iPad on a laptop

Technology is evolving at breakneck speed and assistive technology (AT) is evolving right along with it. As a result, accessibility options in mainstream technology have increased exponentially. Because there are so many options, choosing the right piece of technology can be overwhelming, even for those who are technologically savvy. Pre-built accessibility features make using AT even easier, because it allows AT users to experience technology without having to worry about installing additional features or programs.

Interpersonal Communication Idea with Lightbulbs and Devices

Text to speech can be an amazing support for the many individuals who struggle with reading. This allows the reader to both hear and see what they are reading, which can elevate their level of comprehension and independence, increase their decoding speed as well as reduce frustration and fatigue. Today we will focus on built-in supports for reading challenges that can be found in two popular devices: the Windows 10 laptop (new window) and the iPad (new window). Let’s compare the options.

For Reading

Windows 10 provides the Narrator feature.

Narrator (new window) – This screen reading feature will change the way you “read” text. Are your eyes tired from hours of studying? Give your eyes a rest, and let your laptop read to you! Microsoft has also come up with some great free add-ons through their OneNote Learning Tools (new window) and the Office Lens (new window) that support reading. Learn more here (new window).

a paperback book

iPad/iPhone/iPod has a variety of options depending on how much content you would like to have read.

Speak Screen and Speak Selection (new window) – Although iPad has a Screen Reader feature, the Speak Screen and Speak Selection features are recommended for reading because they enable the user to select the text they wish to read. Speak Screen will read the entire contents of your screen to you with one quick gesture, so if you need to read a book, text, or email on the go, this feature can be useful. Speak Selection will only read text that is specifically selected by you. Activating the highlighter feature on both will automatically highlight text as it is read aloud, making it a great tool for reading comprehension. Learn more here (new window).

silhouette of a child with thought bubble above her head

Tip: Pairing your AT with existing learning strategies, such as the SQR3 (new window) reading method, is a great way to achieve higher success in your reading mastery. Check out this link (new window) for more information about SQR3.


Built in accessibility features can support AT users with a variety of challenges from vision, hearing, physical access and even writing. Stay tuned for a future edition where we continue to explore more accessibility features…

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