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Using the iPad to Support Dyslexia


A3 sized PDF poster - revision 2.0, published 2023


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' 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. This updated poster includes new inclusive tools such as Live Text (snap an image of text and hear it read aloud), Typing Feedback (characters and words are spoken aloud as they are typed) and Stage Manger, allowing for multiple windows on the desktop thereby eliminating the need to toggle between apps.

Additionally, native Apple apps, such as Notes include brilliant tools such as Scan Text and Scan Documents that convert worksheets, and pages of books into editable text that can also be read aloud – essentially an extension of the new Live Text feature.

Although not mentioned in the poster, both the Reminders and Calendar apps offer useful planning and organisation features, particularly for those learners who find time management challenging. To see an extended list of the iPad’s built-in tools to support literacy difficulties see the 'iPad short video guides to support reading and writing' and/or try out our professional learning module; Using the iPad to Support Literacy.

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Contents of this PDF poster (Accessible version)

Below 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).

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