Disability Services

iOS Reading Apps

There are many low cost or free reading apps for Apple’s iOS devices. Below are some of these apps and directions on how to find or use them.

Speak Selection Tool

The Speak Selection tool is a simple clipboard reader like TTS on Mac or Natural Reader on PC. It can be used with any text that is highlighted in iOS 5 or later. Speak Selection also has options for adjusting speech rate and for highlighting words as they are spoken.


To enable Speak Selection

  1. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility
  2. Press the Speak Selection Button
  3. If Speak Selection is showing as off press it to turn it on

To Use Speak Selection

A helpful YouTube video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGvNLJuxRG8. When using Safari to read it may be helpful to enable the Reader button by the address bar if available.

Speak Selection in iOS 8

The location of this feature in iOS 8 has changed slightly. The option under Accessibility is now Speech. Under Speech there is a new option called Speak Screen. When enabled you can read the entire contents of the screen when you swipe down with two fingers.


VoiceOver is setup for people with visual impairments but it can also be a useful tool for people with learning disabilities. It is not something most people would want to leave on all the time because it changes all the gestures that you use for accessing iOS. It can be toggled on and off when needed. VoiceOver will also read content in the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and iBooks apps.

To enable Toggling of VoiceOver

  1. Go to Settings General > Accessibility
  2. Under Triple-Click tap the Triple-Click Home button
  3. Select VoiceOver

To Read with VoiceOver

VoiceOver reads what is under your finger. If you want it to read specific text you just touch it. If you want it to read continuously you need to do a two finger swipe down. If you want it to read the entire screen from top to bottom do a two finger swipe upward.

Table of Basic Voiceover Gestures:

Action Gesture
Read from Current Position 2-Finger Swipe Down
Read Continuously from Top 2-Finger Swipe Up
Pause and Continue Speech 2-Finger Single Tap
Read Previous or Next Object 1-Finger Swipe Left or Right
Scroll Down 3-Finger Swipe Up
Scroll Up 3-finger Swipe Down
Enter an Object, Button, or Link 1-Finger Double Tap

To set Speech Rate

Note: If you have VoiceOver on while doing this you will need to select the slider and then swipe up or down to adjust the rate.

Voice Dream Reader

Voice Dream Reader is a $10 app that reads text from nearly all types of documents including Word, PDF, RTF, and HTML. It uses high quality voices from Acapela. Voice Dream strips the text out of documents imported into it. This app works well with DropBox for importing your alt text request files.

The controls for the program are simple. There are Play, Fast Forward, and Rewind buttons at the bottom of the window. You can also control Voice Dream by using the Play Pause Buttons on iPhone headphones. The play pause controls in the App Switcher and Lock Screens also work. You can start reading a document and have it continue reading when the app is minimized.

There is a good video demonstrating the Voice Dream App on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGNYsGVAL4g.

You can purchase the Voice Dream Reader app on the iTunes App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/voice-dream-reader-text-to/id496177674?mt=8.

To Import a File from DropBox into Voice Dream

You need to have DropBox installed on your iOS device before you can use Voice Dream to import files from DropBox. Dropbox must also be enabled under the Settings options in Voice Dream. This is accessed from the Voice Dream Homepage.

  1. Open Voice Dream
  2. Press the Add button which looks like a Plus Sign at the bottom of the app
  3. Tap DropBox
  4. Tap the File you wish to open and Voice Dream will download it
  5. Tap the Done button
  6. Tap the file you just added
  7. Now you can play the document


Dropbox is a cloud storage service that allows you to share files across devices and platforms very easily. Dropbox is one of the ways that Disability Services can issue you your alt text files. The app for Dropbox needs to be installed on iOS before you can access files from Dropbox in other apps.

You can download Dropbox from the App Store at:

LearningAlly Audio

This app is a player for the LearningAlly audio books. This app has similar navigation features to the Victor Stream. To use this app you need a LearningAlly account. since we no longer provide these accounts our counselors can assist you with the certification paperwork to obtain your own account.

Video Tutorials are available on LearningAlly’s website at http://vimeo.com/user12095603/review/62245577/ac9a37989c

You can access LearningAlly Audio in the App Store by going to https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learning-ally-audio/id418888450?mt=8