Creating Accessible Books Using Pages

Create fun accessible books for the iPad that are EASY to navigate with VoiceOver and a Braille Display!

Emerging readers should have access to fun digital books – just like their peers! The books can be read aloud to the student, the student can listen to the book using VoiceOver, or the student can read the book using a refreshable braille display (with or without VoiceOver announcing the text). For emerging readers, the image description or an auditory clip can provide hints – just like the images provide hints to students with vision – about the text on the page. Emerging readers love books with repetitive or predictable phrases. While there are several great book creating apps that teachers and families are using to create books, these books are often challenging to navigate with a screen reader. (See Reading Books Created with Book Creator App Using an iPad and RBD post) The iBooks Author application for Mac computers used to be the most robust book creating app; iBooks Author was the only application that enabled educators to embed fully accessible multiple choice questions. However, iBooks Author has been discontinued. Replacing the iBooks Author app, the Pages app has evolved and now has book templates. Pages is the free Apple application available for iOS devices and Mac computers. 

After trying several of the book templates available in Pages, the template – Landscape Book  “basic” – creates books that are easily navigated with VoiceOver. (Note: The template for the Portrait Book “Basic Photo” is NOT easily navigated with VoiceOver!) Unfortunately, there is not a way to embed accessible questions into the books created in the Pages app.

Let’s create an emerging reader book using the nursery rhyme, “Five Little Ducks”. This classic nursery rhyme/song is not copyrighted.

Steps for Creating an Accessible Book Using the Pages App

Personally, I prefer to create my books on my Mac, as it is easier for me to create the desired images; however, the same steps apply for creating books in the Pages app on the iPad. In this post, we will create the Five Little Ducks book.

Choose your text and images 

Prior to creating your book, choose your text and images.

Text: I did an internet search for “Five Little Ducks lyrics”, made a copy and saved it on my desktop.


Create Your Book

Screenshot of the available templates in the Pages app; an annotated arrow points to the Books - Landscape Basic Template.

Title Page

Screenshot of 5 Ducks image with annotated steps showing 1. Edit Mask button, 2. Slider for editing mask and 3. Description textbox.

Add a Page

Screenshot of first page template, with text added and desired text size & spacing.

Additional Pages

I’m all about saving time, so with repetitive books like the Five Little Ducks, I simply copied the first page five times.

Screenshot of a sample thumbnail page with a popup menu: New page, cut, copy, paste, delete, duplicate, select all, edit master pages.

Edit the Copied Pages

Note: When you save your book, the default is to save it as a “.pages”.

Share the Book

When the book is complete, share the book in various formats, as students have personal preferences, use different accessibility options, and have different devices. The books creating in Pages and exported to other file types can be used by students who use Chromebooks or other devices! I initially save the various formats on my desktop, before sharing the book with others. When you create a book, please share the book with the VI community on Paths to Technology! You can find teacher-created books in the Book Library.

Viewing the Accessible Book on the iPad

Screenshot of Five Speckled Frogs opened on iPad with annotated arrow pointing to the View Options button and arrow to Edit/Reader button.

Note: With this book layout, the book scrolls down not to the right.

Note: Books saved as ePub or PDF and opened on the iPad in Apple Books, are not easily navigated when VoiceOver is on. Right swipes will jump the VoiceOver focus out of the book to the tool bar at the top of the page or Page Chooser at hte bottom of the page.



Attached File(s)
By Diane Brauner

Cartoon image of girl with glasses holding a book and text

Creating and/or Using Simple Digital Books

Math worksheet with three order of operations equations including 4 x 3 - 6.

Digitally accessible math worksheets

TumbleBooks logo: Character with blue pages, white hands and white feet. Hands are waving in the air as the character is about to cartwheel.

TumbleBooks: Audio narrated picture books for low vision