Educational, vocabulary practice in games the kids like
What we’d love to see…
The read through option improved in drag n match and matching games
Fun way to learn vocabulary with many options for play and great data collection
Super Duper Core Curriculum – PreK – K Pro from Super Duper Publications Inc. This app was created a company well known to speech and language pathologists: Super Duper Publications Inc. Sharon and Thomas Webber founded Super Duper® Publications in 1986 with two products and two types of stickers. The Core Curriculum series currently has levels from PreK-k to third grade. This app offers four sets of 25 vocabulary words (math, science, social studies and language arts) that target the can be targeted separately or in any combination. The company also offers the social studies deck for free to try the app and decide whether or not to purchase the full app. This app has four games. In secret decoder the student reads or listens to the prompt and answers, chooses their answer and then slides the decoder over to check their answer. This activity is based off of their secret decoder series and is one of the kids favorite activities. The multiple choice game offers two ways to play with one word and three definitions or one definition and three words. The matching game has red cards and blue cards and the student needs to pick one of each to match up words to definitions. Then the student needs to choose match or do not match based upon the cards they chose. In the drag n match game students drag the vocabulary and definition cards together.
I love the game settings options in this version! You can choose: auto advance students and/or cards, auto read, require full read through, feedback for correct or incorrect answers, sound effects on or off, open ended answers (score yourself), and easy mode will leave all cards flipped over during play. he Drag n match game and matching game also offers the picture on or off for the word and or the definition. he data collection is great. he app keeps track of what vocabulary was answered correctly and incorrectly as well as the answers chosen and can be printed or shared with family through email.
The read through option works great on the secret decoder and the multiple choice games. I n the other two games students can choose their answers without listening to the choices and answers and move on without hearing the answers so they can finish the game while guessing and not hearing the correct choices. Would like to see the app read the correct choices before the student can move to the next match.
The Data Tracking section also is very helpful as it allows tracking for any number of students, making it perfect for schools as well as viewing how a student has progressed over time. This app can either be used in a traditional school based setting or at home with your child/ren to work on specific tasks related to speech therapy and can show a therapist as well as a parent progress over time.
The “Pro” version of this app is suited for educational settings and a “lite” version of the app with in-app purchases is available for schools or parents. Since the “Pro” version is currently 50% off I’d suggest getting that rather than having to purchase each set of cards separately.
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Suzanne is married with one fantastic 12 year old daughter. Suzanne is a school speech language pathologist in the public schools and enjoys her job tremendously. She and her family have recently moved from North Dakota to Texas and are enjoying the wonderful climate change this move has provided. Suzanne has always been the power user of new electronics in her schools and loves to teach others what she has learned. She shares her knowledge of appropriate apps with coworkers and families.
AWESOME progressive fine motor work with catchy tunes and sound effects
What we’d love to see…
the ability to turn off external links
A catchy little fine motor app designed for little fingers, Dexteria Jr. promotes handwriting readiness, keeping little ones engaged and attentive so they don’t even realize they are working on handwriting skills
Dexteria Jr. by Binary Labs is an iOS app that works on a multitude of fine motor control skills as well as bilateral coordination, eye tracking, and attention. The developers claim that short practice sessions several times a week will enhance fine motor development – and with the enticing music, sound, and visuals, it’ll be easy to get those practice sessions in, and probably many more.
Dexteria Jr. consists of three relatively simple but engaging games. Each game has an overview description listing the fine motor skills addressed as well as the basic goal of each game. Verbal directions with clear descriptions of required movements are provided at the start of each game, with reminders as needed throughout each game (as movement patterns are changed or as a user struggles to complete the desired movement). The app features automatic reporting and tracking to identify time on task and progress for each game (includes level, % accuracy, and time), with the option to email reports. The developers state that multi-user versions are available as an in-app purchase; however, we weren’t able to find that link within the app. Other features include the ability to turn music and sound on/off, clear best times, and resume on previous level or start back at level 1. It would be nice to see a menu option with the ability to choose between different levels (e.g., having left off at level 5, it would be nice to have a warm up at level 3 & 4 and then lead back into level 5).
