When a child starts grade one, they need to have an extensive variety of language experiences. These are crucial for success in reading, particularly reading comprehension.
Children need to be able to use language to describe their experiences, to predict what will happen in the future, and to talk about events that happened in the past.
Specific skills required are the ability to:
- Understand and follow simple directions
- Listens to others for short periods of time without interrupting
- Recite nursery rhymes and songs
- Participate in discussions and conversations
- Ask questions
- Speak clearly to convey messages and requests
- Distinguishes between asking and telling
- Distinguish between formal and informal language (with peers, at home vs. at school)
- Use complete sentences
- Compose oral stories
- Retells a simple story with basic elements of beginning, middle and end
- Read and answer comprehension questions about grade level books
- Summarize and sequence story events both orally and later in the year in written form using key words like first, next, then, and last
Developing these skills is ongoing, but some of my App picks for these skills are:
Splingo’s Language Universe
Developer: The Speech and Language Store
Your child will practise their listening and language skills by interacting with the images and animations on the screen to follow Splingo the alien’s spoken instructions. As a reward, they will love helping Splingo build a space ship and complete the tasks in order to get him home. His hilarious animated responses will capture your child’s imagination.
Splingo’s instructions range from a very early level of language development, e.g. single word recognition, to much more complex, e.g. instructions combining several aspects of language at once.
Developer: Abitalk Incorporated
Sentence Builder App is aimed at helping students learn to create grammatically correct sentences. This app gives students multiple levels of practice using various sentence structures. With over 250 built in sentence and a fully customizable ‘create your own’ section.
Students can move the words around to build the sentence themselves. Start with the built-in sentences. Then create your own sentences, use your own images, and use your voice to record your own sentences and words. Each word can be clicked for the sound of the word, and words can be rearranged to make a proper sentence.
Developer: Mobile Education Store
Although this one is a little more expensive, it is too good to leave out.
Rainbow Sentences is designed to help students improve their ability to construct grammatically correct sentences by using color coded visual cues. The who, what, where, and why parts of sentences are color coded to help students recognize and understand how combinations of these parts create basic sentence structure.
Students will learn how to recognize the parts of sentences such as nouns, verbs, and prepositions, improve their understanding of how combinations of these parts create basic sentence structure. Students have the opportunity to record their sentences in their own voice to improve their receptive and expressive language skills.
Reading Comprehension: Kindergarten
Developer: Interactive Learning Success
Improve reading comprehension by building confidence and inspiring achievement. There are 40 illustrated reading passages which appeal to young readers. Questions are asked in a multiple choice format.
In addition to a cumulative score at the end of each section, individual scores are calculated for each story. This immediate feedback keeps students on track for success.
Developer: Mobile Education Store
Story Builder is an incredibly versatile speech tool that helps students answer WH-questions, make inferences, improve articulation, practice grammar and adjectives, tell stories and master sequencing.
The students are asked a series of questions to help them create their story. The students record their answers to each of the questions and they may record each answer as many times as they like until they like it. There are hints available to help the kids decide what they should record. At the end of the process, their answers are combined into a single recording and the child hears themselves tell the story. Story Builder offers a rich and fun environment for improving the ability to create a narrative.
Being able to express one’s self is a crucial skill that affects every aspect of your child’s life. Not being able to explain himself, persuade his listeners, or simply share a funny event because of language difficulties can affect your child’s self esteem and learning potential.
These Apps are only some of the ways to help stimulate language and are by no means a substitute for speech & language therapy.