Preschool -Expressive/Receptive Language Apps

Click each tab for information about a particular app, and how I use it in speech and language therapy with my students.
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Toca Tea Party


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This app is especially exciting because it can be used with a group of three Head Start - Preschool students, with language delays, at one time. During therapy, I get considerable amounts of language from my students through this one app that would have, using traditional therapy, taken lots of money and time to set up: buying a tea set, table cloth, candles (a little scary), a variety of cups/mugs/plates and fresh deserts and tea. That lesson would cost much more than the $2.99 I paid for Toca Boca Tea Party!

I position my three students around the iPad relative to the three place settings. All lessons are individualized based on student current needs on IFSPs and IEPs. Generally speaking, we take turns setting up the tea party by following directions and working on receptive language skills. When we are ready to begin, I switch the purpose of therapy to expressive and receptive language. We work on using modals (can, would) to ask questions and make requests. We practice answering yes/no questions and “wh” questions. Expressively we discuss our actions in present progressive tense and past tense, as well as practicing social interaction skills. I sometimes need to hold the iPad to my body to gain attention for expressive language practice (similar to removing a distracting object during a therapy session to gain attention). When students have difficulty taking turns, we practice this skill by verbalizing “It’s your turn, it’s my turn”. I provide a model if needed, but after 3-4 trials of tea party, my students are able to use the language on their own.

The most brilliant part of this interactive app is how well my students (even the most severely language impaired) are able to transfer what they’ve learned to the housekeeping center in their classroom. I have observed a few of my students tell other (non speech and language) students “let’s play toca boca tea party”. They set up the tea cups, plates, glasses and pretend food in the same configuration as the app. Even more exciting is the transfer of language. They act as waiters and waitresses using “Would you like?” and “Can I have?” Brilliant!!

Examples of Language Skills Targeted
Receptive language:
(I try to develop the questions prior to our session and take data on student success/failure so that I can reinforce or re-teach during the next session)
“Put the cloud table cloth on the table”, “Give April a purple plate”, “Give Donald a mug of coffee” “Give me a square cake” Light the candles and turn on the music”, “Give Mable a circle shape desert”, “don’t eat your desert unless I knock over my tea”, “get a tissue and clean up”. Students also love to give each other directions.

Expressive language:
“Can I have a tea cup?”, “Can I have the purple plate”, “I want the purple plate instead of the white plate”, “Would you like some tea?” “What type of desert would you like?” “How can I help you?”, “I would like a square/triangle/circle desert”, “I would like the donut with sprinkles”, “Thank you”. I really encourage my students to add as many details as possible in their expressive language.


Toca Birthday Party Playtime


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Exactly the same as Toca Tea Party except with a birthday theme, party poppers to open, and cake instead of other desserts. There is also a present to open at the end of the party. In addition to all of the language developed during Tea Party, you can focus on using descriptive words to request items. I require my students use details to describe the piece of cake they want to eat. For example: on the panda cake there are two pieces with an eye. Students ask, “Can I have the piece of cake with an eye?”, or “Can I have the piece of cake without the eye”.


Toca Hair Salon


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Similar to Tea Party but I typically use this app with one or two students at a time since you can only style one character at a time. After students choose one of the 6 characters to style, they are given a choice of six styling tools and spray paint colors. I predominantly use this app for expressive language development of present progressive ing and past tense ed. Students are able to use the words combing, cutting, blowing dry, styling, painting, shaving, moving hair up/down, taking a picture, and coloring/painting. Not all of the verbs are typical of a preschool classroom (hopefully none of these children are shaving yet), but many of them are extremely relevant to classroom activities. My students love the fact that they can comb the character’s hair, then cut it and grow it back with special styling gel. We talk about the activity as they are doing it and I require them to verbalize their actions. If they don’t, then no iPad. It’s quite a motivator.

We also talk about the noises in the background and since my students are city dwellers, they are able to identify most of them. The boys love to shave the character bald (don’t know why) vs. the girls who choose many different colors and styles. It’s hysterical to hear the students explanations of why the character makes comments (“ooooo” or “mmmhmm”). This allows for practice of negation: “She doesn’t like it” or “He doesn’t want us to do that”. We also work on reading facial expressions. After the students are satisfied with their creation, we take a picture. We look at our pictures and then use past tense verbs to talk about what we just did. For example: “First, we combed her hair”, “Then we shaved it all off”, “Next, we painted her bald head pink”, “She didn’t like it”. My students love retelling the story. Again, I have preset language targets chosen before working in the app that align with students’ goals and objectives. Each session is customized to meet student needs.


