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Special Sentences User Guide - Settings

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Special Sentences has a number of configurable settings: it is important to make use of these so you can adapt the app to match your child's ability and inclination.

Access the Settings

To find the settings, tap the Actions button at the top left in the main view, and then tap the Settings button. Using the Actions button also provides access to managing collections and the word list, and exporting and importing data: these additional facilities are explained in Chapter 9.

Note: When you tap the Actions button, you will have to open the Child Safety Gate in order to proceed. This is explained in more detail below.

Special Sentences - settings

Animation Speed

  • Animation Speed

    Slide to the left to slow down the pace of all activities, or to the right to speed them up.

Using Sound

  • Voice

    For spoken audio, the app will normally search for a real human recording of a word or sentence, either built into the app or recorded by you. In cases where this is not found, it falls back on using a simulated (text-to-speech) voice provided by the device. You can modify this behaviour by changing this option from its default Real or Simulated, to any of Real (making it silent where a real recording is not found), Simulated (making it ignore all recordings and use a simulated voice for all words and sentences), or None (no word or sentence sound is ever played).

    If this option is set to None, then the next four sound settings are all ignored. Refer to our FAQs for further information about sound, including text-to-speech.

  • Before Starting

    When this is ON, the sentence in the activity is spoken when it appears. This can help children who are just starting to use the activities, or who are struggling with sentence building. Once skills have developed, you may want to turn it OFF: otherwise the sound may provide too much help, so you're not testing your child's visual recognition of words and sentence building at all.

  • After Match

    Turn this OFF if you don't want the sentence spoken after it is matched.

  • When Tap Card

    By default this is ON, which plays the audio for the word when you tap a card to match.

  • When Tap Picture

    By default this is ON, which plays the audio for the whole sentence when you tap the picture.


  • Theme

By default, Default is selected and will use the theme of your device, be that light or dark mode. If you would like to only change the appearance of Special Spelling Plus, but keep the rest of your device the same, you can choose between Light or Dark in this setting. Tap which one you would like to use then Settings, and the app will use the new theme.

  • Language

Default will automatically be selected within the app and will use the language your device is set to use. To switch between languages in Special Spelling Plus, select the language you would like to use then tap Settings and the app's interface will change to use your desired language. Alternatively, to change the language for all apps, set a different language in your device's settings.

  • Font

    You can change the font used to display the text in the activities. By default, the Special Letters font from Special iApps is used. The app also includes the OpenDyslexic font, designed to increase readability for users with dyslexia, and you can select these here, or any other fonts provided by the device.

  • Letter Case

    By default this is set to Unmodified, meaning that letters in a word are displayed in upper or lowercase to match their cases in the original sentence. Alternatively, you can choose from All Uppercase, All Lowercase, Sentence Case, or Title Case, depending on your learning methodology. With sentence case, the first letter of the first word is automatically uppercased and the remaining letters of all words are lowercased "Like this." With title case the first letter of each word is uppercased, and the other letters lowercased "Like This".

Other Options

  • Reward

    By default, after each page of cards is matched, the cards wiggle back and forward and an applause sound is played, as a reward for completing the sentence. Turn OFF if you want to disable rewards, or select only Animation or Sound if you prefer.

  • Text Hint

    This allows you to choose if and when text is displayed in the sentence to match. It has no effect on the individual word cards. Choices are Always Hint (the sentence to complete is always shown, in blue), Flashed Hint (the sentence is shown briefly and then hidden, and this can be repeated by tapping the picture), or None (no visual hints are shown). The default is always.

  • Place Cards In Order

    If this setting is ON, you have to place the cards one after another in sentence order. If OFF (default) you can place them in any order, as long as you put each one in the correct position.

  • Enable Editing

    Turn this OFF to prevent accidental changes to any topics, especially if you have left your child to use the app on their own. This then disables editing and rearranging existing topics and sentences, and adding new ones. It also prevents the Word List from being modified, and disables most of the facilities in the Actions view.

  • Tap Arrow To Move On

    Having successfully matched a sentence, a blue arrow normally appears, and you need to tap it to proceed to the next sentence in the topic. Turn OFF to instead move on automatically without showing the arrow. Note that you can always select a different sentence in the current topic from within the activity by tapping the sentence number at the top of the screen and selecting from the list that then appears.

  • Child Safety Gate

The child safety gate (also sometimes called a parental gate, parental lock or parental control) is designed to protect children against navigating out of the app and visiting websites with unsuitable content, etc.

Whenever you tap the Actions button in the Word List, you are required to enter the answer to a calculation to continue, for example:

9 - 3 + 4 =

In this case, the answer would be 10.

This feature can be turned OFF here.

Note: The gate cannot prevent the child from leaving the app by pressing the device's home button and then opening another app. To lock the user temporarily into any app on iOS devices, we recommend making use of Apple's built-in Guided Access facility.


When first using Special Sentences Plus on a particular device you will be asked for the email address and product key associated with your Special iApps Membership. By doing this, you effectively login to the app. You will not need to do this again unless you don't use the app for a long time (typically 30 days), in which case you may be automatically logged out. Depending on your individual product licence, you may be entitled to use the app on more than one device, with the same product key. The maximum number of devices is referred to as your quota, and you can only be logged in on up to this number of devices.

You can use the Logout button on the Actions page to log out of a particular device. This will not delete your content from the app on that device, but you will not be able to access it until you login again.


Tapping the Reset button on the Actions page will present you with three options Reset Settings, Flush Cache and Erase Contents and Settings.

  • Reset Settings: this option can be particularly useful when working with multiple children as you can tap Reset Settings to quickly return the app to its default settings. All the app's settings will revert to their default values. This will not delete any content from the app, or log you out.
  • Flush Cache: the app caches images and pages to maximise performance. In rare cases, the cached copies may become out of date, in which case flushing the cache will resolve any issues. This will not affect your content. Please note: this is different from flushing your Internet browser's cache - doing that may in some cases delete your content from the app, and so we recommend avoiding this.​
  • Erase Contents and Settings: this will undo all changes you have made to Special Sentences Plus since you installed it on the device, and delete all your content. This also restores the app's settings to their default values. If you have added additional collections, topics or words, they are all removed. You cannot undo this once you've done it.

After confirming that you wish to erase contents and settings, you have to reconfirm by typing the word “Reset” into the box that appears. This is to reduce the chances of a child resetting the app unintentionally. To further prevent accidental use of the Reset button, turn the Editing option off in the Settings, as described above.

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