The first game, Squish the Squash, works on fine motor control, finger isolation, and finger strength. Users tap all squash as fast as they can. The game offers 15 levels requiring one tap, two taps, three taps, or a combination of all three. Squash move about the screen requiring users to visually track and project hand movements. Multiple taps also have a slight delay feature, requiring users to focus in on the timing of each subsequent tap vs being able to arbitrarily tap at the screen.
The next game, Trace & Erase, focuses on pre-writing practice via the development of finger control, wrist flexion, hand coordination, and perceptual abilities. It involves tracing along a path from start to finish and then erasing the completed lines. Our testers loved erasing their lines and then seeing a fun, sometimes distorted, picture of themselves. The game offers 29 different levels with pathways starting out as simple vertical, horizontal, right, or left angle lines, progressing to disconnected/connected angles, curves, and boxed pathways. The last several levels offer a combination of pathways, longer and longer pathways, as well as various shape pathways. Immediate audio and visual feedback is given when lines stray off the pathway. But, we found that with the initial line, users can progress to the next design even if they go totally off the path as long as the end point is touched. It would be nice to see the same “restart from the error” feature that you get during the “erasing” portion. Of the three available games, Trace & Erase was probably the easiest to lose focus on. It’s also the only game that does not offer a background music feature.
The final game, Pinch the Pepper, encourages fine motor manipulation needed for picking up objects and holding items. Users are instructed to use their thumb and pointer finger to pinch all peppers as quickly as they can. The number of peppers as well as the speed of each pepper increases throughout the 10 different levels. Some peppers require double taps as well, encouraging added attention/focus vs arbitrary pinches at the screen.
Binary Labs developers state that the Dexteria Jr. was created for smaller hands and younger minds, recommending it for children 2-5 years of age. But, we found our older testers (ages 7-9 years) and even ourselves engrossed in the games . After a short while, we felt our writing muscles start to tire out – something not found with typical tap and drag apps.
"Marica is a married mother of three girls (ages 3, 7, and 9). She works as a school based occupational therapist in Northwest Ohio servicing children with unique needs from ages 3 -22. In her free time ☺ she enjoys learning and exploring with her loving family.
Articulate It! is part of the range of Speech therapy apps from Smarty Ears, a company founded by Speech Language Pathologist Barbara Fernandes. It is a universal app and was reviewed on the iPad 2.
The app includes a video tutorial, which is worth watching to get an overview of how the app works and the various settings. You start by choosing the student or students you are working with (multiple students can take turns during one session). You can choose your target words by phoneme, phonological process or manner or articulation or you can repeat the previous sessions. Once you have chosen e.g. phonemes and “s” – you have the option of working on initial, medial or final position (or any combination). Then you will get a list of possible target words- you can choose to work on all of these or just specific ones. A useful option when working on a small number of target words is that you can deselect all and individually pick the ones you want (this was a feature on my wish list and was just added in the last update). It contains all phonemes of the English language.
When working on the target word you can just see the picture, or the picture with the written word, or you can see and hear it. You can mark whether or not the child said it correctly, and attach notes. You also have the option to record the child and play it back – which my children love to do. A new feature just added is that you can choose to work on words or phrases, and even switch back and forth between them. This is useful as you can start by working at the word level and then progress to phrases.
The app has over 1,200 pictures- a mixture of photos and “smarty symbols”. I like having the real photos when possible, but the symbols are a nice addition allowing you to visualize words that are hard to photograph e.g. sneeze. It collects data from the child’s performance and you can save or email this, and recordings can also be emailed. This is useful to monitor progress over time.
This is a well made, comprehensive articulation app, but I could make any changes to the app it would be these 1) include more simple words e.g. in S-blends snowmobile is included but snow isn’t. 2) Include some sort of positive reinforcement e.g. a game or stickers, after certain amount of practice to help keep the student interested.