Toca Robot Lab


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Similar to the other Toca Boca Apps, I use this app with one student to work on sequencing steps of robot making. We start off with a question: “How do we build a robot?” We sequence the steps, “First we have to choose the legs”, “Then we have to choose the body”, “Next we have to choose the head”, “Finally we have to choose the arms” (we often discuss why certain types of arms were chosen- a wing was chosen to help him fly). Before I allow the students to help the robot fly, they must sequence all of the events taken.

Complementary worksheet for Speech and Language Therapy and Development:
Click here to download a worksheet of Toca Robot parts to use in teaching following directions, describing and sequencing.

Thanks to Toca Boca for making their images available on Flickr.com


Toca Doctor HD


Toca Boca HD for iPad


Toca Doctor for iPhone


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This app can be used with one to two students at a time. Language targets are similar to other Toca Boca apps. During this app we work on describing how we are helping the patient: We are helping her burp, putting band-aids on to cover her “boo boos”, fixing her ear so she can hear, fixing her broken leg so she can walk again, putting the parts in the right place so her heart will beat, putting the gears in the correct order so she can think. I need to extend this app by providing additional information about the body functions (ears, throat, stomach, intestines, heart, bones, etc). It’s difficult to use this app as a stand alone app. I have to turn to books and have tied this into a lesson conducted by the preschool teacher. (A great addition would be kid friendly videos added to explain body functions.)

How I use this app in speech therapy:
I am a huge fan of everything Toca Boca, and once again the developers and toy makers have created an amazing app with endless possibilities for speech and language therapy. My students love having the ability to choose from 4 different characters, each with a distinct personality, likes and dislikes. As a therapist, I love the fact that the characters make faces when they like or dislike foods and/or if foods are not prepared correctly. For example, the ox absolutely refuses to eat the steak (for good reason) cooked or not, and it magically disappears. I try not to go into too much detail with my little ones about why he won’t eat it, but the irony is obvious to older students and they laugh out loud. During therapy sessions we try to determine which characters like which foods and also their dislikes based on facial expressions. We practice negation sentences such as, “She doesn’t like hay because it’s not people food.” or “He doesn’t like the broccoli because it’s not cooked”. We also practice using positive statements such as, “She likes the meat cooked.” and “He likes the potato boiled”.

My students love the fact that you can manipulate the food in many different ways before feeding it to the character. You can select chop, grind in food processor, boil, fry and microwave from the menu on the right of the screen (stacked orange blocks). This gives me an opportunity to target many different verbs as well as sequencing. I have developed sequencing cards that I use with the app. I give the students a series of directions (first chop the carrot, then put it in the microwave) using SymbolStix picture symbols. My students must follow the directions exactly in order to feed the food to the character.

With my more advanced students, I target “why” questions. “Why doesn’t she like the fish?” Answer: “She doesn’t like the fish because it’s not cooked”. You have to spend some time playing with the toy in order to understand the characters’ behaviors. Overall, with this simple app, you can work on a variety of speech and language targets. I have worked on the following grammar skills: negation, using verbs (present progressive (ing), past tense ed, irregular past tense), pronouns (he, she, they, it), auxiliary verbs (is,are), compound and complex sentences. In addition, I also use this app to develop students’ categorization skills (let’s feed him all of the fruits, vegetables, meats), sequencing skills (chop the egg then boil it) and comprehension (why did she make a bad face?).


Toca Store


Toca Boca
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This app allows students to practice shopping vocabulary skills. To begin, students are given five baskets with store catalogs from which they will need to choose a product to sell. I take this opportunity to talk about objects in categories. Again, I base lessons on the students’ IEP goals and objectives. If a goal is categorization, you can target toys, food (fruits, vegetables, sweets) and objects in the house. I hope the developers will add more objects even if they come at an additional cost. I would love to see more objects in categories (clothes, transportation, tools, etc). My students act as sales people, describing the goods to try to get the customers (other students) to buy them. For example: “This is jelly, you can use it to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich”. Students can also ask questions of the “store clerk” like “How much does the doll cost?” or “Do you have any pickles?” I am constantly amazed at the conversations that take place during app exploration. After deciding on a product to purchase, students place the item on the green square counter and the “store clerk” types in a price. After typing in a price a little change purse appears at the top of the screen. The customer taps on the purse to get the coins and places the coins in the cash register drawer. After the register receives the coins the “store clerk” pushes the blue shopping cart button and an eco-friendly shopping bag appears. Place the item in the bag and you’re done. When you’ve used all of your coins, the students get a receipt of things they’ve purchased. I use this time to practice the irregular past tense verb “I bought”.

