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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

5 Free Apps for Using PDF Resources in Speech Therapy

If you love using digital resources in speech therapy (or are hoping to use them more!), your iPad is a great tool to utilize. PDF reader apps have so many interactive features, including the ability to annotate documents with lines, stamps, shapes, text and highlighter. Students are engaged, and you don't have to battle it out with the printer or spend a small fortune on ink and paper. Plus, it's quick and easy to keep your iPad clean between students (click here to find out how!)

Most PDF reader apps serve the same basic purpose-- to open, save, and annotate PDF documents, although they each have a different interface and their features may vary. As of the publish date of this blog post, there are approximately 47 million to choose from. Okay not really, but there are options. Today I am sharing five of them, all of which are free and I have tried on my iPad. Please note that since app developers are constantly changing how their apps function, the information given here may change over time.


Xodo is easy for kids to use, since the annotation tools look like the actual tools they are simulating! There are a variety of line colors, thicknesses, and transparency options (as shown on this Articulation Picture Searches resource), and the 'undo' button is easily accessible!

PDF Expert

The annotate tab of this app has all the basics, plus the ability to add pre-made digital stamps to a PDF, like I did with this Description Dice Game! Super fun!

pdf element

PDF Element has lots of options for modifying text that you overlay on the PDF, as shown with the sentences added to this Future, Present, and Past Tense Verbs activity. You're able to change the text color, font, and size to fit the space. It also has the ability to add sticky notes and draw lines of 6 available colors.


This app allows you to take pictures with your iPad and save the photo as a PDF for annotation. The check boxes of these Interactive Articulation Cards are easily clickable too! And as I shared about in this blog post, the website for this app has tons of great tools for modifying PDFs for use in teletherapy.

pdf viewer

There are many options for line thickness, color, blend, and opacity in PDF Viewer, such as what's being used to markup this mixed group resource. It also includes the ability to add text and highlight, underline, and strike through text on the PDF. There's an option to add your own images by taking a picture with the iPad or using an image in your photo library.

If you're ready to give it a try, check out this blog post for the step-by-step! And here's a quick video demo of how to download a PDF from TpT and open it on a PDF reader app such as those mentioned in this post. Start here using this free resource!

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