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Using Live Text to Support Independent Reading for Learners with Dyslexia

Posted by Craig Mill on the 27th May, 2024

Category Dyslexia Text-to-Speech

Live Text is a built-in Artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool in iOS that identifies, extracts and reads aloud text from paper-based materials such as worksheets, textbooks and other learning resources. 

Live Text is a great iPad feature to support learners with reading difficulties allowing them to read independently. 

Reading images from text (including PDF images) is not limited to the iPad - Google Lens is a browser-based tool that scans and converts images to text, albeit in a different way. 

If you have access to Microsoft Copilot you can upload an image and ask Copilot to "please explain what the image is about".

In the illustration below Copilot identifies the text in the image and offers additional insights to volcanoes. 

Using Copilot to convert images to text - step one open copilot and add an image and ask copilot to explain the image. Press send and copilot will provide an explanation.

Apps to convert physical paper and digital images to text 

In previous guides, I have explained 'how to turn an iPad into an easy-to-use document scanner' and explored 4 dedicated apps that can convert printed text to digital format:  ‘Apps to Convert Printed Text to Digital Format - Which One is Best?

Using Live Text and the Photos App

The Photos app has an option to select text and 'Speak’ or use the ‘Speak Screen’ tool in the iPad to read text. It’s as simple as snapping, tapping and reading!

Before you get started, make sure Live Text is turned on: Settings > Language & Region > Live Text. 

  1. Take a photograph of a printed worksheet.
  2. Open the photograph in the Photos App.
  3. Tap and hold to select the text you want to read aloud and tap 'Speak' on the pop-up menu.

Alternatively, tap the 'Select Text' icon on the bottom right side. When the icon turns blue, use Speak Screen' to hear it read aloud. You can also use 'Highlight Content' to help with visual tracking with words and sentences. 

Using the select text icon to read aloud images.

Below is an illustrated video which explains how to do it. 

The video below gives an example of Live Text in action using an early reading book and a textbook.

Apart from the text being read aloud, the video is silent. 

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