There’s no way to pick just a few educational apps and call them the best of the best. Every educator’s search would be different depending on the subject matter, grade level and purpose the app would serve in the classroom.
Generally speaking, the apps we’ve listed on this website are great choices for elementary aged students with speech/language needs. The apps on this particular page offer a fun and affordable way to build in some extra practice with early literacy and math skills, an intro to geography and even some basic mechanics… Please keep in mind our target audience, and know that there are endless resources online to help teachers find apps to address specific classroom curriculum.
We can start by directing you to the Teach Me series of apps by 24X7 Digital LLC. Parents and teachers rave about these. These developers bring us Teach Me Kindergarten, Teach Me First Grade and Teach Me Second Grade. All offer fun and motivating grade-specific reading, writing and math activities for $2 each.
These next apps happen to be favorites of mine at the moment. They are really just a sampling of what is available on the market and listed here because of their affordability, the results they get and how excited my kids are to play them.
For early literacy skills, Rocket Speller by Little Big Thinkers is a hit across the board. Our kindergarten classes just love it. Spell words, build a rocket. It’s a great way to connect articulation skills with sound sequencing skills. The graphics are widely appealing to both boys and girls and the four different levels make it successful for everyone. Wonderful way to reinforce written literacy skills for kindergarten, first and second. Absolutely free.
Another FREE app that every kindergarten, first grade and early special ed teacher should have is Endless Alphabet from Callaway Digital Arts. This phonics-meets-vocabulary app is put together just right. Each letter sings out its own letter sound with flair as children drag it into place to form the word, and when the word is completed, a highly entertaining short animation plays to demonstrate the meaning of the word. You can’t go wrong with this one. Whether you are working on sound-symbol correspondence or looking to build vocabulary, this app (that your kids will pick for a reward…) will have you scratching your heads as to why it’s free.
For young children just working on writing their names and simple words, there is a top quality app from the people who bring us Injini called Write My Name. Enter your child’s name, take a photo and have your child record her name. The name will be recreated in big traceable letters. Your child hears each letter named as it’s completed and when she finishes writing all of the letters in her name, she will be rewarded by the sound of her recorded name playing. There is also a set of alphabet word cards to trace in the same style, with gentle musical and visual prompts to help your child experience success. All of the top of the line programming that you expect from this company are built into this highly engaging $3.99 app.
Word Wizard is a really handy little app that lets you hear what you type, as you type it. Think talking magnetic letters on your fridge. Basically, it will sound out the words for kids as they add each new letter. Fantastic way to promote letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, literacy skills, spelling, you name it. Have your child type in his name and let the phonemes blend together until the whole name is read back to him. Enter your child’s spelling list and let her practice spelling those words with all the sound-symbol reinforcement that comes from hearing each sound as it is added. Great for teachers, great for SLPs. Great for parents at home. $2.99.
For handwriting and letter-sound correspondence practice, LetterSchool by Boreaal is a sure crowd pleaser. Kids have a blast forming their letters and numbers, and are getting great auditory, tactile and visual feedback as they do. Each letter or number comes with three progressively more challenging letter tracing tasks. This attention grabbing app will have your kids laying down train tracks, writing in dirt and stringing together candy bracelets as they trace through A to Z and 1 through 10 again and again and again. The graphics and auditory feedback are wonderfully reinforcing, and the built in support and gentle reminders guarantee their success. Speech therapists will love the way each sound is paired with a visual image and the sound the letter makes (This is the letter M, for m-m-mouse! ), and occupational therapists will like the way this app holds out for the proper (top down) letter formation. Kindergarten teachers will want a copy on every iPad they have in the room. Download the free version or just go ahead and snap up the full version for $2.99.
For math and number sense for your young learners, there is nothing more magical than Little Bit Studio’s Bugs and Buttons. This is one of those apps that immediately raised the bar for all other early education apps. The music and animation come together perfectly to introduce your kids to counting, patterning, sequencing and other skills. This app and their newer ones Bugs and Bubbles and Bugs and Numbers are three of my all time favorites. $3 each and worth every penny.
For a great way to practice elementary math skills at home or at school, also be sure to grab Rocket Math by Dan Russell-Pinson. Motivating activities have your kids working out math problems to earn money and build their rocket. $1.
For an intro to geography, Stack the States is a clever, addictive tetris-esque way to learn all your states and capitals. This, too, comes from Dan Russell-Pinson. There is something so engaging about this little app that you might catch yourself playing it when your kids are nowhere in sight. $1.
And for some early physics, there is yet another app from Dan Russell-Pinson, Monster Physics. Kids design vehicles and send their inventions out on missions. This app masterfully works creativity, concepts of physics, deductive reasoning and even tenacity into a highly rewarding problem solving game. Boys and girls from kindergarten right up to 5th grade will have fun with this one. On sale right now for $1.