With iOS 8 your iPad has enhanced accessibility features that can be very useful for everyone. One such feature that I find myself using on a regular basis is centered around speech–specifically, reading selected text back to me. There are countless benefits from such a feature, from reading a how-to aloud while you actively participate in making or fixing something, to catching you up on your RSS reader feed while you wade through your backlog of emails. I find it particularly helpful to finish reading a post when I need to redirect some of my attention to another task. Whatever the reason, I’m sure you can find scenario that is beneficial for you, too.
Start with opening the Settings App on your iPad, and select General. Next, open the Accessibility tab and locate Speech at the bottom of the Vision section. Here you have three options–Speak Selection, Speak Screen and Speak Auto-text.
By Selecting Speak Selection every time you physically select text in an app, you will now have the option to have the selected text read back to you. In addition, after toggling Speak Selection to the on position, you will have the option of choosing the language of the voice that speaks to you as well as the speaking rate of that voice via an onscreen slider.
Toggling Speak Screen on will activate a gesture that speaks the content of your iPad screen by swiping down from the top of the screen with two fingers–my favorite feature! When you activate the feature a small menu will appear on your screen that will give youth the option to Pause, Play Fast Forward or Rewind, as well as incrementally control the speaking rate with buttons. When this menu is left idle for 10 seconds or more it will collapse into a simple arrow that can be manipulated anywhere on your iPad screen or turned off altogether by depressing the “X” that appears on the far right when it is active.
Furthermore, you can also have the content that is being read highlighted as it is spoken to help track your progress, as well as have your iPad automatically speak auto-corrections and auto-capitalizations.