Elementary -Expressive/Receptive Language Apps

Click each tab for information about a particular app, and how I use it in speech and language therapy with my students.
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iTouch iLearn Words


Staytoooned
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Choosing the “Movie” sticker, students can listen to a brief animated movie. I use this activity to work on story retell. Students listen to the movie and after it finishes, they retell with detail. We continue to watch repeats of the movie until they get all of the details. For example, we chose “Baby” and the movie involves a baby walking, falling and then getting up and walking again. We worked on transition words and the word scene. “As the scene opened, the baby was walking across the rug to get to his airplane. He walked a little bit and then fell. After he fell, he got back up and walked out of the room”. One of my students commented that it looks like the baby is “dance-walking”. These little movies are also excellent for working on cause and effect. In the first movie “apple”, someone eats the apple leaving a seed which then grows into a tree. The tree produces an apple which falls to the ground. The last scene shows a worm in the apple. I always ask my students “who ate the first apple” and “Why did the tree grow?” It takes them a little while to figure it out, but the conversation to get to the answer is amazing, especially when 3 and 4 year olds are involved! The games are spell, word and picture. The “word” and “picture” games allow students to find objects when given a verbal prompt (find boy). During the “word” game, students have to find the written word. During the picture game, students match pictures to verbal prompts. The spell game allows students to spell words when given target word and cut out letters.


Language Builder for iPad


Mobile Education
Pre-K through late Elementary and or middle school students with language impairments
How I use this app in speech therapy:
To begin using this app you must first put in a name, I used my initials. You will then need to choose hint level and, if applicable, “image themes”. You have the option to randomize all themes if you have purchased more than one theme.

I use this app with students with grammatical difficulties after we have practiced verbs and they are proficient in verb usage. I often use this app in conjunction with iVerbs. For my younger students (headstart and pre-K) I provide the model sentence, we practice it several times and then they record their sentence. You have the option of saving recordings (my students enjoy this feature). The app provides a “hint”, either verbal or visual when needed. My older students love this feature. I think they lean on it a little too much sometimes, so I require that they give me their own sentence first before listening to the hint to see if their sentence matches the hint. Again, older students are required to record their sentences on paper for home fun/homework practice. Level 1 provides a visual written cue (example: picture of a girl hugging a dog…visual cue is “The _____ is ______ her dog”. Level 2 provides a sentence starter, “The girl….” Level 3 provides a verbal cue such as “Use the words hugging and dog in your sentence”. A tremendous amount of flexibility is included in this app so it can be used for all ages. In addition, you have the option to purchase more “packs” of pictures through in-app purchases (Typically 1.99 each or 19.99 for all). The “info” button provides detailed instructions.


Preposition Builder (iPad)


Mobile Education
Pre-K through Middle
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app with Elementary age students who are able to read preposition words, but continue to have difficulty identifying them in a picture. These are the same students who have difficulty following directions in the classroom. This is also a great app for students with autism and/or language delays. My students are able to choose the correct preposition because the pictures are so engaging and accurate. If they choose the incorrect preposition, the app immediately provides a picture for the preposition they chose and gives them another opportunity to correct their errors. For example, given a picture of a boy with a cereal bowl on the cereal, my student chose the preposition “in” instead of “on”. The app responded by showing a picture of the cereal “in” the bowl so that my student understood his error. My students really enjoy the pleasing narrator’s voice and the lack of music and or sound effects. I appreciate the ability to delay going to the next sentence, giving plenty of time for discussion and additional sentences using the target words. I also appreciate that the prepositions are presented in sentences instead of in isolation so my students will learn them in context. Prepositions are presented in groups of three, an optimal amount for learning.


Toontastic


Launchpad toys
FREE
Late Elementary - Middle School
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This app is all about narrative development while making a fun cartoon. I have students develop a story arc with characters following the prompts provided by the app. In the beginning of the app there is an excellent description of all of the elements of a story. After discussing the story arc, my students and I choose the setting and characters. We then develop a dialog between characters that supports the story arc. After we are finished developing the story, it’s time to make the cartoon. The app takes students through the process of developing a cartoon, from determining the background/setting, selecting characters, giving characters voices and animation and applying background music. My High functioning students with Autism love this app and spend a great deal of time developing dialog which is perfect for working on conversational skills (using conversation starters, maintaining topics, switching topics, listening to others’ comments, etc).


