Writing Supports

For students struggling with writing, Apple has built in Voice-to-Text and thesaurus features that can help students complete writing assignments.  In the following sections, learn how to use these features to support students’ writing.


1. Automatically Check Spelling and Grammar

Many apps allow students to check spelling and grammar while typing.  In Pages, these settings can be accessed by 1) clicking the Edit menu and then hovering over 2) Spelling and Grammar.  You can also manually check spelling and grammar by selecting 3) Check Document Now.  Suggestions will be provided.

For more information: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH21567

2. Get Suggestions While Checking Spelling and Grammar

You can also open up a window of suggestions by clicking 1) Edit > 2) Spelling and Grammar and then 3) Show Spelling and Grammar.  This is is a useful tool since it helps students decide what changes to make instead of letting the machine do them for the student.

Access this window by holding Shift + Command + : 

3. Start Dictation from Keyboard

When you’re ready to write, double-tap the fn key to start Dictation.  A microphone should appear that displays the system recognizing your voice.  You will need to speak any punctuation such as periods or exclamation points; OSX will not automatically add those.

TIP: For noisy environments, use a headset with a built-in microphone.

4. Start Dictation from Menus

To start Dictation from applications that support it, 1) open the Edit menu and 2) select Start Dictation.  The microphone will then appear to capture your speech and translate it.

5. Dictation System Preferences

To make changes to Dictation, click Dictation & Speech under System Preferences.

6. Dictation Settings

You can turn Dictation on and off under the Dictation tab of Dictation & Speech.    

If your keyboard shortcut of double-tapping fn is not working, check which Shortcut is currently set.

TIP: Check Use Enhanced Dictation if a student does not have Internet at home.

7. Trackpad Look Up – Thesaurus

Need a suggestion of words?  Looking up a word in a built-in thesaurus is achieved by lightly tapping three fingers on the trackpad over the word.

8. Right-Click Look Up

You can also look up words in the built-in dictionary and thesaurus by right-clicking on the word in an article.  Then select Look Up.

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