EGWs6uuBZ3pp-zGuVVdmeLgkJG4 Across the Avenue: Educational Apps for Kids: Smarty Ears Phonological Awareness Lab

Educational Apps for Kids: Smarty Ears Phonological Awareness Lab

Phonological awareness is a critical foundational reading skill for kids. As an SLP, I work on this skill often with my school-age clients. Over the years, I've relied on hands-on manipulatives and paper-based activities to target these goals. The problem is, my days are filled with travel between the clinic and several schools every day. Lugging around materials for a full load of clients can become very cumbersome. When a friend told me about Smarty Ears Phonological Awareness Lab, I was really excited about the idea of transporting materials on my iPad instead of hauling around overflowing bags. The big question though...does the app offer quality activities that can replace some of my paper-based tasks? After reviewing it on my own and trialing it with a few of my clients, the answer is YES! This app is well worth adding to your bag of tricks. Not only would I recommend it for SLPs, it's a fantastic app for teachers and parents as well. Check out what it has to offer as well as my thoughts on each component below...

About the App
The Phonological Awareness Lab app offers four different categories, with seven activities in all:
  • Sentence Experiment -- This activity requires kids to count the words within each sentence.
  • Decoding Room -- This category offers a blending syllables activity as well as a blending sounds activity. I love both of these games and they were a big hit with my clients.
  • Rhyming Compound -- This category offers 3 options: a rhyming identification activity, a rhyming selection activity, and a rhyming match activity. These games were a little more challenging for my younger kids, but they caught on with added support and were easily engaged because of the fun graphics and touch screen capabilities.
  • Syllable X-Ray -- This activity asks kids to find the word with the number of syllables that matches the number presented. Click on the 'Select Player' page to customize the number of answer choices and the number of syllables in the target words. This activity is another favorite of mine.

How I Use It
The Phonological Awareness Lab app allows me to personalize each player by entering their name and uploading their picture, or allowing them to choose an avatar. Working with more than one child at a time? This app allows for multiple players to engage in a session together! All data from each child's work is saved for you in the 'Report Center', which provides the date of the session, activity selected, and accuracy (trials and percentage) of answers of each student. Smarty Ears even created green/yellow/red color coding, so you can monitor their accuracy at a glance. Want to share the results? Click on the 'Share' button and you'll be provided with the option to e-mail, print, or open in a program of your choice. The data collection is such a time saver and an easy way to share progress with parents.

Now, do I continue to use hands-on materials with my clients? Of course. But having this app as a high quality resource to target phonological awareness goals has been a major game changer. It's easy to travel with and promotes a high level of engagement and motivation with the kids on my caseload. I recommend using it as a tool to engage in together, so that you can make the most of teachable moments and intervene when an incorrect answer is given. My clients love that I play it with them and it helps to promote a positive relationship between us. I would rate this high on my list of 'Must Have Apps'!

Check out this brief video to learn more.

Where to Purchase
Head over to the App Store to purchase and download the Phonological Awareness Lab. While you're there, check the full collection that Smarty Ears has to offer!

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Disclaimer: The product in this post was provided by Smarty Ears. As always, our posts are our own, honest opinions.