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After more than two decades of research it is now possible to construct a high-performance reading system for the blind that will produce synthetic speech from printed text. The entire process can be carried out automatically by computer and associated special-purpose devices. As a first step toward the eventual deployment of a reading system, we have begun an evaluation study in collaboration with faculty and students at the University of Connecticut and with trainees at the Veterans Administration Eastern Blindness Rehabilitation Center. Questions to be answered concern the comprehensibility and educational uses of the output and the technical and economic resources required to make automated reading services accessible to progressively larger groups of blind people.