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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Using the Apple Books App in Speech Therapy

If you're like me, you've owned an iPad for years without realizing its potential in speech therapy. iPads (and other Apple devices) come preloaded with Apple Books, a free app that's designed to store and organize e-books and documents.

For speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who love the ease and flexibility of using an iPad in speech therapy sessions, Apple Books is a valuable tool. SLPs can have a myriad of PDF activities at their fingertips and ready for instant digital use.

How do you open a PDF using Apple Books?

Creating a digital library of speech therapy materials is simple to do using the Apple Books app.

  1. Download the PDF to your iPad from a website (such as TpT), an email, AirDrop, a cloud-based storage system (such as Dropbox or Google Drive), or a physical cable.

  2. The PDF will likely open in another tab or some sort of PDF previewer, so next you'll need to specify that you want to share/open it with another app (Apple Books). This is usually done by clicking the 'share' button (the square with an arrow pointing up out of it) in the upper right corner. It might be slightly different, depending on where or how you downloaded the PDF.

  3. Choose where to open the PDF, which in this case is "Books".

  4. The PDF will open and be ready for use in Apple Books.

Here is an example of using an iPad to download a PDF from the TpT website and opening it in Books.

steps to downloading a pdf from the tpt website onto the apple books app of an ipad

How do you use a PDF in Apple Books?

Once opened in Apple Books, PDFs can be used in speech therapy in many ways. Students of a variety of ages and abilities can do so much more than read or look at the PDF– they can truly interact with it.

Interactive Elements

Some PDFs are created to have interactive components, such as clickable buttons to navigate through various pages of the document or select answer choices. The PDF could also come with fillable text boxes or checkboxes. These digital articulation cards have both clickable buttons and checkboxes.

a digital PDF being used on an iPad in speech therapy with the Apple Books app

PDF Annotation

Apple Books also contains annotation tools, which means the PDFs can be digitally marked or drawn on. Students can digitally write on the PDF and underline, circle, or highlight words using lines of various colors and thicknesses. In this activity, students draw constellations while practicing their speech targets.

an articulation activity being annotated on an ipad in speech therapy using annotation tools of apple books app

With the ability to digitally mark up a PDF as students would write on a worksheet, even meant-to-be printed worksheets can be used in Apple Books.

Other Notes About Using the Apple Books App

  • Once you download a PDF and open it in Books, it is saved in your library. The next time you want to use that same PDF, just open your Books app library and it should still be there.

  • When using already downloaded PDFs in Books, you do not need internet access.

  • Organize your Apple Books library (how you see your documents) by selecting the 'More' button (three small dots) in the upper right corner.

  • Rename or remove a PDF from your library by clicking the three small dots below the PDF and selecting the appropriate choice from the menu.

  • If you use your Books app for actual books, you can keep all of your speech therapy PDFs separate. Just use the sidebar to filter your library by PDFs, books, and audiobooks.

There are undoubtedly tons of fancy and extravagant iPad apps that often take center stage in speech therapy, but Apple Books is definitely one that SLPs should learn to utilize. This simple yet versatile app allows SLPs to utilize PDFs as digitally interactive activities anytime and anywhere.

Want to try using the Apple Books app? Shop for digitally interactive PDFs to use in speech therapy in my TpT store!

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