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VidReader is a digital tool that generates English transcripts for YouTube videos using the captions already available in the video. By entering the URL for a YouTube video, anyone can use Vidreader to create interactive transcripts for a plethora of videos. By clicking on individual sentences or segments of the transcript, users can go straight to the part of the video they need. Instructors can search the transcript for topics that are relevant to a course or lesson and students can search it for specific content they need to learn more about.

The transcript can be downloaded for students to read offline and it can be used to create captions. This can greatly improve the accessibility of YouTube videos for students who are hard-of-hearing, d/Deaf, read English better than they comprehend it aurally, or students with similar access needs. This tool allows educators to provide multiple ways for students to access the information presented in a video (see “multiple means of representation” from the Universal Design for Learning framework). The process of creating and editing transcripts is intuitive enough that students can also try it themselves and learn how to create high-quality transcripts for the purpose of accessibility. 

Do note, however, that transcripts will rarely (if ever) be perfectly accurate and will require some editing and correction. This issue is likely to be more pronounced for videos in which audio is unclear, the speaker(s) have an accent unfamiliar to YouTube’s captioning algorithm (since this is how VidReader generates its captions), or many acronyms or uncommon words are used. Furthermore, if inaccurate captions have been created for the video by the owner, the transcript will also contain inaccuracies. 

Tool Snapshot

Price Free
Learning Social Learning
Ease of Use ★★★★☆
Privacy ★☆☆☆☆
Accessibility ★★☆☆☆
Class Size Unlimited
Login No
ISTE*S Knowledge Constructor
No information available

Using VidReader

VidReader is a very basic web application that is meant to provide interactive, searchable transcriptions of YouTube videos. While the application makes these transcriptions relatively easy to create, there is virtually no way to search for videos on the website, no privacy policy, and the tool’s performance is variable and reliant on the captions already available in the YouTube video. Additionally, while it requires users to log in, it is unclear what benefits are provided besides notifying users when their videos are done being transcribed. Therefore, this tool should be utilized with caution and supplemented by other tools (such as YouTube’s caption-creation and editing capabilities) to make up for its deficits. 


VidReader has no established Privacy Policy and therefore we are unable to trust its privacy protections (if there are any). Additionally, while it allows users to log in, it is unclear what the purpose of this is (VidReader can be used without logging in) and there is no statement about COPPA or FERPA compliance. We recommend using it without logging in if you choose to use it.


While VidReader can improve the accessibility of content for students through its transcriptions, there is no accessibility statement on its website. Additionally, users cannot interact with transcripts without the use of a mouse, nor does a text-to-speech narration software work with the interactive transcript. 

ISTE Standards for Students

VidReaders supports students instruction and development in one of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards:

Knowledge Constructor: VidReader enables students to find information more quickly in YouTube videos than they would be able to otherwise. This can broaden the scope of resources from which students can pull without costing them additional time. VidReader empowers students to create transcripts for their own videos in a relatively quick way in order to increase accessibility.

VidReader Overview Video


VidReader & the SAMR Model

Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model offers a lens for examining how technology is adopted in a classroom. As you strive to incorporate online tools into your classroom, we encourage you to use this model as an analytic tool. 

Here are some examples of how Vidreader might fit within the SAMR model: 

  • Substitution: Students use VidReader to produce video transcripts automatically instead of writing out a transcript manually.
  • Augmentation: Students use the searchable transcripts of VidReader in conjunction with the original YouTube video to find relevant information more quickly.
  • Modification: Students create videos, upload them to YouTube, then create and edit transcripts throughVidReader in order to provide more accessible video content.
  • Redefinition: Students seek out YouTube videos that permit community-generated captions. Then, they use VidReader to generate, edit, and finalize accurate transcripts. Finally, they upload these transcripts back to the original YouTube videos to the benefits of all potential viewers. 

At its core, VidReader enables involvement with video content in truly multimodal ways.

Learning Activities

English/Language Arts

  • Caption Correction: In order to practice their grammar, spelling, and sentence structure skills, students can edit the transcripts generated by VidReader. More specifically, students can aim to create transcripts that are as accurate as possible with proper punctuation and capitalization.
  • Poetry in Writing: Students can choose YouTube videos of poetry or spoken word to run through VidReader. They can analyze the transcript and video together to build their understanding of how to write for these genres.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

  • Listening In: Students learning English as a second language can use English-language videos and run them through VidReader to create transcripts. Then, by listening carefully to the video and reading the transcript that VidReader generated, they can practice their English reading, writing, and listening skills simultaneously. Students can also select words in the interactive transcript to listen to in the video to improve their pronunciation of the words in English.

Video Editing/Production

  • Next-level Videos: Students learning how to edit and produce videos can upload their completed videos to YouTube and then use YouTube’s caption-editing software to ensure accuracy (including timing). Then, they can upload them to VidReader and (after editing the transcript for accuracy) can copy the link to the interactive transcript to include in the detail section of their YouTube video. This activity challenges students to make their video content multimodal and to gain comfort with the interface of YouTube’s and VidReader’s caption editing.


  • Scavenger Hunt: In order to gain some familiarity with how VidReader’s interactive transcripts work, students can be tasked to find specific pieces of information within videos that they need to (or which already have been) run through VidReader. For an additional challenge, students can be told to describe the visual of the video when certain words are being spoken.


How to Use VidReader

  • Go to the YouTube video that you want the transcription of and copy the URL.
  • Go to
  • Paste the URL into the text box under “YouTube Video Link.”

Screenshot of VidReader with the YouTube video link circled in red

  • Click “Read it!”

Read It! is circled in red. Press after entering the YouTube link

  • The site will then transcribe your video which usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • Review the generated transcription. Check for any significant errors and correct them.
  • Once edited for accuracy, copy the VidReader link provided under the video on the left side. 
    • Note: It is very difficult to find these interactive transcriptions later, so it is essential to copy the link provided. 

The new URL and the Copy button are circled in red to share the new website link

  •  You may also download the transcript if you would like to provide a static, non-interactive version to students. 

The Download Transcript button is circled in red


Gernsbacher, M. A. (2015). Video captions benefit everyone. Policy insights from the behavioral and brain sciences2(1), 195-202.

Kushalnagar, R. S., Lasecki, W. S., & Bigham, J. P. (2013, May). Captions versus transcripts for online video content. In Proceedings of the 10th International Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Web Accessibility (pp. 1-4).