Tuesday, December 11, 2012

These are a Few of my Favorite Apps...,

This year became the year of the iPad for me! My husband surprised me with an iPad for my 40th birthday in March and I started experimenting with educational apps immediately. A couple months later, I began writing this blog, speech2me. By the summer, my blog was named one of the top Speech Language Blogs for 2012 by, Online Speech Pathology Programs, thus, making my blog much more visible to app developers. Over the last few months, I have been fortunate to review apps from Mobile Education Store, Tactus Therapy, and Smarty Ears. A little more than a week ago, Virtual Speech Center contacted me about reviewing their apps too! I have also enjoyed several free and discounted app offers by following the Facebook page, Smart Apps for Kids.

I decided to develop this list to guide other educators and caregivers towards the apps that I have found to be most beneficial, not only at home with my typically developing 7 year old, but also at work with the elementary students on my speech-language caseload. The ranking is in no particular order of preference and some of these were released this year, while others are a couple years old. Please use the comment section below to add any fabulous apps that I missed in my favorite list!

1. Conversation Builder Teen ($19.99) by Mobile Education Store
I can't say enough about this dynamic app that supports improving social skills for teenagers! I have been using it weekly with an 8th grader diagnosed with autism who especially needs practice identifying and responding to sarcasm. To say this app is a must have for anyone needing support with pragmatic skills would be a HUGE understatement!! (See my review for more details.)
Just as an aside, the original Conversation Builder is pretty awesome too! I have found it to be an invaluable tool for working on pragmatics, fluency, tone, speaking rate, and articulation with my young, elementary students!

2. Spelling Star (1.99) by Top Class Apps, LLC
This app saved me daily arguments with my son about practicing his weekly spelling list! Now, I type and record each word for the week, hand my son the iPad and he takes the quiz. Once he spells each word correct three times, the list is considered mastered. Needless to say, he has spelled every word correct for the last two months since we started using this app!

3. Tense Builder ($19.99) by Mobile Education Store
This is another, fantastic app by Kyle Tomson! It addresses every, possible verb tense in a bright, entertaining way that the first graders in my life really enjoy. Users watch a short cartoon video and then match the appropriate picture to the target sentence. (See my review for more details.)

4. Syntax City ($34.99) by Smarty Ears
Great app that targets a good variety of syntax in a fun, categorical way. Visit several different locations in the city and earn prizes by choosing the correct word to complete sentences. Motivating, educational, and fun for my young, elementary students. (See my review for more details.)

5. Felt Board ($2.99) by Software Smoothie
Scored this one in a rapid, code giveaway on Facebook. Pays to be a fan of these pages! It contains amazing graphics and a huge selection of felt pieces. Nice app for working on following directions or describing picture scenes.

6. Rainbow Sentences ($7.99) by Mobile Education Store
The object of this game is to unscramble words to form grammatically correct sentences. It offers multiple settings and various levels of difficulty. I personally like how the mixed up words maintain the correct punctuation and capitalization, which act as clues for word ordering while offering visual reminders to use these techniques while writing too! Children earn pieces of a puzzle by answering several questions accurately.

7. Preposition Builder ($7.99) by Mobile Education Store
What can I say, I'm a Mobile Education Store Fan! They cover all the speech language therapy bases!! This app teaches prepositions in related groups. Once you successfully fill-in the correct prepositions in all sentences, you unlock an opportunity to watch a short, animated video clip. (See my review for more details.)

8. Visual Attention TherAppy ($9.99) by Tactus Therapy Solutions
This app offers a free, lite version if you want to take a peek before you buy. Basically, in the full version, you create how you want a target to appear in a field and then users must scan from left to right to find targets. I believe this app would be best used for warm-up activities before therapy lessons to encourage attending and scanning, especially prior to reading activities. I imagine that many hospital and rehabilitative care clinicians would like this app for patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury. (See my review for more details.)

9. Articulation Station (.99-$5.99) by Little Bee Speech
The app itself comes free with one target sound, /p/, and then you purchase other sounds at various prices. You can get the whole kit and kabutle for just under $50 if you need every, possible target sound. I was given some spending money at work, so I purchased several sounds and I have to say that I use this app several times a day! No need to dig for flashcards because this puts them all in the palm of your hand. You can work at word and sentence levels and set sound targets for all positions in words.

10. Rhinomite (.99) by Mrs. Judd's Games
Scored this for free one Friday based on a recommendation from Smart Apps for Kids on Facebook. My son LOVES this game and I enjoy how it is educational and nonviolent. Design a costume for your superhero and then fly him through the city without crashing into things. Learning occurs as the audio tells you how you moved your character (ie, "up, "over".)

11. Opposites (FREE) by Mindshapes Limited
Another, great, free app that I scored by following, Smart Apps for kids! It is a lively way to work on identifying opposites. In this app, a boy and girl say words that float in bubbles and the object is to pop the bubbles that go together. I like this app for my early elementary kids in grades second through fifth.

12. Tic Tac Toe Reading Game Phonics (FREE) by Lakeshore Learning
This was one of the first apps that I tried out on my iPad. My seven year old loved this phonics version of his favorite game, Tic Tac Toe. You must answer the phonics question accurately by selecting one of three answer choices in order to earn your space. Some of the questions ask you to identify the number of syllables in a word, while other questions challenge you to determine the first/ last letters in a word given a visual cue.

13. Story Wheel (FREE with option to purchase more themes) by EverAge
This is another app that I found when I first got my iPad. It comes with a couple story themes, but you can purchase additional ones for a nominal fee. The object is to create a cohesive story given random pictures. First, you spin a picture wheel, and then you record a sentence about the selected image. As you move along, you must connect the sentences to create a story. In the end, you can watch and hear your story play back. One really, great feature about this app is that it provides you with detailed instruction on how to generate a good story!

14. Objects Pro ($9.99) by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language, and Auditory Development
Yet, another find from, Smart Apps for kids. Pretty sure I got it for free or a couple bucks. Perfect for working on describing objects. You begin by pressing the play button to spin actual pictures of objects. Once a picture is randomly selected, four sentences are revealed on the right side of the screen and you are asked to select the best sentence that describes the picture. If you check the correct box, then a green check mark appears and the sentence is dragged to a stage with an open curtain. Play proceeds with four new questions and you repeat the process until three sentences are identified and brought to the stage. The curtain closes on the stage and you are asked to recall and record the key points that describe the object.

15. Language Builder ($9.99) by Mobile Education Store
Last, but certainly not least, one more fabulous app by Mobile Education Store. I use this app at work to address building grammatically and syntactically correct sentences. The levels of play make this a nice tool for teaching and assessing speech and language skills! (See my review for more details.)


  1. Great recommendations, thank-you! Happy New Year!

    1. You're welcome, Beth!! Happy New Year to you!