Toca House


Toca Boca

How I use this app in speech therapy:
Toca Boca has again exceeded my expectations in the “Toca House”. Not only are the characters multi-dimensional with different personalities, but each room in the house has endless possibilities for language instruction. There are 19 games to choose from that show up randomly during play. Each play session begins as the sun rises over Toca House. Children are given 10 random activities before the sun sets and nighttime falls. I originally thought that a lack of control over activities would hinder progress on teaching language targets, however, during my first day of play with students I quickly realized that randomness was a good thing. Randomness=increased student attention.

I started off by introducing the lesson with the simple statement, “Someone made a mess in the Toca house, they need you to help them clean it up.” Challenge accepted! Half way through the game, they encountered a dirty Bo (big yellow bear like character) sitting in the bathtub and exclaimed, “He made the mess”. I have some pretty smart students!! I typically stay with an activity for 10 minutes, then move to other apps and language activities, but on Friday my students did not want to stop playing Toca House. Although the activities are simple, my students were highly motivated to complete each one with enthusiasm and wondered, “what do they want us to clean next?”. After the session ended, one student said that she was going to tell her teacher about my new game. She ran back into the classroom and used many of the verbs and concepts that we had just practiced. Yea!! Toca Boca!!

Several of my head start students are just learning to speak in full sentences so naturally, we worked on present progressive (ing) verbs. Here’s what Toca House has to offer for verb+ing, past tense ed and irregular verbs: washing dishes (washed), hanging up pictures (hung), hanging up clothes to dry (hung), mopping (mopped), sweeping (swept), sorting leaves (sorted), washing windows (washed), putting away food (put), sorting the mail (sorted), taking a bath (took), ironing clothes (ironed), putting clothes in washing machine (put), turning the washing machine on (turned), making a fire (made), planting flowers (planted), sorting berries, mowing the lawn (mowed), receiving presents (received), knocking on the door (knocked) and many more. In addition to verb practice, there is also ample opportunity to work on basic concepts. Here are the concepts I targeted last Friday (clean/dirty, wet/dry, up/down, above/below, fresh/rotten, broken, on/off, top/middle/bottom (shelf in refrigerator). Additional concepts include, adjectives (size, shape, colors, feelings, hot/cold, etc), pronouns and house related vocabulary (what do you see activity).

In the future, I plan on using the app to develop inferencing and comprehension skills though questions.
What does she want us to do? Who made this mess?
Why do we have to wash the dishes? Who left those footprints on the floor?
Why do we hang up the clothes? Who spilled the shampoo?
Why is she putting wood in the box? Who delivers the mail?
Should we play with matches? Who likes the barbell?
Why is she ironing? Who likes to cook?
Why do we have to wash out clothes?
Why doesn’t she like that yucky berry?
Are the windows clean or dirty?

How I use this app in speech therapy:
First Phrases is brilliant in its simplicity. Out of curiosity, I purchased this app without a specific student in mind. I found it cute, simple to use and very practical. Then I received a new student on my head start caseload: a little three year old (A) who was only communicating in single words. Naturally, I turned to Toca Tea Party, then to Toca Hair Salon, but quickly realized that her attention for the iPad was so minimal that I was going to have to go back to my old bag of tricks (therapy bag filled with language stimulating toys and games). So I went back to the pacing board and picture symbols to request toys. For parents and SLPs not accustomed to working with 2-3 year olds, a pacing board is a piece of stiff cardboard with a strip of Velcro attached horizontally. Then the SLP prints out pictures of toys and food items (laminates them)and attaches them to the board. The student and SLP point to each picture while saying the picture names “I want the ball”. As therapy progresses, picture sequences get longer and expressive language expands. After using the pacing board, I remembered…”WAIT, there’s an app for that!!!” : First Phrases.

Here’s why I love First Phrases. I hesitantly pulled out my iPad again for A thinking that I could always go back to the pacing board. I touched “play” and off we went. She sat, listened and interacted with 10 trials of sentences imitating each one as she pointed to the pictures. She was so excited when, after pointing to the three pictures, the characters actually performed the action. Here’s an example: “Drive the bus” –little grey mouse with pearl necklace drives the bus. We have not reached the challenge level yet, but this level allows the students to drag target pictures into a sentence in order to receive the animation. Ever since that first day, and only a few short weeks after starting with the app, A runs up to me and says, “I play iPad”. We have recently started recording her verbalizations of the sentences via the record and listen and watch feature. She loves hearing her own voice telling the character what to do. In addition to short phrases, I also work on using pronouns, verb+ing (driving) and past tense ed (he washed the car). I’m sure this is already in the works, but I would love to see a “More Phrases” app that targets verb+ing, plural /s/ and other early grammatical forms in sentences. My last request to developers is to add smaller versions (non touchable) of the pictures below the record button so that students have a visual aid and don’t have to rely on their memory to verbalize the sentences.