Overall, I think this is a very useful tool for SLP’s and it does a great job of collecting performance data. As a mum of 3 children with speech issues I also find it very useful for home speech therapy practice. My children definitely enjoy doing speech homework more on the iPad, and the recording feature is fun and good feedback for them, but also allows me to share how they are doing with their SLP.
I think this is an excellent articulation app, and I particularly like the fact the developer keeps updating and refining it in response to feedback from users. I would highly recommended it both to SLP’s and to parents of children receiving Speech Therapy.
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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
An easy to use and kid-friendly writing tool that really motivates children to write and read better.
What we’d love to see…
Optional edit lock, text highlighting.
Learning to read by writing is a brilliant idea that is both fun and effective. WriteReader is the perfect app to accomplish this.
If you are looking for an engaging way to accelerate your child’s reading abilities, then you should check out this app that has been developed to help children learn to read by writing photo stories, an approach that is backed by scientific research and field testing.
The WriteReader App looks like any other story making app in the App Store but it is designed to help children learn to write and read at the same time. It does the usual – allow the user to create a storybook, insert his own photos/screenshots/text/audio in it, edit it at will and later read or share it with others – but it puts the child in control of the content of the story, specifically the writing. It does that by including in the app, kid-friendly features that are easy for children (3-10 years old) to learn to use.
After the title page, you will see 2 separate text boxes on each page that you add – 1 for the child’s experimental writing and another for the adult writing. The child attempts to write a word or sentence to go with each picture/photo in the child writing box and then lets the adult (or an older sibling/friend) translate his writing to proper sentences with the correct spelling. Once done, the child can record himself reading the adult writing. He may even ask if he could correct his own writing. Whatever his reactions, he would be very keen to compare the 2 versions and in the process, learn to read and spell the words that he had attempted to write .
WriteReader further supports the young writer with a kid-friendly qwerty keyboard that gives him the option to see the letters in lower case just as he would see them in his writing. There is also an option to hear the name of the letters being typed. On this keyboard, the vowels are red while the consonants blue, making the search for them easy. My son quickly learnt to use both the consonants and vowels together as he listened to the sounds in each syllable/word.
This app does not have many fanciful extras. There are no stickers, font library, borders nor drawing tools (though you can use screenshots of your child’s drawings done in other apps) that may distract your child from the task of writing which is a good thing. What you get instead is more opportunities for your child to write when he adds interesting captions, speech and thought bubbles to the photos. You can choose the colors of these bubbles as well as the text within. In edit mode, you can delete and rearrange the individual pages, a feature that is sometimes missing in other apps. You can print (via AirPrint), email your story or share via Facebook in pdf. You also have the option to share only the child or adult writing or have both.
WriteReader is suitable for children of different abilities with the appropriate level of adult assistance. A younger child who has yet to learn the letter sounds can first record his thoughts using the app’s recording feature and then have the adult type out the adult text for the child to copy into the child box. Another child may prefer to have suggested key words or writing prompts given in the adult text box to help him get started while a more competent writer can type up to 4 lines of text on each page and leave out the adult writing.
The app now has an iPhone version, which is great since we take our photos with the handy iPhone most of the time. I hope to see further updates to include an optional edit lock and text highlighting which would be so helpful for younger children.
My 6 year old son has been very eager to make his own stories since he was shown how to use the app. He loves it that he could express his thoughts through writing (typing) without the stress of getting everything right. He still needs a lot of help with spelling and forming proper sentences but he is very motivated because the books are personal to him and he loves to read his stories over and over again. For me, it was great working with him on this app. He was attentive when I emphasized the speech sounds to help him form his words. This reinforces the phonic rules and sight words that he has learnt in a meaningful activity. The recording feature also helped him in his reading fluency and clarity. I really like this app and I foresee that we will be using WriteReader very often.
Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.
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