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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

5 Free Apps for Using PDF Resources in Speech Therapy

SLPs love digital resources because they are the ultimate time-saver (among many other reasons). And a PDF annotation app on an iPad is a great tool to use in speech therapy to help make those digital resources really come alive.

PDF reader apps with annotation features keep students actively engaged by allowing them to overlay lines, stickers, shapes, text, and highlights right on PDFs. Oh, and they also keep SLPs from running back and forth to the printer or spending a small fortune on ink and paper. Plus, it's quick and easy to keep your iPad clean between students.

Most PDF reader apps serve the same basic purpose– to open, save, and annotate PDF documents– but they each have their own interface and set of features. And lucky for us, there are approximately 47 million apps to choose from. Okay not really, but there are options.

To help you sift through them, I am sharing 5 free apps that I have tried on my iPad. Since apps are constantly changing, please note that the information I share here may change over time (i.g. features, cost,).

Xodo App in Speech Therapy

Xodo is easy for kids to use since the drawing tools (pencil, marker, etc.) look like the actual writing instruments they are simulating! In this Articulation Picture Search, different line colors are used for different students. There's also an easy way to change the line thickness and opacity, and the 'undo' button is easily accessible!

iPad App for Speech Therapy PDF Activities

PDF Expert App in Speech Therapy

The annotate tab of the PDF Expert app has all the basics, plus the ability to add digital stickers to a PDF (from their catalog of pre-loaded options) as I did with this Articulation Dots and Boxes game. It's a fun way to personalize the activity!

PDF Reader App for Speech Therapy with Annotation

PDF Element App in Speech Therapy

PDF Element has lots of options for modifying text that you overlay on the PDF. In this Star Articulation Activity, the student completed the activity (and typed the answer) using the app's comment tools. As you see here, you can always combine a digital activity with some printed papers as well!

Speech Therapy Activity PDF on an iPad

iLovePDF App in Speech Therapy

The iLovePDF app has tons of PDF capabilities (just like their website). In this example, a weather-themed language resource for older students is being used in the "Edit PDF" mode to type in the fillable text boxes. But there are tons of other options for PDF annotation that can be used with younger students, too!

iPad Activity for Older Students in Speech Therapy

PDF Viewer App in Speech Therapy

The PDF Viewer app is full of easily accessible annotation tools to markup PDFs like this one-page speech therapy activity for mixed groups. There's an option to insert your own image by taking a picture with the iPad or using one in your photo library. This is a great feature for kids, as they love incorporating things about them!

iPad App for Speech Therapy with PDF Annotation

If you're ready to give it a try, check out this blog post for the step-by-step! on how to use your iPad to download a PDF from TpT and open it using an app of your liking. You can start with this FREE version of the one-page mixed group activity above. And since all of the apps mentioned in this post are free, try several to find one you like best!

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