To set your Macintosh so that it reads text, go to your System Preferences and choose Speech. In the Speech dialog, you can try various reading voices - Alex, Bruce, Victoria, and about 18 others. You can select the speed they read to you. Most importantly, you can choose a key combination to initiate speech. Click the Set Key... button. Then choose the key combination you wish. I would personally avoid common ones like Command-S - which is the save command in most programs. Here I’ve chosen Control-S as my key combination.
Now, whenever I want to have the computer read to me, I first select (highlight) the text I want, press the key combination, and the Macintosh begins to read the text to me. Be sure your volume is turned up so you can hear it. If I want the speech to stop, I just press the same key combination again. It acts as an on-off switch.
Tired of reading the student’s homework? You can have it read to you instead.