You are in:

Using the iPad to Support Dyslexia

image of poster

Poster details and download button


  • Published: 2015
  • Revision: 1.2
  • Format: A3
  • File type: pdf
  • File size: 3.7Mb


An accessible breakdown of this PDF poster is available further down the page.

When using an iPad to support pupils with literacy difficulties such as dyslexia, there is a temptation to head straight to the Apps Store to download the latest dedicated 'dyslexia app'. While many of these apps offer valuable literacy support, the built-in features in 'Accessibility' and 'Keyboard'(in Settings and General) are often neglected. Not all the features mentioned in the infograph are set as 'default' so you might need to delve into Settings to turn them on, although much will depend on the needs of your learners.

Additionally, the native Apple apps, such as Notes, with integrated text formatting, access to the camera and picture library as well as the newly implemented drawing tools, is a worthy contender to more expensive word processing apps. Both the Reminders and Calendar apps also offer useful planning and organisation features, particularly for those learners who find time management challenging.

Due to constraints regarding content, additional Accessibility features have not been included (although equally valuable), such as the option to switch between lowercase and uppercase on the on-screen keyboard; the option to undock the keyboard to position it just below a line of text to aid tracking.

It is also worth noting that while 'Split View' (Allow Multiple Apps' feature in 'Multitasking') is highlighted in the infograph this feature is only available for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 4. For older iPads 'Slide Over' is the iOS alternative but unlike Split View, you are unable to interact with both screens at once.

An accessible breakdown of this PDF poster is available further down the page.

Contents of the PDF poster

This is an accessible breakdown of the contents of the PDF poster, designed to be accessible with a screen reader, and also for people who find it hard to see or access the links in the poster.

With each new update of the iPad’s operating system (iOS), the built-in tools continue to improve. iOS 9 includes support for literacy difficulties such as dyslexia, without necessarily needing to buy additional apps. This infograph provides a snapshot of some of the built-in tools; others not mentioned here, include lower case keys, undocking the on-screen keyboard to help track writing, the facility to add external dyslexia-friendly Bluetooth keyboards to aid writing and the newly designed Notes app with text formatting options.

As well as the suggestions provided here, CALL Scotland offers many more resources, such as the ‘Dyslexia Wheel of Apps’, and colour background templates for Pages as well as neutral colour backgrounds for the iPad’s screen.

Split View

With Split View you can work on two apps and/ or documents simultaneously, - useful for revision or notetaking. (iPad Air 2 only - alternatively Slide Over for some older iPads).


You can use Siri to ask questions, set reminders, open apps, complete tasks, and dictate text instead of typing.

Siri Voices

Use the Siri voices – Siri Male and Siri Female – for natural sounding text-to-speech.

Safari Reader

Improve the readability of web pages by removing clutter - tap the black horizontal lines on the left hand side of the URL box.

Speak Screen

Speak Screen reads content on the iPad. You can set the speaking rate and choose from different voices. Swipe down from the top with two fingers or tell Siri to ‘Speak Screen’.

Speak Selection

If you don’t want everything read aloud tap and hold the bits of text and Speak Selection will read it.


Follow words and sentences as they are read aloud with ‘Highlighting’.

Text Replacement to support spelling

Use Text Replacement to create personalised spelling lists and Auto-Corrections.

Text Replacement to cut down keystrokes (Shortcuts)

Consider using Text Replacement (abbreviation expansion) to help cut down keystrokes. Text Replacement can also help to quickly type repetitive sentences and phrases.


Use Define and Dictionary to find the meaning of words.

Use Manage to choose from a range of Dictionaries such as the English Oxford, American English Oxford, French, German, Dutch and more.

Dictionary can also help with spelling, grammar and pronunciation.

Check Spelling

Consider turning on Check Spelling (in General and Keyboards) to alert learners to spelling mistakes. Misspelt words are highlighted with a red underline.

Replace Spelling

Tap or highlight the misspelt word to replace it with a correctly spelt word. If you are unsure if the replaced word is the correct one, highlight the word to have it read aloud (Speak).


Use QuickType to tap a word from the list of words appearing above the on-screen keyboard

3rd Party Keyboards

You can use 3rd Party keyboards such as Keedogo, SuperKeys, Swype to aid writing and improve readability (Settings and Keyboard).