Speech with Milo Sequencing


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This Speech with Milo app has quickly become one of my favorites to work on narrative skills in young children. I use this app daily with my head start students (3-5 year olds) to target sequencing skills, transition words (first, then, next, last, before and after), pronouns, retelling events, using correct verbs in sentences and articulation. The app allows you to choose from 36 activities (from brushing teeth to riding a bike) which can be filtered within the “List of Sequences” tab. Once you’ve chosen your target sequences, tap the “home” button and then “go” to begin the activity. A narrator tells students to “Put the cards in order”. Prior to my students putting the cards in order, we talk about the event and what the characters are doing in each picture. Example: Milo playing baseball description might include, “First, he waits for the pitch”, “then Melvin pitches the ball to Milo”, “He hits the ball out of the park”, “Milo hit a homerun!”. After a discussion, students put the cards in correct sequence, verbalizing all events while I cover up “play movie” with my hand. I cover up “play movie” so they are not distracted while trying to verbalize the events. After we watch the adorable short movie, my students summarize what they have seen. This really is a fantastic app for early sequencing development. I would love to see additional events, perhaps 4-5 in a sequence. My students love the “tad ah” after the movie, but you do have the option of turning it off on the settings page. Additional options available on the settings page are: turning of/on unsuccessful sound (bike horn when student does not put pictures in correct order), turning spoken words on/off, turning written words on/off (very helpful if the students are good readers), and turning on/off hints.


What are they thinking?


Super Duper
Grades preK and up
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Super Duper is creating electronic versions of the card decks we have all carried around for years. While not interactive, they are definitely easier on the back!

Interactive Storybook


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app with students ages 3-9 to develop narrative skills through an interactive story book. My elementary school and Head Start students love the adorable characters and the ability to touch objects and have them respond (bird singing, ball spinning, owl whooing, bees buzzing). I especially appreciate the open endedness of the story and the way the developer allows the user to choose between text on the page or off. I have used this story in many different ways since it’s release. It can be used as a basic story (with or without narration) to target comprehension of “wh” questions . Example: Page 1, “Why is Milo looking out the window?”, “Where is Milo?”, “What does Milo see?”, “Who is looking at Milo?”, “Is it winter or summer?”, “Is Milo sad?”, “How many birds do you see?”. I typically develop 5-8 wh questions per page and students are allowed to ask me questions too. It’s really amazing how quickly students learn how to ask and answer questions when they are related to an interactive iPad app. This storybook has many fabulous features. From the settings button you can turn the background music on/off, turn narrator on/off (I start with narrator then turn off during 2nd and 3rd reading), turn text on/off, turn interactive features on/off. Having the ability to turn the text off is priceless!!! With this feature, students and SLP can use their imaginations to develop their own story. Then in the upper right corner there is a record button so students can record their own story. I have experienced sessions in which the students not only develop their own story, but then develop their own questions for each page as well (more advanced and or older students). The ability to develop a story makes this app one of the few that can accommodate a variety of IEP goals within one session. Here’s an example of a session with three students. Student A goal: asking questions using question words, Student B goal: using present progressive ing in sentences, and Student C goal: using correct lip closure for /p/ and /b/ production. During the session SLP narrates the story, Student A directs questions to student B “What is Milo doing?”, Student B answers “Milo is riding his bike to the park”, Student C produces words “bike and park”. Students record questions, answers and artic sounds and then play them back to self-correct or affirm accuracy. Great little story for both individual and group therapy.

The story lends itself to teaching pronouns (he, she, they), auxiliary verbs (is, are), present progressive ing (riding, kicking), past tense ed (during retell), prediction (Milo dropped his ball, the owl is sleeping, what will happen next?) , asking and answering questions, cause and effect, sequencing, narration, feelings, and vocabulary.


Splingo's Language Universe


Talking Wizard LLP
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This is one of the first apps to specifically target following verbally presented directions. From the main page, you can choose the number of words in a direction (1-4) and the types of words/concepts to be included (nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives). There is also an option to use a US dictionary or UK dictionary. Although all instructions are given with a cute British accent, my American students are still able to comprehend and follow the directions. My students love the little alien in the corner and often wait for him to yawn before completing the direction (They think it’s hysterical). When the students have completed a series of directions they are then rewarded with a spaceship puzzle.


