By Sharon Conwell |

For a long time students with dyslexia weren’t expected to perform well academically. Unfair and inaccurate assumptions were often made about their capabilities and intelligence, and ignorance often left a lot of dyslexic students completely overlooked. Fortunately, times have changed, and teachers are now much better equipped to pick up on when a kid has dyslexia, and also has the capability to create an inclusive classroom environment. As a result, people with dyslexia have been better supported through their education and are more likely to reach doctoral level.The following online resources and apps can make studying at this level with dyslexia a lot easier.

Writing Tools

There are certain tools available online that make producing written content a much simpler and more efficient prospect.

1.     Cite It In

One thing that is true about just about every PhD subject, and every paper, report, or essay that you’ll hand in is the need for stringent referencing. You can’t state anything at this level of academia without listing sources to back up your point, and writing references can be a total pain – it’s time consuming and detailed. This tool makes referencing easy, and can save you a lot of time.

2.     Ginger Software

This is an increasingly popular option for writing software that is free for both Android and iOS. This tool is great as it provides a really comprehensive review of your work and will pick up on errors that a regular spell checker would miss, for example when the incorrect homonym has been used.

3.     Paper Fellows

As a dyslexic student in academia, it can be hard to find relevant and useful advice for your particular needs. However, the forums and support available here can be massively helpful as professional writer and teachers share tips and tricks that can boost your skills and your confidence when faced with written work.

4.     Google Keyboard

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting all of your thoughts on paper, and not losing your train of thought before you get it all written down. Google Keyboard makes writing a lot quicker, and takes away some of the effort by providing smart word prediction, meaning you can just concentrate on your ideas for content.

5.     Big Assignments

When you’re writing, you may want to engage the help of a tutor to improve the quality of your work. There are also helpful articles about writing available here.

6.     Keeble Keyboard

If you often make notes or start planning work on an iPad, then this could prove to be a really useful tool. It offers an on-screen keypad that predicts words that get more accurate over time as it stores the words you most commonly use.

Reading Tools

Reading articles and journals is a huge part of any PhD, and this can make conquering massive reading lists a lot less daunting.

7.     Talk – Text To Voice

Sometimes after a long day, the thought of sitting and reading is really unappealing. When that happens you can use this app, which will read text from a variety of sources aloud.

8.     Claro PDF

Many text-to-speech apps have a problem with reading PDFs because they’re a picture of text – this is what Claro offers.

9.Learning Ally

While there are many options for e-books that offer text-to-speech technology, Learning Ally  offers a vast store of textbooks.

10.Natural Readers

This app allows you to copy and paste content here to hear it read aloud – which is really useful for online sources.

11.OCR Instantly Pro

When you find something useful, you can simply take a photo with any mobile device, and listen to the text read aloud later.


If you regularly need articles or current affairs for your PhD, then this is a great place to store them, where you can read or listen to them later.

Tools for Productivity

All students occasionally struggle with motivation and these tool and apps are tailored to boost your productivity.

13. Easy Word Count

Sometimes you need a bit of a measure to check if you’re being productive, and monitoring how much you’ve been able to add to your thesis with a word counter can help you stay on track.


Staying on track of all of your reading becomes super simple as this tool keeps them all in one place, and syncs them across all devices. Plus, it annotates all of your reading, and makes referencing much simpler.


You will need to sit and read consistently, no matter how boring or repetitive the subject matter is. Find relaxing, motivating, or energising music to help you get through the different stages.

16.Drop Box

It’s absolutely essential to back up every single thing you do. Otherwise, weeks’ worth of work could be lost in an instant, and you’ll find yourself wasting time doing work twice.


When you’re first researching something, you don’t have time to read and annotate everything, so save anything that seems important here, and you can then search for it later, much like you would use a search engine.


If you want to stay afloat during a PhD, you’ll need to be organised. Make lists that sync across your devices to stay on top of your workload, and avoid forgetting important deadlines.

Taking on a PhD while dyslexic can be a challenge, and there will no doubt be specific obstacles, however the above tools and apps help level the playing field. These tools can make your work much less time-consuming, and promote efficient studying practices. Check what support your university can offer you too.



Sharon Conwell has been a content manager and ghost writer at over 20 online projects, now she is a part-time educator and freelance writer. She loves coffee, tulips and her Shih Tzu named Bobby. Feel free to contact her on  LinkedIn.


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