Screen reader reading the page number

  • This topic has 5 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 4 months, 3 weeks ago by APLN Moderator.
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Screen reader reading the page number thread
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Hi everyone,

I came across something reviewing an eBook from a third-party vendor today that I hadn’t previously encountered and I wanted to check that I’m not missing something. The vendor has been adding a page list, and when I was testing the eBook with a screen reader, the screen reader got to the end of the page, paused, read the new page number, and then continued to read the text on the next page. As the page break was in the middle of a sentence, this was slightly disconcerting. My assumption is that the screen reader should silently skip over the page break.

Before I send this back for correction, I want to check that I’m not missing something in the GCA guidelines that requires the page number to be announced. I looked, but I didn’t see anything at first glance.

Thanks for any help you can provide,


APLN Moderator

Hi GLEEditor,

Amending my previous response:

Could you clarify which screen reader you used to test the ebook?

Typically, an ereading application such as Thorium does not announce page numbers with its Text-to-Speech functionality. TTS can function differently from screen readers/assistive technology. Page break markers are indicated using aria-labels, which include text that can be announced by screen readers (such as NVDA, JAWS).

Identifying in-text page break locations is a WCAG 1.3.1 Level A requirement. You can check to confirm if the page breaks are coded as follows:

<span role=”doc-pagebreak” id=”pg24″ aria-label=” Page 24. “/>

This is the correct method to identify an inline page break, and screen readers do read aloud the aria-label value. However, TTS on Thorium or Apple Books, for example, may not.

Find more info on pagelists and page breaks here:


Thanks moderator. I was using Thorium to test this so I was surprised. Is there a way to check that code without cracking open the ePub. I’m not sure I have the technical expertise to go rooting around inside.


Edit: Happy to send the ePub over if you want to take a closer look. I’m at editorATgooselaneDOTcom.


Hi, from the Thorium Documentation TTS section:

Thorium 2.3 TTS reads page numbers by default which might result in a too verbose earing experience. The skipability option in readaloud parameter does not affect TTS reading as expected. This is fixed in 2.4 alpha continuous test build and will be shipped in 2.4 release.

With screen readers, modulating the verbosity is usually possible so the person can choose the reading experience.

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