Saturday, July 28, 2012

All Kinds of Kids’ Vocabulary Apps

A larger and more extensive vocabulary can benefit children in so many ways. It can help them to express themselves more clearly and effectively. A good vocabulary can significantly benefit their performance on all types of achievement or academic tests. In addition, a student’s writing skills can be greatly enhanced with an excellent vocabulary---throughout all of life. So you can see that there are only advantages to improving and enriching a child’s vocabulary.

In the past, vocabulary lists of new words were studied, memorized, incorporated into daily lessons at school and other such tedium. However, today, we have apps---wonderful, enjoyable apps that encourage vocabulary building with immediate feedback for the learner. Bye-bye tedium!

This week’s blog article provides you with a group of vocabulary apps that might be just the thing to get your child(ren) or students “reacquainted” with vocabulary learning just as we approach the beginning of a new school year. Hope you like our newest apps list!

What’s the Word on Vocabulary Apps for Kids? by Melanie Ruda (for iPhone, iPod touch, & iPad for Gr. K-6)
This article contains a good list of inexpensive apps that can help kids in grades K-6 develop their oral and reading vocabularies. (Criteria included apps that are age appropriate, that focus on vocabulary development and help kids learn the meanings of new words.)

Vocab-a-splat by Seward, Inc.(for iPad for Ages 4-6)
A vocabulary-building game that teaches children the meanings of high-frequency words they encounter while reading.
App explanation link:
App download link:

List of Vocabulary Apps (For Various Age Levels) (mostly iPad & iPod apps with 1 Android app)

Kids Vocabulary (FREE Android app for Ages 3-7)
Give your child a head start with this interactive vocabulary learning app. Look, listen, say, read, spell---Your child will learn new vocabulary using a 4-step method based on modern teaching methodology.

Montessori Approach to Vocabulary (a brief review, demo video with link to app for younger children---for iPad with a price of $1.99)
In the Montessori Classroom, several activities exist to assist children to increase their vocabulary. This application will help children to identify and learn the names of the animals. (Price at time of review--$2.99)
App review link:
App download link: vocabulary/id400726281?mt=8

SuperKids Vocabulary Builders (Online and app options both available here---Apps for iPad/iPhone from upper elementary grades through grade 12 vocabulary levels + even PSAT & SAT prep)
Looking for an easy way to improve your students' (or your own) vocabulary? SuperKids has compiled a set of word-of-the-day lists that should help. Make this your browser's home page and get a new word every day!

Enchanted Dictionary
(for iPad---2 versions: for Gr. 4-6 & Gr. 7-12) Designed by Marg Griffin, a speech and language pathologist who works with older students, these apps help students focus on the language of definitions for core content vocabulary. Website for Golden Communications, LLC is from where one can access the apps.

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

Clip art courtesy of: Lakeshore Learning Materials @

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Android Apps for Dyslexia

As you may know, we have offered many apps and other resources for dyslexia here in several of our previous blog articles. It is interesting to note that the demand and number of requests for dyslexia apps in particular have been quite significant for our blog, exceeding requests and searches of all other educational apps combined.

Because of the amount of advertising done by Apple for its tech devices, one might believe that there are only such apps for the iPad or iPhone. Not so! In fact, globally there is more widespread use of Android devices than of Apple devices (in Asia, particularly). It is mostly here in the U.S. and in Europe that Apple’s presence is so dominant.

So, with this in mind, together with requests from parents of dyslexic children and the desire on our part to give equal time to Android apps for our readers with this format, we have assembled what looks to be our longest apps list yet. This time, they are categorized Android apps for struggling readers challenged with one or more types of dyslexia. We hope this newest list of apps will help someone you know with dyslexia AND an Android device.

Reading & Writing Apps

Cool Reader - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.5 or later)
Cool Reader is an eBook reader that supports multiple eBook formats. The app has a text-to-speech function and other customizable features.

Go Read (Bookshare) - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.0 or later)
This app is a part of Bookshare, where you can access one of the largest online libraries. This app also has text-to-speech capabilities and is especially made for people with reading impairments.

Vocab Builder - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
Vocab Builder is a great way to learn new vocabulary words and is perfect for preparing for the SAT or GRE. You are quizzed on thousands of words, and a dictionary is included.

Words Words Words - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
This app can help you build communication skills. It can teach you new words, how the words are properly used in context, and it can pronounce the words for you. There is even a fun, challenging game included.

Ghotit Real Writer & Reader for Android - Helpful app for 3 types of dyslexia assistance:
- writing with word-prediction and speech feedback
- reading with dual-highlighting
- spelling and grammar inc punctuation by context and phonetic corrections
Ghotit Real Writer & Reader 3 for Android 4 (just released, December 2013)

Spelling Apps

Spelling Bee - $0.99 (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
This app teaches you how to spell thousands of words with clear audio clips and increasing difficulty. - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 and later)
This app includes nearly 2 million easily accessible words. You can view definitions and synonyms with and, with no internet connection required.

