iOS accessibility features include a screen reader for students who have a vision impairment. It is also useful for struggling readers because the iPad will read text as they follow along. Before you can use the Speak Screen ability, you will need to enable it.
- Open Settings on the iPad
- Select General and then Accessibility
- Find the Speech section and flip the switch for Speak Screen to the ON position.
- While in this settings panel you should also enable Speak Selection, which is a different text to speech ability but also quite useful.
- You can adjust the speaking rate and voice used (you can adjust the speaking rate at any time when the feature is enabled as well). Alex is the most natural as it includes punctuation pauses and breath sounds.
Methods to Activate Speak Screen
The first method of Speak Screen activation is with a gesture. To activate the Speak Screen feature you must swipe down from the very top of the screen with two fingers.
This immediately triggers the speech function which will read aloud whatever is on the display. It also brings up the speech controls which allow you to skip, rewind, speed up, slow down, and pause the speech.
The other method to enable Speak Screen is to use the on-screen activation button, which will remain on the display as long as Speak Screen is enabled, and as long as the button controls have not been closed.
Simply tap the Speak Screen activation button to open the speech control buttons, then tap on the Play arrow button to begin speaking the screen aloud.
You can show and hide the Speak Screen buttons and controls by tapping the hide or show button. When Speak Screen is no longer active or it has been hidden, the on-screen activation button will dim but still be visible.
Note that if you tap the (X) button in the Speak Screen controls the feature will hide until it has been activated by the gesture, or until the feature has been toggled off and on again.