60 Story Starters


Super Duper
Grades preK and up
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Super Duper is creating electronic versions of the card decks we have all carried around for years. While not interactive, they are definitely easier on the back!

Prepositions


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.

Prepositions- Spanish


Doonan Speech Therapy
How I use this app in speech therapy:
In therapy I ask my young and early elementary students to imitate Milo’s action while other students in the group verbalize the action. We often practice target actions through body movements (using our imaginations for props) after Milo presents. After iPad use, I go back to “old school” and have the students choose a preposition from a surprise bag to act out. The students will often say “tadah” when they finish the action. As a fun extension activity, peers can guess the preposition.

There are 23 prepositions represented in this app including in/out, inside/outside, above/below, next to/between, across/around, behind/in front, near/far, on/off, on top/beneath, over/under, up/down. This app exposes children to the various prepositions via a little mouse’s (Milo) demonstration of the preposition. My students like the bright colors, but try to click on other objects in the room, expecting it to be more interactive. Unfortunately there is no way to control the order of presentation. For example, later developing concepts (above/below) are presented at the beginning of the learning session before earlier developing (in/out). There is a way to select a few concepts at a time and deselect others to prevent confusion. There are clear verbal instructions “Touch Milo to begin”. By selecting the green phrase button at the bottom, students hear the concept in a short phrase, but only after Milo has completed the action, not during. After hearing the phrase, SLPs can ask “wh” questions such as “where is Milo?”, “Why did he go beneath the water?”

On the Home page are 4 buttons: Instructions, Go, List of Words, and Settings. The Instructions button provides a list of suggestions for using the app in therapy. The green Go button starts the concept learning part of the app. The List of Words button allows you to choose the concepts you want to work on and whether or not you want them in random order. Even when “Random order” is turned off, you will continue to get later developing concepts before earlier developing (i.e., above/below before in/out). The Settings button allows you to turn off the background music and the voice over.
Dr. Pine learns Prepositions is no longer available in the App Store
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app to demonstrate prepositions to my younger students with language impairments. Dr. Pine, a cute porcupine who is a snazzy dresser, has a band of characters help him demonstrate 12 different prepositions. The prepositions include in front, around, between, under, behind, before, far from, back, near, inside, next to and on. Although the prepositions are limited, I like the fact that the preposition word is presented first, and then followed by the action. I have used this with a small group of preschool students to supplement a larger overall “kinesthetic/movement” lesson on prepositions. We first listen and watch the target preposition. For example, the action for the preposition “behind” consists of a bear hopping out and then his hippo friend hopping behind him. After watching, students act out the scene while the music plays on. One group of student went so far as to act out the little hand bobbing motions (too funny!). There is a replay button conveniently located in the bottom left hand corner just in case students need a reminder.
This app is no longer available in the App Store

Zanny Born to Run


Extra Special Kids, LLC
Author: Pamela Slone-Bradbury; Illustrator: Allison Garwood
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Cute interactive story about a boy who is always on the run. This book app can be used to describe actions and compare the character to animals (faster than a chicken, faster than a rabbit, swifter than a cheetah, brisker than a puma, quiet like a bear cub).


The Cat in the Hat


Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Author and Illustrator: Dr. Suess
How I use this app in speech therapy:
An interactive app of a cherished children’s book. The narrator’s voice is very pleasant to listen to and students can tap pictures to hear vocabulary words. I use this app to develop comprehension skills and the ability to answer wh questions. If you hold down the paragraph it is repeated. I use this feature to help students answer questions if they do not recall the events in the story.


The Monster at the End of This book…starring Grover!