Organization & Study-Skills Apps

AnkiDroid - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.5 or later)
With this app, you can learn just about anything. There are thousands of free flashcard decks available for download, or you can create your own, and it comes with text-to-speech capabilities.

ColorNote - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.5 or later)
Use this app when you want to jot down memos, emails, or a grocery list. You can return to your notes later and edit them, organize them by color, save them to SD storage, and organize your schedule in a calendar.

Evernote - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
Evernote allows you to easily create text, photo, and audio notes, which can be synchronized to any computer to help you remember important things.

EverStudent - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
EverStudent syncs with Evernote and allows you to easily organize all of your assignments and due dates into one, sleek, customizable planner.

HomeWork - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
HomeWork keeps track of all of your due dates for you. See how much homework you’ve completed, when your next test date is, and much more.

Mindjet - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
Mindjet organizes everything from thoughts and ideas to notes and to-do lists. The app contains many customizable features to make your mind maps and lists easy to read.

My Class Schedule - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
Use My Class Schedule to track homework due dates, upcoming exams, class schedules, and activities. You can color-coordinate your schedules and customize the app in many other ways.

myHomework - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 and later)
This app provides an easy way for you to keep track of homework, classes, tests, and projects. It creates a colorful calendar of upcoming due dates and even provides audio notifications.

Note Everything - Free or $4.19 Compatible with Android devices 1.5 or later)
This app lets you type, speak, and paint notes right into the app, and you can send your notes anywhere.

Pocket - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later)
Pocket allows you to safely store important information on your phone. Everything is encrypted and backed up online.

SaveMeeting - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.2 or later)
With SaveMeeting, you can record any meeting, lecture, or interview, use audio marks to bookmark the important details, and share the files with others. It can also transcribe important audio files.

StayOnTask- Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
This app will help you stay focused on your work. It is a timer that randomly checks up on you, so you can’t predict when the alarm will sound.

STUDYBLUE Flashcards - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 and later)
Use this app to create your own flashcards so you can review class notes in your spare time.

Sync Voice Note- Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
Sync Voice Note is a note-taker and audio recorder. You can synchronize audio with your own notes, highlight text, and tab over, making it easy to mark your place in a long line of text.

Time for School - Free and $1.49 (Compatible with Android devices 1.6 or later) This app is designed to keep your academic life more organized. The app contains an alarm to notify you of when your next class starts, when your homework assignments are due, or when you should wake up.

Timer (Intuit) - Free (Compatible with Android devices 1.5 or later)
Timer lets you keep track of any daily task. You are also able to run multiple timers at once.

Resource & Reference Apps

CamScanner - Free or $4.99 (Compatible with Android devices 2.0 or later)
CamScannerHD (tablets) and CamScanner (phone) turns your device into a document scanner. Scan any document and the app will convert it into a PDF.

SketchBook Express - Free or $1.99 (Compatible with Android devices 3.0 or later) This app is a virtual sketchbook for all of your drawings and doodles.

TED - Free (Compatible with Android devices 2.1 or later)
With the TED app, you can access hundreds of talks from some of the world’s biggest innovators.

Android Math Apps

Collection of math apps for adults challenged with dyslexia and other learning challenges

Kid Math Game by divmob---Try this app right now on your computer. You control the app with your mouse and keyboard to experience it like you would on your phone. You can test drive this app before you buy.

Source: Some of the apps in the above list were compiled from the University of Michigan’s article entitled Apps for Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities accessible from

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

Clip art courtesy of:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Praise of Home Educators

It's the middle of summer, and for many parents right about now, the summer vacation days may be getting a “little long in the tooth.” The children have already spent many hours in the pool. Picnics in the park and play dates at friends’ homes have become the order of most days when parents can manage them. By mid-July, well, the kids often begin to take the lazy, hazy days of summer for granted.

If you are a homeschooling parent, however, your children may still be learning and doing their lessons even though it’s quite a few days after the 4th of July. That is because as a home educator, you can choose to homeschool or “unschool” your children the year round. As a result, your children are with you throughout the regular school year as well as over the summer.

There are many reasons why you may have chosen to homeschool. You may see it as a unique opportunity to address the special needs of a struggling learner or to provide a gifted child with “worthy” and challenging lessons and activities that will “stretch” him or her. You know (and love) your children best, and so you can be particularly suited---and motivated---to provide exactly what your child needs for learning to be most successful.

