Speak Screen, Reader View and Highlighting

Students with visual impairments who are typically reading print visually appreciate that reading on the iPad allows control of font size and visual settings. Using the Speak Screen accessibility feature on an iOS device is a quick way to use Text to Speech (TTS). With Reader View in the Safari browser and highlighting option in Speak Screen settings, Apple has built in reading supports that used to only be available in specialized apps. Adding listening as an option for reading can be a way to bump up reading speed, get through a lot of material or get a break when visual fatigue sets in. By combining reading visually with listening, comprehension can be supported, especially for students who are not accustomed to listening to synthesized speech. At first, many students (and classroom teachers and parents) have a negative reaction to the sound of synthesized speech. A couple of points I like to make is that it is a learned skill; it gets easier to follow and reading speeds can often be bumped up to way beyond the limits of visual reading speed. I sometimes equate the speech to a font. The font doesn’t matter much and you just read to get the content or follow the storyline. You forget the sound of the speech and are soon "ear-reading" with great fluency.

How to Turn on Speak Screen

Turn on Speak Screen under Settings - General - Accessibility - Vision - Speak Screen

Highlight Content including style and colors is an option just under Speak Screen

How to Use Speak Screen on Web Pages

In Safari find an accessible web page that shows option for Reader view. On accessible web pages, the address bar will temporarily say “Reader View Available” while loading or on left side of address bar you will see an icon with horizontal lines which is the Reader button. The Reader appearance options button is represented by a small and large letter A and is on the right side of the address bar

After turning on Reader view you speak screen by swiping down with two fingers from off the screen onto the screen. In other words, rest two fingers on the edge or border of the iPad and swipe down onto the screen and the controller will appear and start reading the page. You can pause, jump forward or back, and change the speed. You can use Speak Screen on some pages without Reader View option but links and other web page items may be read before main content – depending upon the page, you might get to the main content quickly or not. If Reader view is available, turning it on and trying again will help.

Although this post was to highlight how easy it is to use Speak Screen on webpages, Speak Screen also works in many apps like iBooks, Kindle iOS reader, or News. Enjoy!