Sesame Workshop Apps
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Loveable furry Grover is the star of this perfect book app. I have to say that I’m a little biased when it comes to Sesame Street and Grover as I grew up with all of them. Grover, of course, was my favorite!! I have many warm and fuzzy memories of learning concepts through songs and stories. Thank you Sesame Street!! This book app is amazing in the way they take the standard “ The Monster at the end of this Book” and turn it into an animated interactive experience. My students love the way Grover talks to them (with the real authentic Grover voice) and is animated. I’ve had students apologize to him for turning the page!! I love how Grover asks students to turn the page (focusing on following directions). His commentaries are hysterical…my students literally laugh out loud at Grover’s dramatics “I’m soooooo scared of monsters!!” They wait to turn the pages so they can hear what he has to say. It’s fantastic how the words appear as Grover narrates the book, encouraging sight word reading. Language skills targeted during sessions include: comprehension of story ideas, answering wh questions, following directions, using present progressive verb ing, negation (don’t, shouldn’t, can’t, not), adjectives (heavy, sturdy, brick wall), humor (why is it funny?), summarizing events and sequencing events, and vocabulary. You will laugh out loud at this book every time you read it even if you’ve heard it 10 times. He is hysterically funny and sarcastic!


Another Monster at the End of This book…starring Grover and Elmo!


Sesame Workshop Apps
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Again, another genius creation by Sesame Street. Friends solving problems together!! Elmo’s sunny disposition is a fantastic contrast to Grover’s sarcasm. Elmo gives directions (using the “original Kevin Clash” Elmo voice) and encourages students to go to the end of the book by working against Grover’s attempts to keep the pages put. Elmo encourages students to remove paper clips, knock down blocks, wipe off glue, crack the safe while Grover encourages students to add more glue. Language targets are similar to “The Monster at the end of this Book”.


Shake the States for iPad


Third Chicken Inc.


Shake the States for iPhone


Third Chicken Inc.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Have you ever noticed, at the American Speech Language Hearing Association conventions, that the most well attended short courses and talks are always those that focus on modifying everyday games and activities into teachable speech and language lessons? The same holds true for apps. I imagine that in the next few years speech therapists will develop a comprehensive list of apps that are not specifically designed for speech therapy, but can be modified to help students’ development of speech and language. Shake the States is one such app.

This app is genius!! Half of my middle school students cannot name the states past the local mid-Atlantic region and some of my elementary school students do not even know what state they live in. Learning the states should not be a speech and language IEP goal, however it ties nicely into geography curriculum lessons. In therapy, I use this app to teach spatial concepts (above, below, next to, beside, direction words, left/right), phonemic awareness skills (find the state that starts with /d/), transition words (first put Delaware on the map and then Maryland). I teach following directions and through osmosis, the students learn state names and locations!! I have also used this app with my students with autism. One student has now mastered following directions to place all of the big states, he immediately adds those to the puzzle before I can give a direction.

House of Learning for iPad


Smarty Ears
Similar to “My Play Home”, Smarty Ears has developed an app which is open ended for language usage and play. The app begins by allowing the user to choose characters from a variety of ages and nationalities. After choosing characters, students choose a room to set up and the room appears empty with a furniture bar at the top of the screen.

This app did not work with my younger students (3-4 yr olds) because of their level of attention, however it has worked wonderfully with older students (Elem age and up). I have used this app to address many different areas of language development. For students that have difficulty with spatial concepts (above, below, next to) and following directions that contain spatial and temporal directions (First put the bed next to the window), I use this app to increase students’ ability to follow directions. The students and I develop a design for the room using the concepts and keep a written record of our ideas. We then write out directions to “help” others set up the same room and to target temporal concepts (first, next, last, before/after). It’s a fun project that gives them ownership of their designs and a feeling that they are helping others all while learning IEP skills under the radar. This is a project based learning activity that is student driven which I have found increases learning.

Tapping on furniture gives an audible description of the object. After placing furniture, click on the “people” button to add characters to the room. You can make people bigger or smaller by pinching and change their position by tapping. Double tapping an object places it back on the menu bar. When you are finished with your creation you can take a picture with the small camera in the upper right hand corner. On the home page there is a reset button so you can "clean up" all of the rooms when you are finished.

Hotel Transylvania Movie BooClip Deluxe


by Castle Builders
I was perusing through iTunes the other night searching for a Halloween type app that offered the same type of rich vocabulary as Millie and the Lost Key in order to work on context clues. After searching through countless Halloween apps I discovered Hotel Transylvania (a book app, by Castle Builders based on the newly released Sony Animation movie). Not one for commercial type apps, I was hesitant at first, but after looking at the preview pictures decided to make the purchase, knowing my students would love it…even if it did not turn out to be extremely educational. (Note: if you aren't familiar with Millie and the Lost Key, select the "Millie" tab on this page for the review, link and worksheets.)

