Here’s how you can make your MacBook speak to you. (I’m working with a 2013 MacBook Air and I’ve got iOS 10.8.4.)
Go to system preferences in the tool bar.
Click Dictation & Speech
Choose the Text to Speech tab
Check box “speak selected text when the key is pressed”
I have mine set to the default (option + esc key) but you can change that if you prefer.
Choose a Voice
Male or female. The tones vary. It’s really up to you.
Now whenever you highlight text, you can press option+escape and the text will be read aloud. Make sure your volume is turned up and you’re good to go!