Saturday, September 1, 2012

neu.Annotate app for kids who stuggle with handwriting

Five days of children has me tired tonight! ....but I'm not too tired though to rave about an app I heard about---neu.Annotate.    It's an app that allows iPad users to type, draw, or write into a .pdf document.  Why is this great?  Because now children who have poor fine motor skills can complete a worksheet in a classroom without tears; the teachers can read what the child wrote;  the child can be independent!  No need for a scribe!  Removing the task of handwriting allows me, as a speech pathologist, to see how the child can access the curriculum when given some accommodations.

To test this app, I downloaded a simple book and two worksheets from Reading A-Z.  This is a great website with leveled readers and phonemic awareness and comprehension activities and worksheets to go with it. Our school system subscribes to this, thankfully. 

The name of the book was "Where Animals Live" (level D), and each page explored a different place and different animal habitat.  The language and organization were simple, but still exposed the kids to new concepts (i.e. 'burrows').  I emailed the pdf worksheet to myself, and figured out how to load it into the neu.annotate on the iPad (this is obviously not a complete tutorial).  The worksheet listed the main idea (where do animals live), but the child needed to write down the specific habitats into the graphic organizer.  Given the iPad, and neu.annotate, the child could type the habitats directly into the worksheet.  There was also a drawing tool if he wanted to illustrate.

chile completing worksheet within the app
The results for my student were great.  He figured out quickly how to type in the answers.  I then emailed the completed worksheet to myself, and then it was easy to print.  I'm always looking for ways to see what the kids can comprehend, what they can actually do without having to physically write, and then how they can be mainstreamed more with some assistive technology accomodations.   This app has wonderful potential!!!  See for yourself--it's $1.99 in iTunes which is totally reasonable.  I can't wait to use it more!

This is the completed worksheet.  The main idea was in the center rectangle---Where Animals Live.  The student had to then provide four examples from the book into the graphic organizer.  Afterwards, we went back and practiced answering 'where' questions without the organizer!  He is a good reader of words, but has difficulties answering any questions, so this type of activity offered a bridge between reading (word-calling) and comprehension.


  1. This is a terrific app Ruth. I'm also a fan of PaperPort Notes, by Nuance. It's similar in that it allows you to type, or hand write responses into PDF's, as well as many electronnic documents. Going one step further, it leverages the powerful Dragon Dictate, allowing you to dictate your responses as well. Notes retails for FREE, which is also pretty exciting!

  2. Any advice on allowing access to worksheets through AAC (eyegaze)??


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