WOW!! Imagine my surprise -- RICH TIER II VOCABULARY WORDS throughout the entire story, perfect for a context clues strategy worksheet. Here’s an example of why I was so excited -- the story opens with this sentence: “In a secluded forest far away, isolated from the villages and towns, Dracula built a hotel to protect his young daughter, Mavis, from humans.” From this one sentence I was able to teach my students to look for commas as a clue to finding the word meaning, as sometimes authors will define difficult words right after the comma. Hooray!! I also used this app to work on determining the main idea of the overall story as well as page by page, sequencing events, summarizing events and recording details on a graphic organizer. My middle school students with lingering articulation delays loved reading through the app using appropriate production of target sounds (there are a lot of /s/ and /r/ variation words), recording their target sounds on a worksheet and then practicing.

Funny videos of actual movie scenes make this app completely engaging for students of all ages (through middle school) and support the story and actually help students in defining unknown words by putting them in video context. Here’s an example: “Dracula boasts to his guests, ‘Human-free since 1898’ Take an itinerary! I have personally designed a spectacular schedule of events, all leading to my daughter’s birthday extravaganza tomorrow!'”. How amazing is that sentence? Context clues galore and words that students need to know for everyday adult life!! The video of this scene shows Dracula handing out red itineraries…which supports that an itinerary can only be a schedule of events. Brilliant!! The videos are also fantastic for sequencing, summarizing and verbalizing events.

In addition to the wonderful, vocabulary-rich story, there are many extras that can be explored after reading through the app. Clicking on the witch at the bottom of the page brings up a menu of extras like the ability to record your own voice while reading the story, a magnifying glass to make the text bigger as you read (fun), gross recipes (wormcake: pancakes with gummy worms, chocolate devil eggs, mouse jelly, scream cheese and bagels), puzzles and painting activities for younger students and additional video clips.

Common Core Links 5th grade example:

Using context clues to determine word meaning.
5.RL.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.

Comparing Dracula to the Human:
5.RL.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).


Millie and the Lost Key


Megapops, LLC
ages 3 - 3rd grade (+ students with autism, all grades)
How I use this app in speech therapy:

Dive into the imagination of a little dog named Millie as she embarks on a quest to reclaim her key to endless bacon. The plot alone is worth every penny that you spend on this app and then you, and your students/children, quickly realize that Millie and the Lost Key is so much more than the typical e-book. It’s a transfixing multi-media experience that grabs your attention, transports you to another world and keeps student attention until the very end, leaving them wanting to know more about Millie’s adventures. First of all, this app is beautiful in every way. Every choice the developers, Megapops, made, including the music, pictures, illustrations and narration is perfect and will draw you into Millie’s world from the very start. The music and narration provide a true Indiana Jones adventure feeling and the pictures and illustrations complement them beautifully. There are maps. There is a treasure hunt. There is an evil villain (a kitty) and a hilarious Moral of the story at the end. Best of all…it’s highly interactive with buttons to push, tabs to pull, gadgets to turn and pictures to scratch off!!

This is one app that can be used with a wide range of students from Headstart to Middle school. They were all mesmerized. Each page includes 1 to 2 paragraphs of the story which makes it perfect for listening comprehension activities.

Listening comprehension: answering and asking “wh” questions, answering factual and inferential questions such as: What is Millie looking for? Where was it last seen? Why did the piranhas wake up? Who took the key? I also include inferential questions: Why does Millie want endless bacon? Do you think Kitty is her friend? Why did Millie need to relax? How is she going to get the key back? Why is Millie still happy?

Grammar: verb+ing while the action is happening (you don’t see that in many apps) looking, flying, swimming, scratching, listening; regular and irregular past tense verbs: swam, flew, rode, climbed, heard, looked, lost, stood, fired (cannon-no one gets hurt), found, yodeled, soothed, jumped; pronouns: she, it, they, herself; and verbalizing short phrases. My students love talking about Millie. With my students who have difficulty verbalizing Millie’s actions I use a pacing board to provide visual support for phrases: Millie is looking for the key, Millie likes bacon, Millie sees pirates.

