Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your iPad to read your books out loud. Well, the good news is that you can. It’s not as easy as tapping Siri and asking it to start reading. With these few tricks you can get an iPad to start reading your books out loud.


Turn on the Speak Selection function in iOS

The Speak Selection function speaks out text in the iBooks app. Speak Selection is in the Accessibility settings in iOS but isn’t turned on by default. Follow these steps:

  1. Click on Settings > General > Accessibility > Speak Selection
  2. Switch Speak Selection to On.
  3. A range of new options will appear. The voice should be set to English (United Kingdom) by default, but you can change it by tapping on Voices > English. Check that Enhanced Quality is set to On.
  4. You can adjust the Speaking Rate to your preferred speed.
  5. The Highlight Words option (On by default) enables you to identify words as they are read out loud.

Read a book out loud in iBooks

Using iBooks to speak out any text

With Speak Selection turned on, switch to iBooks the iBooks app. Move to the page where you want to start reading and follow these steps:

  1. Open the book you're want to read in iBooks
  2. Tap Appearance (the aA icon) and set Scrolling View to on.
  3. Tap on the first word you want read out to select it
  4. Touch and hold the Blue Drag handle with a finger in your left hand. While holding that down scroll to the end of the book with a finger on your right hand.
  5. Let go and tap on Speak in the bubble menu to read out the page.

With this method, you can sit back and let the iPad read a book to you.

Read a book out loud in Natural Reader HD

Use an App like Dragon Natural Reader HD to read books out loud

An easier way to read books out loud is to use an App like Dragon Natural Reader HD. This is used to read out text and epub documents. Follow these steps to use Natural Reader HD.

  1. Install the Natural Reader HD app (App Store link).
  2. If you have e-books on your Mac copy them to a Dropbox folder. You can install Dropbox here.
  3. Tap on Menu in Natural Reader HD and choose Dropbox. Select a book to open it in Natural Reader.
  4. Tap on the green Play button in the bottom-left of the screen to start reading the text out loud.

The great thing about using an app like Natural Reader is that you can read out text without having to use Accessibility features. We hope this is something Apple implements in iBooks at some point in the future.