iPhone and iPad apps to Promote Reading and Language Development

The number of iPhone and iPad apps related to speech and language continues to grow every day! This can be both exciting and overwhelming, however. That’s where I come in. I’ve downloaded a bunch of different apps, and I’m here to let you know which ones are definitely worth looking into and why. I have also provided ways in which you can use the apps to target different skills.Child with iPad

Based on my experience, children are inherently motivated by devices like the iPad. While I absolutely love using my iPad, I always make sure that when I do use it in a session that I also include traditional therapy activities too. Below you will find apps that target reading readiness and literacy skills and language skills. I have used all of these in a number of my sessions and I think they would make a great addition to your iPad. I’ve included the prices as well; however, these are subject to change (every now and then there are some great sales).

Apps for Promoting Reading Readiness and Literacy Skills:

  1. The Monster at the end of This Book and Another Monster at the end of This Book: $3.99 This super fun and interactive book helps with spatial development and encourages good listening skills. The reader/listener has complete control over the book and thus enables him/her to make the appropriate decision of when to go on to the next page. The words are highlighted as they are read out loud which helps beginner readers learn that there is an association between letters and spoken words. It’s also great for working on different emotions!
  2. Dr. Seuss Books: $2.99 Works on rhyming skills.
  3. ABC Phonics Rhyming Bee: $2.99 Appropriate for preschoolers and kindergarteners. This app is great for children who are learning to recognize rhyming words and how to sort words by sound. You can pick from a number of different sounds (i.e. –ad, -ag, -ed, -ob).
  4. ABC Phonics Butterfly Long Vowels: $2.99 Appropriate for 1st and 2nd graders. Start off by choosing two long vowel sounds. Words are presented orthographically and auditorily. The child then learns the words by hearing the sound of the word. Then they match the word to the right vowel group. You can also hide the word.
  5. Dora hops into phonics: $3.99 This app facilitates learning to recognize that letters can be organized in a specific sequence to represent words. In the first level, children are asked to identify the picture that matches the given word. If the child can’t read the word, they can tap the letter to sound it out! Depending on the level he/she is in, they are asked to change the beginning, final or middle letters of the words to turn it into another word. Mini games are embedded within which provides great reinforcement! Manipulating sounds is an important skill to becoming a proficient reader.
  6. Dora’s rhyming word adventure: $3.99 In this app, Dora and Boots want to go over the Troll Bridge, but the Grumpy Old Troll challenges them. There are 4 different levels: rhymes, first sounds, last sounds and inside sounds and you can select a different level at any time. This app helps preschoolers to learn rhyming and letter sounds, which is important pre-reading skills.
  7. Rock ‘n Learn Phonics Easy Reader 1 Practice: $1.99 using the following phonics material: short vowel sounds, consonant-vowel-consonant combinations, words ending with ll, ss, ff, s, and plural s. 3 stories included.
  8. Step by story: 2.99 each 500 creative story combinations – children are able to build their own stories.
  9. Booksy:  Learn to read platform K-2; Free app (comes with 2 books) additional books are $0.99 eachLearn to Read Platform K-2 AWESOME APP! Designed for children between pre-kindergarten and second grade. The platform has a number of different features. You can choose to have the book read out loud or you can touch individual words. Your child can even record himself/herself! At the end of each book, there is a comprehension quiz. Another unique feature is called “Parental Dashboard.” This allows parents, or SLPs to see statistics related to the child’s progress. Stats include reading speed, quiz scores, words that are tapped and dates. There are also 3 different awards that can be given. If you want to buy additional books, you can do so within the app and you can preview every book there is!
  10. TJ’s Picture Dictionary: $0.99 A very easy to use picture dictionary. Using this dictionary can help build a child’s vocabulary and knowledge. The definitions are straightforward and the pictures are bright and colorful. Pictures enlarge when you click on them, as well as appropriate sound effects.
  11. Funny alphabet: $0.99 Helps with preschoolers’ ABCs! There’s a voiceover for every object on the page and some are even animated. When you touch the letter it says its name, not the sound. Includes a page of all of the letters and by clicking on a letter, it jumps to that page. Otherwise, it’s like a flipbook. This app is great for little ones who are learning to talk – use it to label early objects. For older kids, you can even use it took work on describing and other vocabulary skills!

Apps for Promoting Language Skills:

  1. More Fun with Directions: $9.99 This app focuses on 12 different concepts which include: up, down, in front, behind, put in, take out, above, below, turn on, turn off, on, under. You can select from 3 different levels (easy, intermediate and advanced) and you can choose whether or not to have direction written out for the child.  Features that I particularly like: option to “hear again,” change the concept when you want to, and turn the voice command on/off.
  2. House of Learning: $6.99 There are a variety of skills you can work on using this one app. You can use it to help children understand prepositions (i.e. in, on, over, under, next to, etc).” It is great for targeting 1, 2 or 3 step directions. I’ve found it particularly useful for kiddos who need to work on formulating stories as well answering wh- questions. This is definitely an app you can get creative with!
  3. Speech with Milo – Sequencing: $2.99 There are over 30 3-step picture sequences in this app! The pictures are presented in a random order and the child has to drag the picture to spot 1, 2 or 3. You can choose to have the text show (which I prefer to leave off). When the child has put the cards in the correct order, you can click “play” to watch an animated clip of the story. Use this app to work on sequencing, temporal concepts (first, second, last), sentence formulation, syntax and answering/asking wh- questions.
  4. Speech with Milo – Interactive story book:  $1.99 A very cute interactive story! Use it to target wh- questions, vocabulary skills, animal sounds, formulating sentences and grammar. You can record what the child says and play it back to them right then and there! If you prefer to have them listen to the story, there is both text and audio. The animations are great and very reinforcing.
  5. Splingo: $2.99 There are 4 different levels in this app.
    Level 1 – instructions contain 1 main word Examples include: 
    Which apple is dry?
    Put the spider next to the house
    Which tiger is running?
    Level 2 – instructions have 2 main words 
    Put the clock in the box
    Bring the clean tractor to the sheep
    Level 3 – 3 main words 
    Put the plate in front of the big castle
    Level 4 – 4 main words
    Put the girl’s little dustbin behind the school
    After completing a few directions, there’s a mini reinforcing game.
  6. Sentence builder: $5.99 Designed to help children learn how to build grammatically correct sentences. The child is asked to make a sentence about the picture. The child has to choose each part of the sentence from a few choices (i.e. subject, helping verb, verb, object). You can choose to have answer reinforcement and answer animations. In addition, there are 3 levels to choose from (i.e. 1, 2 and 3).

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