Vocabulary Development: With my elementary age and older students with autism, I have used Millie to teach the strategy of using context clues (related to Common Core) to determine the meaning of unknown vocabulary words. I have several older students who need to increase their awareness and knowledge of context clues. Millie is an excellent resource to build those skills. The authors/developers have included at least one “higher-level” vocabulary word on each page. As an educator, I applaud them!! My students and I use the context of the story to figure out word meanings. If they do not know the answer right away, I add additional text to the story. With my younger students we simply talk about word meaning and use character actions or story to demonstrate the word (example: rumble - Millie photo moves around like an earthquake and there is a rumble in the background sound effects).

Curriculum Based Activities: With my older students, we work on curriculum based language activities such as summarizing, identifying character traits, higher level grammar, answering and asking comprehension questions, paraphrasing and sequencing. It’s really amazing how many speech and language goals can be worked on during the reading of this one story. The thing I find most amusing is that there is a picture of Millie in a “jungle”, however the “jungle” is actually a picture of a college campus or park. My young students do not see the background….and it’s a lot of fun to discuss the various backgrounds and the irony with my older students! Yet another way to work on language skills!! (Students can compare and contrast the background to the actual story.)

I will end my therapy ideas here, because I could talk forever about this wonderfully rich app.

Reading Comprehension - Solar System


by Abitalk
How I use this app in speech therapy:

I just found a great way to work on verbal comprehension of non-fiction informational texts. Reading Comprehension - Solar System provides an easy to read, 2-3rd grade level, an interesting to listen to text about each of the planets in the solar system, the sun, dwarf planets, asteroids, the moon, Europa, Titan, comets and telescopes. In addition to interesting facts, Abitalk has provided, via the blue graph bubble in the upper right hand corner, a way to collect data on a variety of comprehension questions. After adding a new user/student, data will be collected for each story. Unfortunately, you can only collect data for one student at a time. So data collecting will have to be old school pen and paper for a group, but it’s worth it for the well thought out informational texts and variety of questions. Using this app has allowed me to teach my students how to refer back to the text (which is located right above the question and scrolls down) via looking for key words from the question to answer factual questions. Helpful hint: When you hit the submit button it takes you back to the main menu and you will think that the app is not working properly. It is. Instead, have your students answer all of the questions (swipe through), then submit. Once you submit your answers you will be returned to the main menu. After returning to the main menu, enter the topic you just completed and have a discussion about correct and incorrect answers and the reasons why. My students have learned how to be more careful when answering (they don’t like seeing the thumbs down guy). Great skill to learn for test taking!!! To reset the story for another group, go the blue graph button and select reset.

In addition to the pre-made stories, you are also able to type in your own story and add questions if there is a topic your students want to explore further. For example, after reading about the Earth, you may want to extend learning by writing a story about the moon and tides, or land features on the earth (volcanoes, faults, mountains, types of rocks, caves, etc).

Here’s the link to Common Core State Standards. (Also see the Common Core widget, below). This app aligns nicely with common core standards for 2nd and 3rd grade (Informational Text).

2nd Grade:
RI.2.1
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text. (Speech focus: Verbal Comprehension skills, answering questions)

RI.2.2
Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text (Speech Focus: Verbal comprehension)

RI.2.7
Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text. (Speech Focus: Explaining with details, grammar, increasing sentence length)

3rd Grade:
RI.3.1
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. (Speech Focus: Verbal comprehension, teaching students to ask information fact based questions, grammar of questions – could have students develop questions for SLP/student developed story)

RI.3.8
Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence). (Speech Focus: Understanding a sequence, using transition words (grammar), cause and effect)
This widget is made available by MasteryConnect.com. Use it to explore the Common Core, and/or cut and paste standards into your therapy plans.

