Key Word Kids has just updated this apps for IOS 11 optimisation. I have been using this app for a while, and the more I use it, the more I love it.
A lot has been said about core words which are important in order to link language together. But in addition to this, a child requires an understanding of Key Words .
Key Word Kids is an app based on an Educational Therapy Program designed to support language development through play. It is an engaging app with fantastic graphics that is a hit with the kids. Tapping the Play button on the home screen allows you to make your activity selection.
This allows you to familiarize yourself and the child with the app before selecting a level to start on. My only concern with this is, if the child has difficulty with the first couple of items, the level check does not allow you to continue.
There are 4 comprehension levels to choose from; 2, 3, 4 and 5 key word sentences. Each level contains of a number of sentence structures. The Comprehension activities are graded in levels of difficulty. Level 5 addresses more complex sentences.
The following language structures are addressed: adjectives animation trees containing similar verbs (ex: throwing versus rolling) singular/plural nouns semantics e.g which one do you eat? prepositions conjunction – and possessive form
Tapping on the Extras icon allows you to:
- Select a set of sentences to play through
- Select a theme: There are 5 different themes. The Farm, The House, The Beach, Outback, Africa
- Play one of 5 mini games
Here are some examples:
If the child makes an error on any item, a hand appears to facilitate the correct response.
The top right hand corner of the screen has an action key on it.
There are 2 different actions:
The icon will display the number of taps required to complete the instruction.
The expression option allows you to select a theme and place items and people within the theme. The child can then practice the vocabulary and sentence structures that have been addressed. A record button allows the child to make a little story and play it back. You can choose to have the voice option on/off when placing items. This is quite useful in order to reinforce vocabulary.
This menu allows you to adjust the reward game frequency and have the text/voice on or off. Using the text only has been a fantastic tool for working on reading comprehension strategies for older children. I am also using this for working on reading fluency and accuracy.
A selection of short mini-games are included to reward users between Key Word Sentences. The games are simple but motivating and I love the fact that there is a choice of games.
What I would like
- I would really like the option to continue with the level check in order to familiarize the child with the type of instructions they will be required to do. This would also familiarize the student with the vocabulary that is Australian and therefore not necessarily familiar to them.
- It would be great to be able to start at a one word level for the comprehension activities.
- The ability to add different user profiles so that progress can be tracked from within the app.
- The ability to hit the pause button between questions so that you can encourage the child to repeat the instruction or use the past tense structures. The characters in the app are interactive and sometimes respond “I have done it!” This is a great opportunity to ask what did he/she do?
- Some of the children tend to respond before hearing the whole instruction. It would be great if the screen were ‘deactivated’ for a few seconds so that impulsivity is curbed.
- The option to choose a different accent for the instructions. Having a US voice would make this app appealing to a much broader market.
What I like
- The graphics and animations on this app are fantastic and really make it very engaging.
- The characters interact with the child and this is really engaging and facilitates communication.
- There is immediate feedback and error correction
- There is no time limit to respond and you can encourage the child to repeat the instruction.
- Instructions can be replayed to facilitate comprehension.
- The ability to have the text only option is fantastic for working on reading comprehension and attention to detail.
- Settings can be changed during play so you can provide the child with text support if needed.
- This app is also great for supporting children who are learning English as a second language.
- Reward games are motivating.
Key Word Kids is available on the App Store for $24.99 Overall, Key Word Kids is a well researched app and a great addition to a therapy tool kit.
A copy of the app was provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.