Student accessibility tools


Tool Name (link to resources)


Reading/Writing/Vision Issues, Text Complexity

Snap and Read (paid)

Snap and Read has many uses but the biggest use is as a powerful text to speech tool.  Snap and Read works on both Macs and Chromebooks.  It will highlight the text as it reads it out loud.  Text to speech tools have shown to help struggling readers comprehend text that they would not be able to do as well without the tool.  This works on almost every site or document you have on your computer thanks to the tool options included.

Directions for ACSD Teachers

Google Drive

Google Keep and Drive have a built in OCR tool to pull text off of images 

Now also works with handwritten text as long as it is legible. (cursive not recommended)

Grammarly (In Google Docs)

Grammarly is a Chrome Extension that brings in a lot of writing tools including a better spell check and grammar suggestions.  It is in Beta now for Google Docs and has been used by many so it is a very trustworthy and powerful tool.  


Can change lexile level of nonfiction literacy and current events text.

Google Docs Speech to Text (Voice Typing)

Built into Google Docs is the ability for students to use their voice to write.  While not perfect, it can allow them to easily get their thoughts onto the document and then go back to fix the format and any word issues.


A Chrome Extension that allows you to highlight and annotate websites.  You can easily mark up a webpage and access them later.

Google Dictionary

A Chrome Extension that will cause a popup to appear when you highlight words that you may not understand or are unclear what they mean.  Great for helping with difficult texts.

Awesome Screenshot

Easily annotate a screenshot of your webpage or doc, easily share, and even blur out parts you want to hide.

Prizmo Go

iOS app, free option uses the camera to grab the text so you can have the app read it out loud to you.  Paid options include being able to copy and paste that text into other apps.


Will show word by word the selected text on a website.  Appears to have issues with Google Docs however.


Speed reading tool that can be slowed down to show one word at a time.  Great for students with low vision acuity or a reading issue where seeing a single word a time will aid in comprehension.  You can even copy and paste text into it so you can use it with Google Docs.


Open Dyslexic

A Chrome Extension that will replace the font on the screen with the Open Dyslexic font that will help to aid in reading.

Beeline Reader

A Chrome Extension that will automatically add a color gradient to text to aid in reading.  Also has the ability to enable the Open Dyslexic font on a page.

Hearing Issues

Transcripts and Closed Captioning in YouTube

YouTube automatically creates a transcript of the audio in a video, which you can search using command+F.  Closed Captioning can be turned on with a single button click.

Closed Captioning in Google Slides

Google has now made it so you can easily have live closed captioning as you are presenting Google Slides.  This is a new feature and can be used in a lot of classrooms, or other environments, when you are presenting using Slides.  Make sure you have clear audio and a microphone would greatly help.

Color Blindness

Color Enhancer

Chrome Extension that allows you to adjust colors on websites so that those who are color blind can better see the different sections and highlights.

Chrome Daltonize

Chrome Extension that adjusts colors on websites to allow details to be visible to those who are colorblind.

Attention Issues / Removing Distractions

Stay Focusd

Chrome Extension where you can block sites to keep yourself focused on the work that you need to do.  You can set the number of hours that you want a site blocked so you are not able to go to it and waste time.


Chrome Extension that darkens the screen except for a horizontal band that aids in focusing on the text the student is reading.  You can move the band up and down as you read.

Mercury Reader

A Chrome Extension that removes the clutter and ads from a website to make the reading of it much easier.  Great for those sites that have a lot of distracting ads and other stuff cluttering it all up.

Website/Digital Resource Evaluation Tools


A Chrome Extension that allows you to test a website to see how various vision issues will affect how a person can “view” it.  You can adjust the settings to visualize how different vision issues will affect the appearance of the site.

WAVE Evaluation Tool

A Chrome Extension that which gives you visual feedback about the accessibility of your website.

Extra: Using Text to Speech on a Mac

Resources related to Colorblindness

Engaging the Shy Learner

  • I have written a blog post that talks about some ways to help our shy students be involved.  We have a number of students who are afraid or unsure about participating in class.  They do not want to stand out and are definitely afraid to be wrong in front of others.  They might also just need more time to process before participating and the pace of the class might not allow them to have the time that they need.

  • Some tools you could use:

    • Google Forms to submit questions that they have during class or even after class

    • Padlet to allow students to make comments or ask questions of others during class discussions or after

    • Sharing your notes with students ahead of time using a Google Doc so they can make edits and comments on the side instead of writing everything down in order for them to better be able to focus on developing questions or comments during class instead of after.

  • Shy Students Get a Voice Through Ed Tech 

Using a Swivl to record class - can be very helpful for students who have hearing or vision issues. (longer post coming….)

Other Tools (free)

  • Announcify - text to speech, can remove distracting elements from website, reads whole page and not just selected text.

  • ATbar - color overlays, dictionary, text to speech and other tools 

  • MagicScroll Web Reader - turns website into a scrollable book

  • Readline - shows a reading word by word and can select the speed

  • High Contrast - change contrast and invert colors on a webpage

  • Simple Blocker - easily block distracting websites to keep yourself on task

Other Tools (paid)

  • Read&Write for Chrome - whole set of tools include speech to text, text to speech, picture definitions, translation, playback of reading, …

Google Apps Resources

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