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iPad app comparison: Literacy support with word prediction.

By Coll O'Connor and Lynne Silcock


Word prediction can help reduce the number of keystrokes necessary for typing words and provides extra support for spelling, reading and editing.


Word prediction software predicts a required word as a student writes, producing a list of words beginning with the letter sequence typed. This supports spelling and reduces the number of keystrokes required to type each word. Some apps “predict ahead” so the first letter does not need to be typed.


The following are the results of our July 2015* review of word prediction on five apps and the default prediction on the iPad. A standard sentence** was written in each app and the number of correctly predicted words and keystrokes were recorded (high words predicted and low keystrokes show better results).


All the apps reviewed include text-to-speech and read the predicted words aloud. Some apps also offered topic dictionaries, keyword lists and extra spelling support. None of the apps allow you to insert pictures or audio recordings directly onto the page. Abilipad grids can be set up with images.

iPad dictation 2.jpg iPad keyboard (default prediction)

Results: 60/70 words      212/274 keystrokes

The iPad keyboard only predicts three words, while the other apps had 5 to 20 words. Having a larger selection of words to choose from makes a difference to the writer and also increases the prediction accuracy results.

The default system offers some support for writing but for students who have greater literacy support needs we recommend one of the dedicated literacy support products listed below.


 imageReadWrite for iPad $24.99 replaces imageiReadWrite $36.99

Update - please see post below

imageiReadWrite $36.99

Results: 69/70 words        220/274 keystrokes (tapping) 150/274 keystrokes (swiping)

iReadWrite word prediction was the best overall performer of the trial when used in swipe mode. In tap mode the number of keystrokes is higher due to selecting the predicted word twice. You tap once to hear it and then again to select it to appear in the text.

The select and speak option is very easy to use and works directly from the toolbar. Misspelled words turn red and wrongly used homonyms turn blue. iReadWrite gives the most number of predictions (13+). It has text to speech with colour highlighting.

Export options: Quick export to email, copy, print, plus options to open in other apps already on iPad.

  image   iWordQ UK. $30.99

Results:  67/70 words      160/274   keystrokes

iWordQ’s word prediction was also a very good performer of the trial. It predicted two words less than iReadWrite and had a low number of keystrokes.

It gives examples of word in a sentence are provided to help distinguish close sounding words (including homonyms - e.g. which witch).

Even if you are creative with your spelling, iWordQ will still predict and continues to try and predict no matter how bad your spelling is.

Export options: Quick export to email, copy, print, plus options to open in other apps already on iPad.

imageCoWriter BE $24.99

Results:  56/70 words         193/274 keystrokes

CoWriter performed the most poorly out all apps tested. The prediction accuracy and number of keystrokes for CoWriter has not improved enormously from the last time we tested it.

This app still tends to give you the prediction randomly or after you have spelled the word completely and correctly.

CoWriter can access over 4 million topic-specific dictionaries and you can create your own topic dictionary or use the main dictionary which has four different levels.


This app has a very simple set up with only one voice option (female). It highlights words read aloud and predicts multiple words. Co Writer continues to predict even when spelling is very bad. It underlines the misspelled words in red.

Export options: Quick export to email, copy, print, plus options to open in other apps already on iPad Twitter, Google Drive and DropBox.

imageClicker Docs $39.99

Results: 62/70 words      179/274 keystrokes

Prediction results for Clicker Docs was reasonably poor.  

You can either type directly into the page or use a preloaded grid or customised word bank. You can create your own grids based on the needs of your learner.

There is a range of pre made keyboards available (e.g. Alphabetical left to right, Alphabetical Clusters, lowercase). The Super keys option can divide your keyboard into sections that for those who have difficulty tapping small targets.

Export options - does not have direct copy, email or print options. Export via settings and then sharing menu to DropBox, Google Drive, Onedrive, WebDAV.

image Abilipad  $24.99

Results :  64/70 Words        183/274 keystrokes

Abilipad performed poorly in our test. Although, like the others it could predict the next word, it stopped predicting after the third letter of a word was wrong.

You can either type directly into the page or use a preloaded grid or customised word bank. You can create your own grids based on the needs of your learner. You can include images on a pre made grid.

Abilipad has a large range keyboard configurations (e.g. abc, blank, AZERTY, QWERTY, Spanish). Choose the English speaking voice option in order for text to appear in English. For spell checking and dictionary tools you have to use the iPad default.

Export options - email or print option or export via DropBox, Abilipad Library, or Google Drive.

Spellbetter full version is now $64.99. The free version is locked to one document with no export options. Lite Version results: 53/70 words  205/274 keystrokes.

In previous tests we have also looked at: Brevity, PT Typer, Write Online (refer Clicker Docs), and Typ-o

For more information please contact me via cat.help@education.govt.nz  

*Apps can change regularly so caution should be taken when reading these findings as updates may have occurred.

**Test: In room six we made resbery and lime jaly. Today we lird about tuning solid into likwd and back into solid. Kerry and I got to stur with the fork. It was fun. This is how to make jaly. You put hot water in the bole and then put the resbery or lime solid litle curkls in the bole too. The partikls was moving slowly. The jelly cristis are solid


  • Allanah King

    I wonder how Keedogo keyboard goes up against those in your trial. At $6:49 price wise it is great.


    It predicts five words and to me it seems to predict more of the things that kids are likely to want to write.

    It's not an app like a separate thing but a keyboard so it's accessible across anything that needs a keyboard.

    I like also that it can highlight the vowels as being most often used.

    And after having written a capital letter the keyboard changes to lower case.


  • Coll O'Connor

    Kia Ora Tatou

    I have completed our word prediction test using the Keedogo Plus keyboard . This keyboard has up to ten words predicted. The results : 58/ 70 words predicted correctly. 194/274 keystrokes.

     Keedogo stops predicting after the third letter of a word is spelled wrong. It will not predict more sophisticated words such as 'liquid' spelled phonetically as 'likwd'. The predictions are primarily high frequency words, which can be a positive support for meeting beginners writing standards. 

    I like Keedogo Plus as an early learner keyboard. It minimizes the number of keys on the keyboard itself and therefore the number of distractions for the user.


  • Lynne Silcock

    Hi all

    Update Nov 2015

    imageReadWrite for iPad $24.99 replaces imageiReadWrite $36.99


    The new product adds a new ReadWrite predictive keyboard to your iPad so prediction and additional literacy support is provided whenever you are writing - no matter which app you are using.

    This is the first app I have seen that offers excellent word prediction and literacy support but also works seamlessly when writing in other apps.

    Settings allow you to:

    • use dyslexic font (only on the keyboard - settings for documents depend on options provided in the app you are writing in)

    • highlight vowels

    • speak as you type

    • dictionary support and visual dictionary (all can be read aloud)

    • speak selections and simple speak back your work

    • swipe or tap to select

    It also offers support for students when they are working in the Safari browser. Once enabled, the small ReadWrite toolbar offers simple speak aloud and dictionary support in the browser.

    Teachers who have signed up for Read Write for Google will be able to sign up to this app for free using their Google sign in.

    See more in these Youtube videos: ReadWrite for iPad keyboard and ReadWrite for iPad Web Toolbar



Assistive Technology

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