You're the Story Teller: The Surprise


by Hamaguchi Apps

TheSurprise1


TheSurprise2
How I use this app in speech therapy:

Youre the Story Teller: The Surprise by Hamaguchi Apps has allowed me to teach verbal comprehension, narration, sentence grammar and pragmatics, all within the context of one expertly developed and extremely humorous app! The app, on the market since May 2012, continues to surprise me in its versatility and ability to keep student interest across multiple sessions and months. What’s brilliant about this simple app/story is that it is wordless. Students narrate their own version of the story by recording their own voices via “Narrator’s tools” and/or type the story in the writing area. My students have enjoyed doing both.Younger students love to record their voices telling the story and older students enjoy typing. For my young students I have developed sentence starters using Symbolstix pictures (similar to Picture the Sentence app which they are used to using), providing a visual aid to support detailed grammatically correct sentences (worksheet below left). Without the model, sentence length was reduced and grammar was horrible (don’t want to practice that!!). As they became accustomed to the story I was able to reduce visual supports.

My students love The Surprise and beg for the story to continue. I’m hoping Part 2 is in the works. The characters are adorable and likable, not “creepy with big eyes” as my niece would say. The story follows the arc of a narrative and has an unexpected resolution. To extend beyond the story, I have had students predict what will happen next and continue the story in their own words. The app allows for discussions about character motivations, decision making, non verbal language, cause and effect and being honest. I have not come across a single IEP goal that could not be worked on using this app. It’s even possible to work on articulation and fluency! (Just be sure to record the words in the writing are before the session.)

Since the story is wordless, I often develop my own narrative to work on verbal comprehension along with comprehension questions. You can add questions to the writing area and/or have your older students make up their own questions, “for the little kids you will work with later in the day”. (LOL, they are unknowingly working on questioning skills too). In addition to developing my own narrative I have created “who” question cards to extend the app with my young students who are struggling to answer basic questions (see worksheet, below left).

Patti Hamaguchi, a Speech Language Pathologist and creator of the app, has provided wonderful tips for clinicians for working on articulation, language, grammar/syntax and pragmatics, in the “info” section of the app. This is a great resource!

StoryPals

by Expressive Solutions LLC


Screen shots from a story and quiz I created in StoryPals.

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How I use this app in speech therapy:

StoryPals is the perfect app for that group of students who all have different goals and objectives but who can only be seen all together because that’s just how the schedule works out. We have all been there and thought…"Yikes! What am I going to do with a third grader who has difficulty with listening comprehension, a 4th grader with pragmatics difficulty and a 2nd grader with articulation delays?" With one StoryPals story you can work on all goals effectively and efficiently. Eric Sailers, a Speech Language Pathologist who I’m sure most of you have heard speak at ASHA, has developed a multi-faceted and completely customizable app. Let’s start with articulation. Eric, always thinking how to maximize therapy time, has developed stories that are not only great for listening and reading comprehension, but are also sound-loaded with articulation targets. Here are a few examples: Greg and Gordon Go to the Circus, Fashionable Fiona, Nadia’s runny nose, Monkey’s Mistake, Tina’s Terrible Habit, Where’s Wolf?, Chewy and the Chow Chow, and Sherman the Sheep dog. I just love apps that allow us to work on multiple targets at one time.

This app is especially brilliant for listening and reading comprehension. With the initial download of Story Pals you get 24 professionally narrated stories that range in complexity and length. For every story there are language based comprehension questions (who, what, where, when and why). Unlike other story based apps you have the option to open the story while reading and answering questions, thus teaching students the strategy of referring back to the text to find answers to factual questions. Answering questions is listed as a “Quiz” which gives you the opportunity to collect data for up to 6 students.

The best part: If you find that you have read through every story available on the app, you can visit Eric’s website (www.ericsailers.com) and look within his blog. There are tons of new stories. Simply open his website on your iPad, go to his blog, scroll down until you see a StoryPals story and click the highlighted (orange) download link. After clicking you will get a message that asks if you want to download to Drop Box or story pals. Download to StoryPals and it will appear in the My Stories section of the app. Thank you Eric!!! Additionally, you can create your own stories with fun graphics included or imported pictures of your own then record your own voice or that of a student’s. Fun therapy activity for older students: I have used the voice over option to work on fluency skills and or over-articulation strategies with my older students: “Hey, let’s record a story for my little kids.” The beauty of this app is that you can create any story! With the implementation of Common Core State Standards (coming soon or “Now at a School Near You”), think of all of the possibilities to combine student goals with curriculum via Story Pals. I can’t wait!! Maybe I’ll share some on Eric’s website.

- Amanda Backof, M.S. CCC-SLP (3/7/13)