Developing Early Literacy Scaffolds on iPad

Bring out the creative in you by designing engaging learning activities specifically designed for all learners in your class.

As an Apple Professional Learning Specialist, I have the opportunity to work closely with educators across all year levels. I often find teachers searching for activities, videos or resources specifically tailored for the needs of their students. This can sometimes take a long time, let alone, be the right content you are teaching that day, week or term. 

iPad enables us teachers to be creatives, giving us the opportunity to design tailored learning experience for our students. On the same token, we want our learners to be creators. We want them to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a way that’s fun, engaging and meaningful for them. With iPad, we are able to create, build and differentiate for every learner in our class. 


As part of the phonics programme in a Kindergarten class, students are learning to identify, say and blend taught sounds. With the mobility of using iPad, I wanted the literacy activity to enable little learners to move around the classroom and use the built in features on the device (camera, microphone, touch screen) to engage with the skills being taught. With the goal of it being an independent literacy rotation, this activity needed to be easily modified through the school year, and flexible to differentiate for all learners. 

With Keynote, I created an activity for students to locate, or ‘hunt’, for letters (graphemes) in the classroom to spell out a word. Once students find the letter, they can easily take a photo within the placeholder. These placeholders are created in Keynote and help students easily identify and capture each individual letter without having to worry about formatting or resizing an image. Place holders are fantastic and can be used for any activity (locating 2D and 3D shapes around the school, inserting Clips videos or even amazing drawings from SketchesSchool). In the video below, I will show you how to create a place holder.

Once students locate the letters to spell out a word, they then use the record audio feature to say each sound (phoneme). After each letter is captured and each sound is recorded, students then record the whole word by blending the sounds as a strategy for reading and creating texts. 


Not only does this activity allow students to record their voice and capture photos, it also gives them the opportunity to use the drawing feature to trace over the word and a blank space to write down the word working on their fine motor skills, all while keeping the visual and the auditory components in the same space. 

Below you will find a copy of the Keynote scaffold I created. Simply download a copy and AirDrop to your students to get them learning and moving with this engaging and simple-to-create literacy activity. With the Keynote template you can easily duplicate slides allowing you to teach new sounds, new letters and new words. 


Additional information ⬇️:



7 replies

November 05, 2022

Oh Wow! What a fantastic way to use iPad as part of our phonics program with our young learners 🥰 Thanks so much for sharing.

November 06, 2022

Eric, I really love the inclusive nature of this project. Thanks for sharing

November 08, 2022

Another great way to use placeholders in Keynote! Brilliant activity for your learners.

November 08, 2022

Another great way to use placeholders in Keynote! Brilliant activity for your learners.

November 08, 2022

Awesome for little learners with endless possibilities to connect to learning across the curriculum! Thanks so much for sharing Eric! :0)

December 06, 2022

Love this activity Eric, thanks for sharing! And I had no idea you could convert a shape into an image just by dragging into the Photos app. This will save me so much time when creating placeholders - thank you! 🙏🏼

February 12, 2023

Love this idea. Thanks for sharing Eric!

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