The app is extremely customizable. I have recently upgraded to include more characters so I can also target pronouns. To start, the program provides 3 characters (a cat, bear and mouse) and for .99 cents you can add a boy, girl and a dog. According to the SLPs who developed this program there are over 200 animations and more than 72 noun and verb combinations. You can choose from 2 parts (verb+object: roll the ball) and or 3 parts (verb+the+object: Put away the dishes). From the main settings page you can choose text on/off, voice out model (girl, boy, random), play format (easy, normal, challenge), language format, required number of phrase repetitions, verb choices, character choices and including recording after animation. The app also allows SLPs to keep track of which verbs are being targeted through the “Users” setting on the opening page.

Picture the Sentence HD (iPad only)


by Hamaguchi Apps

Picture the Sentence (iPhone or iPad)


by Hamaguchi Apps
Picture the Sentence
How I use this app in speech therapy:


(FREE: sample SMART goals and objectives aligned to this app)
Picture the Sentence is promoted as an app to increase language and auditory processing skills. Yes, it does what it claims to do, but it addresses SO MUCH MORE than just auditory processing (language understanding). If you have used this app with students with expressive language delays you have seen its effectiveness. The app begins with clearly articulated and perfectly paced (slowIy enough to process but not too slow that students were bored) verbalization of a sentence with (or without) picture cues. After the verbalization, a new page opens and students are required to pick the picture that matches the sentence they just heard and move it to a picture frame. What I love about this app is that after the presentation of the sentence and then selection of the correct picture, I have time to talk about the sentence and my students have time to practice verbalizing the sentence. Before moving on to the next target I have to physically select “Next sentence”. Many apps progress through targets at a set pace which does not allow for true speech and language practice and conversation. After practicing multiple sentences that include all grammatical targets (including articles “a” and “the”), my students are rewarded with a “Pick a door” game which they absolutely love. Students select different color doors to try to find the hidden animal.

Therapy Ideas during structured language tasks: After selecting the picture to match the sentence (receptive language), I take the opportunity to work on expressive language skills. My students verbalize the target sentence multiple times. We look at the pictures below (the pictures that were not selected and did not match target sentence) and take turns verbalizing those sentences as well. We discuss same and different and why the pictures are same/different.

Therapy Ideas for “Pick a Door” game: Any activity can be used as a therapy/learning moment. I require that my students ask to pick a door instead of just free playing (expressive language practice). Depending on their level of language use, I may require full sentences or short phrases such as, “open blue?", "blue door please?", "I want green door", "Can I open the red door?", "What’s behind the yellow door?", etc. After a student selects a door, they must report on what they have found before another student takes a turn. We, again, use language to express our disappointment or joy, “It’s empty, the animal is not there, I didn’t find it, I found the cat”. I never miss an opportunity to use all parts of the app to facilitate language production and understanding. If students seem more interested in the “game” part of the lesson, I remove the iPad (put it to my chest) until they are ready to fully participate (works every time).

A reviewer on iTunes mentioned she was disappointed because the production of target sentences was slow and her students did not like waiting (during the processing time and hourglass timer). I guess she did not realize this app was designed for students with auditory processing disorders and/or language delays. What’s most impressive about this app is the fact that it was developed using sound clinical knowledge and obvious clinical experience on the part of the SLPs who designed it.

Picture the Sentence is completely customizable, giving you control over every aspect of the game. Custom controls allow SLPs to teach skills in a hierarchical fashion (increasing difficulty level, decreasing/increasing wait time, fading visual prompts, and increasing complexity of subjects and sentence types):

Difficulty Level
Easy = slow presentation rate with visual prompts and clinically appropriate pauses.
Intermediate=moderate presentation rate with quick flash of visual prompts.
Advanced=no visual prompts and moderate to fast presentation rate.

Wait Time
This is the time between the presentation of a sentence and choosing the correct picture (0-40 seconds).

Visual Cues
Color drawings (easy for little ones to identify), Stick figures, or none.

Subjects
Pronouns (he, she, they), nouns (the boy, the girl, the children) and or mixed.

