5 Best Apps for Building Language and Speech
How do you find apps for your kids that are not only fun, but provide the necessary tools to build language and speech skills? The first years of a child’s life are the most important part of developing speech, language and cognitive skills. It’s important for parents to create activities to help develop these language skills by providing stimulation and creating opportunities to foster these developing language skills. Downloadable apps are an excellent way to build language skills and engage your child. And, apps make a great Christmas gift!
There are many terrific speech and language building apps that can help children develop communication skills at any age or ability. This Holiday season, as you finalize your shopping, we’ve tried to help you by narrowing down a list to five of our favorite language building apps targeted at a wide range of age groups. There are apps to teach pre-school age kids some basic speech skills, apps to assist older children with vocabulary and additionally, apps that may be beneficial for individuals with limited language and communication skills. Before you download, wrap and put your new tablet under the tree, we encourage you to take a more in-depth look at each website for detailed information and operating system specifics.
We are always looking for apps that help improve speech and language skills, do you have some favorites you would share?
Our Favorite Five:
Peek-a-Zoo by Duck Duck Moose
Concepts: letter and word recognition, reading, vocabulary
Grade Levels: Pre-K – K
Peek-a-Zoo is a questions-based app that, among other things, helps link sound and visual cues with vocabulary. Who is yelling? Who is sad? Students view animals smiling, crying, winking, waving, barking, eating, and more. They see animals standing backwards and upside down. Peek-a-Zoo also gently encourages young students to analyze the animals for clues to answer questions and come to conclusions. For example, “Who is Linus the Lion?” requires kids to make the cognitive jump from seeing a lion on the screen with no name attached and noticing there’s no other lion on the screen. Even if they don’t recall the lion’s name from the intro, kids can surmise that this lion’s name must be Linus, and then tap the lion to answer. Through the questions, kids are encouraged to identify emotions, label feelings, and take note of specific actions. The questions on Peek-a-Zoo are written as well as spoken, which helps pre- and emerging reader.
Concepts: phonics, listening, word recognition, solving puzzles
Grade Levels: PreK -K
Starfall ABCs is a solid early-learning app with a thorough approach to presenting the alphabet to preschoolers. Kids hear the sounds of each letter repeated often and can both hear and see how each letter is used in words. It’s an attractive, colorful, and in-depth introduction to the alphabet.
Concepts: vocabulary, speaking, writing clearly
Grade Levels: 7-12
WordWit is a vocabulary app that helps users differentiate between tricky pairs of words. Students spin the wheel to land on a commonly confused word pair, such as guerrilla/gorilla, cite/site, or revenge/avenge. They can read the definition of the word and how it differs from its “evil twin,” and read an entertaining example sentence using the word. The same format is offered for each word in the pair, and then kids choose the correct twin of the word pair to complete sentences. Once they’ve completed five sentences correctly, they’ve mastered the word.
Price: Free to start but extra content packs range from $2.99 to $5.99 each, or $49.99 for the Pro multi-pack.
Concepts: speaking, self-awareness, word recognition
Grade Levels: K-2
Articulation Station is an English language articulation and pronunciation tool designed to help kids learn and practice letter sounds and word pronunciation. With 22 letter sounds, kids can practice more than 1,000 target words. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, the app lets kids play with letter sounds via three options: word games, sentences, and stories. Through these activities, students can learn correct pronunciation, letter and word recognition, as well as some built-in sentence structure. Articulation Station provides kids with the opportunity to record and listen to their own voices as they pronounce the letters and words in conjunction with a narrator who speaks them. As a result, students can gain self-awareness and identify their own pronunciation strengths and weaknesses. There are two activities to choose from in the words section (flashcards or matching) and different levels within activities. You can tailor activities to initial, medial, or final letter sounds.
Concepts: letter recognition, speaking, vocabulary
Proloquo2Go is an app designed to help provide a voice to individuals who are unable to speak. It uses an adaptable, multi-size grid format to present images and words on “buttons.” Buttons represent different groups of items, actions, “little words,” and more. Users can choose from single words or combine words to make detailed sentences with which to express their wants, needs or emotions. Choose from 14,000 SymbolStix™ symbols or use photos to customize the buttons. Proloquo2Go is designed to help kids grow in communication as well as emotional identification, resulting in reduced frustration in the classroom, improved social interaction between students and with adults, and help many speech-limited students increase social and academic skills.