Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Apps for Literacy

I love teaching literacy. I have a few apps that I could not say enough about and they are all I really use.  I am going to recommend apps for fluency, sight words, comprehension, and spelling. A few good apps are much more important than a lot of free ones. A few of these cost money but they give me great data and seem to truly support practice and and learning of the skills they cover. 

FluencyK12 Timed Reading Practice By K12 Inc.

This App is a great app to practice reading fluency for learners who are reading at k-4th grade reading levels. It costs $1.99 In the settings you can add multiple students and choose their starting reading level. Once chosen, the child or teacher clicks on his or her name and begins reading a short story. The timer is set, and on the last page the child clicks done to mark the end of the reading. Finally the following screen is shown giving you the wpm of the students reading. Data can be saved on the reader within the app.

Sight Words: Sight Words by Photo Touch by Grasshopperapps.com

     This App is perfect for sight word discrete trials and free! It has a simple and clean format, and it is highly customizable. You can choose which word group library to work on from preschool to third grade or even be working on multiple grade word lists. There is a feature where you can select a maximum and/or minimum of word choices will be displayed. You can even go into a word list and turn on/off selected words. Further, you can change the audio of the word to your own voice. In SpEd, I spend so much time working on sight words. This makes it so easy to customize a quick trial without writing out endless light words on flashcards. Not to mention the electronic format is highly motivating to my kiddos 😉

       This is my favorite app so far. I love working on question answering! Unfortunately you can only collect data on one student at a time and the data does not build over time. That being said, I love that you can target one specific wh/how question or a random selection. There are three levels of questioning. All levels have a question and a picture to examine in order to answer. In level one, you can select from 3 answers. By level 3, you are selecting from 5 answers. You need to listen to the question carefully in order to pick the best answer. You can select color code, text, and/or audio reinforcement. My kids crack up at the graphics when the get an answer correct.  This is a pricey app at $5.99 but I would say it is well worth the price. If you look at the final image you can even see the students stats on specific questions. Great data collection!

Spelling: Rocket Speller By Little Big Thinkers

My kids love practicing spelling. This app looks more like a game then it does a learning task and it means that it is favored by my kiddos. They love the space theme and its totally free. There is an alien who does all the audio reinforcement, what a hoot! There are 5 levels in this app:

1: 3-6 letter words. Place letters in any order. Audible and visual hints.

2: 3-10 letter words. Order required. Audible and visual hints.
3: 3-4 letter words. Order required. Audible hints. Adaptive assistance.
4: 5-6 letter words. Correct order required. Adaptive assistance only.
5: 7-10 letter words. Correct order required. Adaptive assistance only.

The visual hints means that you drag the letter to its spot by matching. There is also a picture of each word as it is requested.Adaptive assistance is smart technology that recognizes when a player is struggling and provides audible hints. It is a fun and simple spelling app for kids, and they are now offering a "Plus" app for 2.99 that includes phonics and sight words. As you go you earn parts to a rocket ship and once its built (I think after 12 words?) the student plays a mini-game by steering it through space to collect stars. Pretty awesome. 

Well I love literacy so much that tomorrow, during Apps for Math, I am going to share an app that has both literacy AND math. I know I love the apps I've shared so far. But I will say this is my ultimate favorite of all the apps I am going to share. So don't forget to come back for more!

My Best,


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