8 Google Chrome Extensions for Students with Learning Needs…And Everyone Else

8 Google Chrome Extensions for Students with Learning Needs (1)

Author’s note: The author is honored to have served as a Special Education teacher for ten school years. This post is meant to offer helpful suggestions to all educators who teach students with learning needs. These extensions, like many special education interventions, are beneficial for students with learning disabilities and anyone else who wants to be more productive when using the Google Chrome Browser. 

Google Chrome and its Extensions

Think of extensions as mini-programs that run in the Google Chrome browser. Users can add extensions to Google Chrome at the Chrome Web Store. Here are three ways to access the Chrome Web Store.

Find it in Google by typing “Chrome web store.” Click “Extensions” to search for extensions:

Finding Chrome web Store in Google

Find it in the Chrome browser’s Apps:

Chrome Web Store Through Apps in Chrome Browser - Cropped

Find it in the Chrome browser’s “More tools” menu. This is also where extensions can be deleted or turned on and off:

Getting Extensions Through More Tools in Chrome Browser - Cropped


Google Chrome can use a lot of memory. Users should be careful to not use too many extensions and risk slow computer performance. One way to quickly turn extensions on and off is our first extension:


Extensity allows users to easily turn extensions on and off:

Extensity - Cropped (1)


AdBlock might be the very best Chrome extension. It blocks advertisements. No more annoying distractions! Check it out in action:

Adblock - Cropped


Readability takes away distractions so students can read articles. Check it out in action:

Readability - Cropped


Grammarly is a great spelling and grammar checker. It works in Gmail and text fields on websites. It does not work in Google Docs at the moment. Take a look at it in action:

Grammarly - Cropped

Open Dyslexic

Open Dyslexic is an extension that converts text on screen into a font that some people with Dyslexia prefer:

Open Dyslexic (1)

Split Screen

Author’s Note (1/25/16): Split Screen no longer works. Fortunately, this post still has 8 great Chrome extensions thanks to Ellen McDonnell who commented below about Reading Ruler. It’s a great tool.

Split Screen allows users to view two websites side-by-side in the same browser:

Split Screen - Cropped (1)


Too many tabs open at one time? Just use OneTab to condense them into links on one website. Teachers can use it to make a list of sites for students to visit. No more clutter and users still have access to sites they want in one click:

OneTab - Cropped

Read and Write for Google

Read and Write for Google gives users a highlighter with four different color options.

Read and Write for Google Highlighter - Cropped (1)

It also converts highlights words as it converts on-screen text to speech!

Read and Write for Google - Cropped (1)

Update 6/10/16:

Voice Actions for Google Chrome

This extension just came to my attention. I think it has great potential for students with disabilities. Watch me play with it:

I hope these extensions are useful for you and your students. If you have any questions or want to discuss further, please leave a comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom. The animated gif screen captures in this post were made with two more Google Chrome extensions, Screencastify (which I absolutely love) and SnagIt. Thank you for reading!







  1. What I like to use is Readability with Reading Ruler for some students with special needs. I agree we need to be careful how many extensions we have – they will really slow you down!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen, thank you! This should be re-named 9 Google Chrome Extensions! I played with Reading Ruler today and liked it. I will incorporate it when presenting about this topic at conferences.


  2. Wonderful! Do you have any suggestions for a good speech to text for my students who have oral administration of tests? We now have the Chromebooks and I would love for my students to remain in class to take their tests and have the test read to them electronically.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s