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Top Ten Apps for Speech, Language, and Literacy

Article Written by: Victoria Mannella- Gupta

What apps can my child use to promote speech, language, or literacy development?

In recent posts we have discussed putting away the ipads, phones, and toys with bright lights and sounds. However, there are some apps you can use while engaging with you child that are beneficial. Remember, this does not mean setting up the app for your child and then walking away. We know life can busy, but in order to make these apps even more beneficial interaction between you and your child is key.

1. Babbly: Baby Speech Tracking (Free for a limited time)

We can’t say enough good things about this app! This app helps you record and analyze your baby’s speech and language development.

· What can this app be used for?

o Early communication skills

o Early social skills such as turn-taking

o Early literacy skills

· Why do we like it?

o You can upload a video or record your baby’s voice directly and receive a breakdown of their speech skills.

o Personalized activities

o Week by week guidance on what is typical for your child’s age. This is beneficial for knowing whether you should seek a professional’s advice on your child’s development.

2. First Phrases ($21.99 CDN)

· What can this app be used for?

o Practicing two- and three-word phrases with visual support

o Expressive (speaking) and receptive (understanding) language

o Vocabulary development

· Why do we like it?

o The layout is simple! There are no other distractions on the screen.

o Your child can say record themselves saying the phrase

o Your child can practice sliding the parts of the phrases in order for a challenge

3. Bag Game ($2.79 CDN)

This app can be played similar to the game “20 questions”.

· What can this app be used for?

o Learning to ask questions (Is it an object? What does it do? Where do I find it?)

o Learning to put items in categories (divergent naming such as listing animals or convergent naming, knowing that a dog is an animal).

o Developing expressive and receptive language

o Deductive reasoning skills (knowing the item is a type of transportation, that flies in the sky and can take a lot of passengers must be a plane)

· Why do we like it?

o This app is inexpensive, yet it targets so many things!

o It’s easy to play anywhere, such as waiting in the doctor’s office or going for a walk

o There are options to hide an image, photo, or drawing in the bag as well

4. iSequences ($3.99)

This app contains 100 different picture from everyday situations

· What can this app be used for?

o Sequencing by putting pictures in the correct order for everyday tasks such the steps to brushing your teeth.

o Inferencing, based on the sequence, what will happen next. There are 100 exercises that introduce a scenario, and your child will have to guess what happens next.

o Learning about feelings through 60 exercises that display social situations. Ask your child how he or she thinks the character might feel.

· Why do we like it?

o The illustrations are engaging yet not overly distracting.

o Introduces children to emotions.

5. My PlayHome (Free or paid versions)

This app is essentially a digital doll house that is always a favourite among children!

· What can this app be used for?

o Higher level language such as sentence development when your child tells you what the dolls are doing

o Pronouns (He, She, They, His, Her, Their etc.)

o Pretend Play (Building your child’s imagination and language through pretending)

o Sequencing (Completing tasks in the correct steps such as bath time)

o Following directions (Ask your child to complete steps in order such as “bring the girl to her room, put on her pajamas, then brush her teeth”)

· Why do we like it?

o It’s designed for a wide age range

o The options for working on language components are endless

6. Peekaboo Barn (Free and paid versions)

This app is a virtual barn where your child can guess which farm animal is hiding behind the barn doors based on the sound they make.

· What can this app be used for?

o Vocabulary (learning the names and sounds of the animals)

o Cause and effect (if I click the barn doors an animal will appear)

o Predicting (guessing the animal based on the sound)

o Early Literacy (the name of each animal is written below the picture)

· Why do we like it?

o Fun sounds and engaging animations

o Including the animal names for early literacy is an added bonus

7. Endless Alphabet ($11.99 CDN)

This app will help your child learn their ABC’s and build vocabulary. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Don’t forget to continue using the new vocabulary at home in conversation to promote carryover!

· What can this app be used for?

o Early literacy

o Vocabulary development

· Why do we like it?

o This app is engaging and teaches children new vocabulary in an interactive way.

8. Articulation Station Pro ($84.99 CDN for all the sounds; however, you have the option to purchase each sound individually)

Yes, this app is an expensive one, however it is totally worth it! This is definitely a staple in our speech toolbox. This app was created by speech-language pathologists to help your child learn to speak and pronounce sounds. Each of the 22 sound programs target sounds in the initial, medial and final positions of words, sentences and stories.

There are quick tips for teaching each sound and you can add your own images if you’d like! There are flashcards, matching games, rotating phrases/sentences game, unique phrases, and stories with multiple target words, pictures and comprehension questions.

· What can this app be used for?

o Learning new sounds

o Improving articulation

o Vocabulary

· Why do we like it?

o There are 22 sound programs

o You can record your child speaking

9. You Tell Me Stories (Free)

An app that contains several fun stories to read together to promote language development.

· What can this app be used for?

o Sequencing (putting the story in order)

o Story-retell

o Predicting (what do you think will happen next?)

o Inferencing (using evidence from the story to make a conclusion).

· Why do we like it?

o Your child can listen, read, or retell/record/share the story by putting pictures in order from the story.

o You can record your child telling the story, then listen to it back for cohesion.

10. Fun with Directions ($1.39 CDN)

· What can this app be used for?

o Following and/or reading Directions

o Developing auditory processing skills (what our brain does with what we hear)

o Auditory memory

o Spatial concepts

o Colours

· Why do we like it?

o Children can practice both following auditory directions or reading directions

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