iBooks & Notability: Paperless Therapy!

As a new iPad owner I was hesitant to pay $25-$50 for a speech therapy app just to do therapy. Luckily for me there are SLPs who visit my site and share with me how they are using the iPad in different (and cost-effective) ways. I was sooooo excited when Teresa emailed some of the ways she was using my board games and other worksheets without printing them – and so this post about the apps ‘iBooks’ and ‘Notability’ began.

  • APP: iBooks
  • PRICE: Free
  • FUNCTION: Apart from downloading books, it saves PDF files into your library collection.

Go back and keep on opening up your PDF files into iBooks! Trust me… it is worth the 15 minutes to be able to access your things without internet connectivity! If you want to see a YouTube clip that gives various options as PDF file sizes may vary, then this tutorial provides some great tips.

After all of your things are organized into categories, it’s easy to scroll through to find whatever you want to open!


I could go on and on… just think that you can save anything that is in PDF format in here. Having created so many free resources in PDF format, I have everything from my site on my iPad now!

  • Open my board games, grab a dice and some counters and play the game on the iPad. I wish I knew about this before I started printing and colouring them in!
  • Download journal articles so that you always have easy access to the latest research.
  • Save colorful visual scaffolds and always have access to bright articulation cards and sentences/stories (the later I downloaded from mommy speech therapy).
  • Have screeners and speech/language programs at your fingertips!
  • APP: Notability
  • PRICE: $0.99
  • FUNCTION: Write on documents (eg. PDFs, JPEG files etc.), record audio files, email them to yourself/families once finished!

You open and save the PDFs the same way that you would in iBooks. There should be another box next to the iBooks tab in the upper right hand corner with a drop menu. Just choose the ‘Notability’ program.

A few options to show you…


I find this app extremely useful for worksheets and getting the student involved. An SLP called Teresa initially shared these ideas about how she uses Notability, and I have added a few to get you started:

  • Importing PDF worksheet files AND programs on CD onto her iPad and doing the worksheets on there. She noted that CDs with passwords do not work.

  • Taking photos of students doing actions and annotating them/audio recording them.
  • She also circles incorrect articulations productions on worksheets to email to parents as extra practice. Teresa opens my board games into Notability and uses the writing tool as a marker (see below).

  • Get creative with sound loaded scenes and circle the pictures after you have said them correctly!

  • Why not play tic-tac-toe with the articulation cards?

Obviously there are soooo many more ideas and I just wanted to share a few ways to get you thinking of the endless possibilities this app has… and it is only $0.99! I would love to hear more ways that you are already using these apps as I have only been experimenting with them for the past week! I am very thankful for those SLPs who love to share information and give us all fresh ways to approach therapy. Happy downloading!


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  • I’ve used my ipad the most with my preschool students. (They love technology!) I’ve found quite a few free programs/games for preschool-aged kids that work great as reinforcers or easily target goals. I’m just starting to incorporate the ipad into therapy with my older students.

    Thanks for the info on Notability. I’ve never heard of it before, but love the idea. It looks great for only $0.99!

    • I’d be happy to hear what free apps/programs you have found for preschool aged kids – the more we share, the better off we are as SLPs!

  • I’m stuck! How do I import pdf files from iBooks to Notability, or is there a step in between?

    Thanks so much for your wonderful blog and generous self!!

    • Hi Amy,

      I don’t believe you can import from one program to the other. I just open it in one program – go back to the webpage and right click to open it in the other program! If you’re still stuck – I can take screen shots of what I do.

      • You can email the .pdf from iBooks to yourself then tap on the .pdf in the email body and select “open in Notability” , that’s my little workaround, hope it helps? I’m an artist and like to use it for sketching over notes for paintings and writing over photos with painting notes. Great app! Have a good day!

        • Thanks! You made life that little bit easier for me and the rest of us who use this!

  • This is wonderful. I am adding this to an app presentation next week. I love the board games in iBooks. If you have updated to iOS6, you could use the board games in iBooks and end any chance movement by using the Guided Access – turn off the motion and the touch. AND, use felt or fabric game markers to avoid cracking your screen.

      • If you haven’t used Guided Access, check out How to Use and Set up Guided Access on iOS 6.0 at ASHAsphere. With Guided Access you can lock students into the app of your choice, draw a shape over an area that you want to disable, and turn off motion and touch as needed.

  • Im trying to dl the app on my ipod touch but it doesn’t come up in the search results!! 🙁 any ideas as to why it doesn’t find it?

    • I think that Notability was made for the iPad, or at least the version that I downloaded. You should be able to download iBooks though and still view all PDF documents. Maybe keep your eye out for an update for the iPhone.

  • This is awesome! I didn’t even realize this was possible on my iPad. Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas and your generosity in sharing materials at no cost. I’m a school based SLPA with a tight school budget so finding free materials is a must. Your website is at the top of my favorites.

    • Thanks – it’s amazing what some apps can do! I always wonder what else is out there waiting to be discovered.


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Hi, I'm Rebecca.
I encourage SLPs to feel more confident treating speech sound disorders, and make faster progress with their students.


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