Saturday, March 24, 2012

Android Educational Apps, Anyone?

With more than 500,000 apps now in the Apple Apps Store and the current frenzy to purchase the newest iPad 3, it should be easy to see why we have given considerable attention in recent weeks to Apple’s apps.

At the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo this week in Manchester, MO, however, we received quite a few requests for Android educational apps. We thought it was about time to present some of these educational resources for Android users, too.

Here then is a short list of URLS for lists of some Android educational apps (one list is extensive):

1. 101 Best Android Apps in Education (general education)

2. 7 Special Needs Apps in the Google Android Market

3. Special Education Android Apps (some pricey/some FREE)

We hope this short list will give you a few good places to start. Enjoy your investigation of these apps. As always, please feel free to let us know of others not listed here for the Android platform that provide good educational content. We’ll appreciate it!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Basket of Special Needs Apps

There is a need for many parents and teachers of struggling learners to have a “ready list” of apps when special learning challenges present themselves. Last December, we posted an article with our first list of special needs apps. Many of our readers have mentioned their appreciation for this list and continue to use its apps daily. You can still access the first list from that article.

As spring quickly approaches, we thought this would be a good time to offer these parents and teachers (with very little time of their own) a new list or basket of good, general apps for special needs.

We hope you will find this second list to be helpful, too. Please feel free to tell us about other apps not listed in the comment boxes to follow. We’ll be glad to post them, too!

10 Free iPad Apps for Children with Special Needs
---by Jack Kieffer

iPad Apps for Kids with Special Needs
---by Jackie Kaufenberg

iPad Apps and Accessories for Special Needs
-by Eric Sailers (subscription required for download)

Google Doc of iPad Apps for Special Ed
---iPod/iPad APPs for Special Education and Remediation + Feedback

Special Needs Apps
---Created by the developers at Moms With Apps to assist children and families. Apps list is updated periodically.

Other Helpful Resources for Special Needs Families

The M.O.R.G.A.N. Project---Helping families with disabled kids FREE medical supplies & equipment

SEN Teacher
---Provides cost-free teaching & learning resources for students with special needs and learning disabilities. Many resources here may also be of use to educators of primary and elementary students and homeschooling families.

---Provides thousands pages of social skills and behavioral regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, academic material, and transition guides for employment and life skills. To make the experience as pleasant and easy as possible, we display no ads nor require that you login to access our website.

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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NOTE: is conducting a giveaway of 4 iPads beginning 3/19/12! Check it out!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

ADHD? The Right Study Tools Can Make All the Difference!

Don’t like to study? Feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading you need to cover? Can’t concentrate when it is time to study? You are not alone! However, you might benefit from some new tips, strategies, and resources that could make your study routine ---less routine and MORE productive. How? Just take a look at what we suggest.

Arrange for the following needs to be met BEFORE a study session begins:

A. Study Environment: Create a space consistent and conducive to good study and that satisfies your learning style. To do this, consider one or more of the following:

1. Lighting---Low lighting can actually be appropriate for some learners.

2. Seating/study surface---A desk and chair with good support are recommended, but some learners can study more effectively with soft furniture such as bean bag chairs, etc.

3. “Comfort colors”---Soothing colors in the immediate surroundings can be therapeutic and induce relaxation. However, bright colors can be stimulating and promote more attention to work.

4. Structure & organization---Keeping to a set time for study is usually a good idea. Storing completed written work in folders or binders with dividers can help with organization and keep you current with assignments.

5. Sound---Wordless, instrumental music or nature sounds conducive to study can be effective.

6. Short breaks with water and/or healthy snacks---For some younger students, 5-minute breaks at 15 minute intervals can be beneficial. For older children and teens, a break of a few minutes every hour or so is usually helpful.

B. Study Tools: Consider one or more of the following items when attention is an issue:

1. Appropriate supplies---Have the proper supplies needed to study---sharpened pencils, good erasers, enough paper, pocket folders or binders, etc. should always be kept at hand for a good and productive study session.

2. Appropriately charged/connected hardware---Be sure to charge up your tech devices prior to study time.

3. Index cards—manually and/or digitally created---Keep a supply of 3” x 5” index cards (lined or unlined) for making quick study tools that are customized to the student’s learning style.

4. Overlays---If visual stress caused by white page backgrounds of printed media is an issue, try overlays (colored, transparent sheets). A particular color may produce better results and help you experience more reading comfort and success.

5. Focusing tools---If focus and concentration are issues, try tools that isolate a line(s) of text and block out surrounding text. Focus cards will provide this assistance for many distracted readers.

6. Tactile manipulatives---Having something soft (or firm, depending on personal preference) in one’s hand to manipulate during study times can be soothing and promote better concentration and retention of the content studied. These tactile manipulatives help with relaxation and concentration (good for tactile and kinesthetic learners.

7. Recording device---Recording history facts, dates or other content, especially when memorization is involved can be very beneficial. Listen to the recordings at times that are not mentally taxing (while preparing for bedtime, dressing for the day, taking a walk, driving/riding in the car, etc. (This can be especially helpful for auditory learners.) The results of this can be surprisingly beneficial.

In addition, you might find the following online resources to be helpful for improving your study strategies:

Resources and Strategies for Effective Study

10 Tips for Good Study Skills

Tips on How to Study---from Dartmouth College (includes printable handouts)

Study and Success Strategies-from the Berkeley Student Learning Center

Thinking about these aspects of a student’s study environment, use of the right tools to enhance the study experience, and strategies for good study can mean all the difference in the world when test time approaches. Having prepared completely will yield great results. All the best for study success, students!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

REAL Apps for Really Struggling Readers

Updated September 22, 2016

Many of the keyword searches that bring visitors to our blog and websites revolve around the term “struggling readers” (really?) We felt it was about time to provide a list of good apps for teachers, parents and others who work tirelessly with children and teens challenged with reading. We hope these apps will “fill the bill” for those who come to us looking for solutions to help the many struggling readers everywhere.

A very comprehensive list of apps to help struggling readers

Reading Focus Cards desktop app (for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
This app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUS when reading digital media whether online or offline (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) The application FLOATS on top AND STAYS on top of underlying applications when moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed. In addition, the Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779) is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology where applicable.
1. Macs (desktops & notebooks):
2. Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):

iPad Apps for Learning to Read – A Surprising Benefit (from

Phonics and Reading Lite (FREE version)
Phonics and reading app for older, struggling readers

Phonics and Reading (FULL version of above app---$19.99 to download)
Phonics and reading app for older, struggling readers—

Reading Machine – Full Install ($1.99 to download)
This app looks so simple, and it is. However, it is incredibly powerful, effective, and works wonders with struggling readers.

Special Note: The low-tech Reading Focus Cards work well to provide even better focus and greater concentration with iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and other related tech devices. Just remember to use a non-scratch film to protect the tech screens with this application.

Happy Reading, EVERYONE!

For more information: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Clip art courtesy of