Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Two Great K Literacy Apps!

     I don't profess to be a great technology person or be "in the know" about the best apps, but I do let my kindergarten intervention groups occasionally use the IPads on Fridays for a special treat. The apps they use MUST be educational and linked to literacy. Since so many of them are still learning their letters and sounds, I want them to be using apps that are helping them with this skill. I have found apps in the past that match capital letters to lowercase or apps that tell students which letters to touch or drag. My students will appear to like them  . . .for about five minutes and then ask, "Can I play something else?"
    I have recently found a couple they will play over and over again however, never getting bored. The all time favorite this year is, without a doubt - AVOKIDDO ABC RIDE !! This is an app that teaches students letter recognition and is extremely engaging and very well done. When my students are given a choice of four or five apps, they choose this one again and again.  They begin by choosing either a boy or a girl to put on a bicycle,which they can then ride down a path to each letter. At each stop, they must complete an activity to get the letter to appear. For instance, at "A", they must move their avatar boy or girl to catch the apricots in a basket as they fall from the tree. When all of them have been caught the word "apricot" appears at the top of the screen. The colored letters of the word "apricot" will drop to the bottom of the screen, out of order, leaving behind the shadow of the word, spelled correctly. The student will then drag the letters back up to the top to spell the word correctly again. What I really like is that as the student touches the letters, the letter names are spoken aloud for reinforcement.You are also able to adjust the settings for upper or lowercase letters as well as letter names or letter sounds. Each letter presents the student with a different activity for them to complete and they are all so much fun and funny! For example, for the letter "i" they must use a hair dryer (complete with sound effects!) to blow dry an igloo until it melts enough to reveal the letter Ii! They must use a sponge to clean a dirty pig and a hose to wash the bubbles off! How cool is that? Each letter is just as much fun as the next but is also always followed up with the word to hear and spell. 
Cost: $2.99
The next app that my students really love is LETTER SCHOOL. This app helps students with letter recognition as well as proper letter formation - again in a wonderfully fun and engaging way. First a picture that begins with the letter selected appears and is spoken, along with its sound as well. Then the letter, either capital or lowercase (you can make this determination) appears with three "buttons" at the bottom of the screen. When you tap on the first button - dots appear that the student taps, which will show them the correct formation - but with really fun things, like beads, a rocket ship or a chain, complete with motion. The second button also has dots but the student must draw with his/her fingers to get the actions to happen, which are different from the first ones. The kids love the one that has grass which is then mowed! Finally the student gets only the dots and must try to trace the letter from memory. However if they fail to do it after several tries, a yellow dotted line appears to help them. Again, this is an app that they will play over and over again, fascinated by the motion and movement of the letter formations. It can also switch to numerals. 
Cost: $4.99
I hope your students enjoy these as much as mine do!