design centered around four Integrated Circuits:

TMC0270/CD2705: 4-bit microcontroller with 2k*9 Bits ROM and 9*64 Bits RAM
TMC0280/CD2801: TMS5100 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor)
TMC0350/CD2394, TMC0350/CD2395: TMS6100 VSM (Voice Synthesis Memory) with 128k Bits, each

An inside view of some dismantled Speak & Spell products could be found here.

View the more serious Language products like the Language Tutor.

Don't miss the rare Magic Wand Speaking Reader. This product appeared on the market shortly before Texas Instruments discontinued its Consumer Products Division in 1983.

Press the Play button and listen Speak & Spell tunes.
Find more sound samples in the DOWNLOAD section.
Powered by Yahoo Media Player.

This Speak & Read is an early one. Please notice the gold lettered "Texas Instruments" on the display screen and the large "TI" logo on the keyboard. Later models got a slightly different design. Compare a later model here.

Eight years later the Super Speak & Read with the position sensitive keyboard technology was introduced.

Eight different Speak & Read Cartridge Libraries are known:

Name Title Grade
Description Module Manual Word List
Sea Sights  
Compound words such as shipmate, sunburn, seafood; words ending with er and est; and syllables. SeaSights.jpg (55017 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
Who's Who At The Zoo 2
The contraction n´t (don´t, didn´t, wasn´t, isn´t). Verbs ending in ed, er, s and es. WhosWhoAtTheZoo.jpg (56757 Byte)
(US: 12.8M Bytes)

(US: 0.3M Bytes)
A Dog On A Log  
Rhyming words such as log, dog, pig, big. Plural endings such as boxes, watches, hats and trees. ADogOnALog.jpg (54465 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
The Seal That Could Fly  
Sound-alike vowel combinations such as ay and ai, ea and ee. Word ending in er and est. TheSealThatCouldFly.jpg (45405 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
A Ghost in the House  
Acquaints third graders with words with prefixes, such as re (retold) and un (unkind). AGhostInTheHouse.jpg (55076 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
On The Track  
Consonant blends such as bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, g, pl, pr, sc, sh, sl, sk, sm, sp, st, sw, tr. OnTheTrack.jpg (52634 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
The Third Circle  
R-controlled vowels such as ir, ar, er, ur, or; and words with suffixes ful and ly. TheThirdCircle.jpg (46847 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)
The Millionth Knight  
Silent letter combination such as chalk, phone, limb; and suffixes less, ous, and able. TheMillionthKnight.jpg (48742 Byte)  
(US: 0.3M Bytes)

Please find some Parent Guides of the listed modules in the Download Section of the Datamath Calculator Museum.

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If you have additions to the above article please email:

© Joerg Woerner, December 5, 2001. No reprints without written permission.