Wednesday, September 04, 2013

25 iPad apps (set #3) for children with special needs: developmental level K-1

SET #3, apps 13-17

Here are 25 teaching apps and 19 story book apps that I've installed for my 7 yr old daughter with Down syndrome and my 4 yr old typically developing daughter.

View Set #1 (and my criteria for "keeping" an app for my kids!) HERE:
Set #2

13. Counting and Addition! Math educational games (Addition!)
by Tribal Nova
(iPhone and iPad)  To find similar apps, search "iLearn with"
This is one of the apps which bypasses some of my general 'rules', but I still like it :).  You can add up to 6 with this free app, which is a great place to start.  The two bowlers both knock down pins, then you add up all the pins that are knocked down.  You choose the number that tells how many were knocked down.  When pins are knocked down, you touch them and they 'jump' together and say the number, counting up (one, two).  Then you choose the number they represent.  This keeps the kids playing because they enjoy the bowling animation.

The intro screen has two additional games- adding up to 10 and to 15.  The "Add up to 6" is flashing to get the kids to press that one, and there are I have in-app purchases turned off on our iPad, so this opens another screen, but then can't go anywhere and has a big "X" in the corner to get back to the game.  It's not too bad, and again, the game itself is fun, so worth it there.  

There are multiple profiles, and it keeps track of how far each child has progressed through each of the 3 levels of each game (up to 6 has 3 levels).  It also reports the success rate at each level and (based on the child's age given) it shows what the average is for other kids in their age group. 

14.  Jumbled Sentences 1 (JumbledSent1)
by Innovative Net Learning Limited
(iPhone and iPad)  To find similar apps, search "jumbled sentences"
This is one of SEVEN (Jumbled sentences 1-7) FREE sentence builders.  The simple make eventually times out (disappointing), but it starts with 4-word sentences, with a capital letter.  The idea is to put them together on the bottom of the screen so the sentence makes sense.  You click the 'ok' button to check it and any correct placements stay down, whereas the wrong words go back up.  Trial and error will eventually work, but this is a great way to teach full sentences especially for a child that has speech delays and may 'miss' the supporting words.

You can use the "hint" option to have part of the sentence correctly placed at the bottom, which is very helpful for beginning learners as well.  This is a well made and basic game, with a fun center graphic and easy play.  What it is teaching is valuable for many children that sentence structure may not come naturally for, and each word is spoken as you touch it.  The timer starts at 3 minutes for each game round.  Though there are 7 versions of this game, and I believe they may increase in difficulty, we've left only Jumbled Sentences 1 installed simply because we didn't want to have so many of the same or similar app installed when they really are all serving the same purpose.  Again, I believe that they do increase in difficulty but I'm not sure if that is the difference between the 7 apps or whether there is more :).

15.  Nonfiction Reading for Kindergarten and First grade (K1 NonFiction)
by Emmy Chen(iPhone and iPad)  
This app also breaks some of my rules, but for the function that it is made for, it's ok to break them!  This is NOT a self-led app for most kindergarten and first graders unless they have a high independent reading level.  There is a long paragraph (or thereabouts) of information, then a set of 8-10 questions about that topic.   You swipe to get between questions, and a smiley face with a thumbs up or down 'corrects' each question as you go.  A child could independently get all of the questions correct and then hit 'submit' without being able to read or understand any of the information given because of the direct response given by the smiley.  THIS IS NOT INDEPENDENT for this reason :).

This is a great tool for checking whether the child is understanding what is being read, and also for teaching to answer basic questions.  So many kids with learning disabilities and other various special needs have difficulty answering specific questions that are direct.  This is a great practice, and there are many different engaging topics available (20).

16.  Word Wonderland (Wd Wndrlnd P)
by McGraw-Hill(iPhone and iPad)  For more like this, search for McGraw-Hill, but be aware that this company makes a LOT of apps in MANY levels!
$1.99 (I wasn't aware until researching for this post that there is a free "Lite" version as well)
FREE Lite version:
This is another that has a bit of a learning curve, but the skills that are taught are worthwhile to work on!  There is a Practice Skills section (shown in images above) with multiple vowel sounds to choose from, and the games are trying to get from the start to the finish.  Where a vowel sound is written and the lily pad is missing, the child must find a word (below) that goes there.
When in the easy settings on practice, you can choose to specifically practice short i, or short o, for instance, and then choose the words from below that have that sound.  Using the arrows across the bottom, you can get additional words as well.  After an initial 'teaching' time to explain what's supposed to happen, our kids were able to navigate it with minimal assistance.  In general in the game modes, with their level of learning right now, this is an excellent "led practice" game, and eventually would become a game to play on their own.  It doesn't necessarily help teach the concepts without parent-led learning, but it definitely is a fun way to LEAD that learning with your child!  This is an engaging game that has several different parts to it which our  kids have been enjoying.

This has a fun treasure map style play but all the 'levels' appear to be the same layout when you get in them :).  There are other fun little surprises along the way, collecting stars in the worlds which adds a challenge if a child desires to, but doesn't take away from the game by not doing those parts.  Overall, a good teaching game with multiple difficulty levels, practice on specific sounds, and 'game' play that includes multiple sounds together.

17.  The Word Monsters (WordMonsters)
by McGraw-Hill(iPhone and iPad)  

Though I'm not a big fan of those with in-app purchases, my kids have really enjoyed the one FREE book, and it may be worth additional purchases in the future.   This is somewhere between storybook and activity, but like the Bob Books, this has so many activities that go with it that it's more of an activity than just a book.  The story is read with decodable reading, and highlights as it goes.  Then there are comprehension questions (about the story characters) at the end.  It also has a matching set, which has an AUDIBLE sound "are" and a written word that you have to find the two that match.  GREAT game for sight word teaching, and for listening to the entire word.  There are phonics activities as well. 

There are enough 'included' items in this that even though it is a 'purchase more' type of app, there is plenty of fun in this free starter version, and it may be worth it to purchase additional parts in the future if the kids really enjoy it.  Let's admit it... the cute little monsters that wiggle, and talk, and throw out weird noises, and do fun stuff while the kids are "reading" and "learning"... well, that's worth a free app even if it's just a small piece of a greater whole. :)

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