Patience is the virtue that you as a homeschooling parent have in abundance, and it is a good thing when you are BOTH parent AND teacher to your children---year round! It is almost a certainty that fortitude and determination play major parts in some of your days, especially when learning is not easily achieved with difficult math or science content. Creativity and resourcefulness cannot be far behind as you daily design lessons and create materials to reach and teach your child within the limits of a reasonable or low-cost budget. These are just a few of the many virtues and attributes you have to do what you do for your family.

So this article is written for the purpose of recognizing the special gifts and unique sacrifices you make daily as moms, dads, and even grandparents in the U.S. who have chosen to educate your children or grandchildren in your own homes. I tip my hat to each of you and in praise of your stamina, persistence, and enthusiasm given to homeschool your children---each day. Keep up the great work, homeschoolers!

To show our sincere appreciation of you, we have included the following educational resources that we hope will help make your good work just a little bit easier in the days ahead:

Special Needs Resources

An opportunity to level the playing field for diverse learners has arrived. With the use of mobile devices and a set of apps, barriers to learning can be removed and we can now set the stage for access to learning by all students. (by K. McClaskey)

A collection of resources for sensory learners

An exceptional library of resources for parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum (from

A variety of special needs resources all in one place (ideas, tools, publications, and more!)

Gifted Resources

This all-things-gifted site is full of resources, articles, books and links to help and support parents, teachers, and gifted children alike. Explore them all!

Literature and other resources for parents and teachers of twice-exceptional children (gifted with special needs)

Math Resources

Marvelous Math Morsels for Young Mathematicians---math resources for all age and grade levels

Math Is Fun---Math resources for K-8 (includes Geometry, Algebra, worksheets, etc.) fun yet challenging lessons & activities in secondary (& college level) mathematics & computer programming for students & teachers (Created by 2 math teachers)

Science Resources offers a variety of lesson plans that align with education standards to allow students to apply the principles engineering, math, computer science, and physics through hands-on activities.

Links to almost 200 sites about general science, science education, and science topics for students of all ages

Reading Resources

Customizable tools and strategies to help readers challenged with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, low vision, stroke recovery or TBI issues and other conditions that affect reading ability.

From Includes a reading checklist, typical language accomplishments for different age groups, book suggestions, and resources for children with reading problems

Reading resources, tools and related articles, etc. from Scholastic

Information about dyslexia

Teacher’s Blog: Help for Struggling Readers--60 articles with hundreds of reading resources ALL in 1 place! (includes info & resources for readers with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, low vision, and other issues that can affect reading ability)

Other Resources for Home Educators

The Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. & resources for home, homeschool, and classrooms

FREE information and access to many homeschooling resources

This site offers articles on a variety of curriculum, homeschool ideas, statistics, and more. These include how-to articles, informative articles, and other homeschool issues. (Created by homeschooling parents to help fellow homeschoolers)

Current statistics on the number of homeschoolers in the U.S.---provided by Ann Zeise (2011 data--includes number of U.S. children who are homeschooled and individual state totals)

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

Clip art courtesy of:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Dozen for Autism--A Book List for the Spectrum

The most recent statistics regarding the prevalence of ASDs (autism spectrum disorders) in the U.S. and abroad that were published this past March are more than sobering.

Here are just some of the statistics reported (Data to 2008 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMarch 29, 2012):

About 1 in 88 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

ASDs are reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

ASDs are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252).

Reference: Information and statistics above courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: (Add’l. information with data chart for 2006-2008 can be viewed via this URL as well.)

In light of this most recent data, we wanted to provide an updated book list for our readers seeking current information on the topic. We hope this list will offer the information needed to help many on the autism spectrum. I wish to thank Mrs. Noelle Bearer Mador who created the document, Special Needs Books to Read, the basis for the following booklist for autism:

1. How to Teach Life Skills to Kids with Autism or Asperger's by Jennifer McIlwee Myers

2. 10 Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew by Ellen Notbohm

3. 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's by Ellen Notbohm

4. Bright Not Broken by Diane M. Kennedy, Rebecca S. Banks, and Dr. Temple Grandin

5. Different Not Less by Dr. Temple Grandin

6. The Way I See It by Dr. Temple Grandin

7. Thinking in Pictures by Dr. Temple Grandin

8. Emergence: Labeled Autistic by Dr. Temple Grandin

9. Kids Beyond Limits by Anat Baniel

10. Be Different by John Elder Robison

11. Autism Spectrum Disorders: The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Other ASDs by Chantal Sicile-Kira and Temple Grandin

12. Between Their World and Ours: Breakthroughs with Autistic Children [Hardcover] by Karen Zelan

Additional Data and Resources for Autism

Data for the prevalence of ASDs by state (from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network -2012)

The 2012 data (from 2006 and 2008) in chart format

Austism Services Providers (listed by state)

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

Clip art courtesy of: