Duck Duck Moose is an award winning developer of preschool and kindergarten educational apps with familiar apps as their Wheels on the Bus, Old MacDonald, Draw and Tell, Park Math and Word Wagon to mention a few of their interactive apps.
Duck Duck Moose’s most recent app, Kindergarten Reading (introductory offer for .99) for iPad is the first in a series of apps they have created based on Common Core State Standards in reading.
Kindergarten Reading app features foundational reading skills at the kindergarten level:
- Teaches phonics – recognizing and naming upper and lowercase letters
- Demonstrating knowledge of letter-sound correspondences
- Isolating and pronouncing sounds in CVC words
Here is a video of the app features:
The app provides interactive activities with age appropriate characters and also provides progress information or “lesson plans” reports on users. Kindergarten Reading app introduces letters based on the frequency of letter use in everyday lnaguage and the order in which students tend to learn them ” (Kindergarten Reading app, 2012, retrieved on December 7, 2012 from app) and work with word families, consonant and vowel sounds needed for the foundations of reading. The ability to track performance is available in the “Parents” section and shows what consonants, short or long vowels the student is working on and if they reached mastery on them.
Kindergarten Reading provides prompts when appropriate in some activities It requiring letter sounds, limiting students ability to just visually match letters instead of using a phonetic awareness or strategies to determine correct answers. Prerequisites of identification of words and consonent sounds are needed for engagement or support by an adult in the app may be needed for emergent learners who do not have phonetic awareness knowledge or strategies.
The app moved along in activities of “find the sound” quickly allowing users to earn new animals as they successfully completed activities in the app. The speed of objects or words scrolling across the screen was fast requiring a quick responses to listen to the word or item and match with the verbal request given. Some students who might struggle with processing this auditory information might find this frustrating. It would be a great addition for special needs students to slow the speed of the items presented and provide a button to repeat the sound requested. Offering varying speeds such as slow, medium or fast might allow differentiation for student at differing levels of skill acquisition and ability. Background and animal sounds are able to be turned on and off in the app.
Duck Duck Moose’s has a blog providing a free, accompanying Kindergarten Activity Workbook to the Kindergarten Reading app with paper-pencil activities to reinforce learning letter sounds and word families.
Duck Duck Moose has produced another engaging app that supports Core Curriculm Standards in the area of reading for kindergarten students. As a home or school activity app, assessment data provided helps parents or teaching staff understand the users skill levels. As an adjunct to classroom reading instruction, Kindergarten Reading app can help reinforce user skill development and assist parents in understanding core standards of the reading curriculum. Offering workbook activities also can provide non-electronic means of working on the skills, balancing hands on activites with and screen time limits for learners. Knowledge is power. With the app and worksbook activities provided to parents can help with the understanding of reading development of students at a young level.
Just a couple of options that I would like to see include adding a button to repeat the auditory instruction of the activity if needed. Visually there is much of interest in the app and students who do not have strong receptive language skills would benefit from having a repeat directions button or tool. Options of having the responses provided at different speeds would help differentiate the task to a variety of learners.
Kindergarten Reading app is a nice addition for kindergarten students who are working on phonetic skill development. Although this is not particularly an intervention OT’s may work on, my experience is we may assist parents or teachers with determining appropriate apps for students we service. Pass the word on to teachers and parents to check it out this app while at the introductory price!