Sentence Type
Subject + verb (He is falling.)
Subject+verb+object (He is eating a cookie.)
Subject+verb+prepositional phrase (She is standing behind the fence.)
Subject+verb+object+prepositional Phrase (They are playing a game under the tree.)

Text: You can choose to have text on or off for your emergent readers.

Track Progress: You can choose to display progress tracker and or scores.

Door Game: You can choose when students receive a game opportunity (after 3, 5 or 10 correct responses or not at all)
There are two more apps from Hamaguchi Apps that are worth every penny if you have young (or older) students that have difficulty following directions that contain prepositions: Fun With Directions and More Fun With Directions. Once again, Pattie Hamaguchi and her team get everything clinically right! If I were one to use baseball metaphors (which I’m really not), I would say they continue to “Hit it out of the Park”. All skills are taught in a hierarchical way that promotes student learning. Directions in both apps are presented in a pleasing voice that is perfectly paced for students who need extra processing time. The pictures are simple enough that they are not visually distracting, but colorful and bright enough to keep student interest. As with all of the Hamaguchi Apps, these two apps are fully customizable (three levels of difficulty; text on/off; voice commands on/off; “Super Star” directions; and the ability to choose target concepts presented individually or randomly).

Fun With Directions includes ten concepts directly related to understanding teacher directions within the classroom: Give, touch, open, close, color, erase, top, bottom, middle, push. More Fun With Directions includes the additional school based concepts of above, below, behind, front, on, under, put in, take out, turn on, turn off, up and down. School curriculums are based on the assumption that students enter school with the basic understanding of directional concepts. Therefore, classroom curriculum may not include direct teaching of these skills. What curriculum developers do not take into consideration are the students who, for whatever reason, arrive at school without these skills and/or those with disabilities that prevent them from learning the concepts without direct instruction (such as my young students with autism). Having an app to assist me in direct teaching of these concepts has been invaluable because I can now teach them in a fun and interesting way that maintains student attention. There’s only so many times you can open and close a door, turn on and turn off the lights before other people in the school building start to get annoyed. The apps provide a level of repetition that is often impossible to achieve during traditional therapy sessions. For example: When teaching the concept “above” Patti Hamaguchi and her development team have provided multiple, clinically accurate opportunities for practice with similar but different scenarios (touch the bird above the nest, pop the bubble above the butterfly, pop the bubble above the cloud, put the star above the girl, put the star above the boy. By providing similar but slightly different scenarios, students continue to practice the same concept, but perceive that they are doing something different.

As I’ve mentioned before, even though an app is promoted as having a primary focus (i.e., receptive or expressive language), with a little creativity and thought you’ll find that all of the Hamaguchi apps are multifaceted and can be used across the entire language spectrum. I use all of their apps for both receptive language learning and expressive language practice. Not only do these apps help teach basic concepts and following directions, they also promote understanding of attributes and object functions. For example: “Do you see a girl with glasses? Put a big blue star above her” .

After using all of the Hamaguchi apps throughout the year last year and looking back on all of the skills my students have mastered because of them….I am looking toward the future and will be the first in line to buy the latest and greatest from Hamaguchi Apps.


Prepositions


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.


Prepositions - Spanish version


Doonan Speech Therapy
How I use this app in speech therapy:
In therapy I ask my young and early elementary students to imitate Milo’s action while other students in the group verbalize the action. We often practice target actions through body movements (using our imaginations for props) after Milo presents. After iPad use, I go back to “old school” and have the students choose a preposition from a surprise bag to act out. The students will often say “tadah” when they finish the action. As a fun extension activity, peers can guess the preposition.

There are 23 prepositions represented in this app including in/out, inside/outside, above/below, next to/between, across/around, behind/in front, near/far, on/off, on top/beneath, over/under, up/down. This app exposes children to the various prepositions via a little mouse’s (Milo) demonstration of the preposition. My students like the bright colors, but try to click on other objects in the room, expecting it to be more interactive. Unfortunately there is no way to control the order of presentation. For example, later developing concepts (above/below) are presented at the beginning of the learning session before earlier developing (in/out). There is a way to select a few concepts at a time and deselect others to prevent confusion. There are clear verbal instructions “Touch Milo to begin”. By selecting the green phrase button at the bottom, students hear the concept in a short phrase, but only after Milo has completed the action, not during. After hearing the phrase, SLPs can ask “wh” questions such as “where is Milo?”, “Why did he go beneath the water?”

On the Home page are 4 buttons: Instructions, Go, List of Words, and Settings. The Instructions button provides a list of suggestions for using the app in therapy. The green Go button starts the concept learning part of the app. The List of Words button allows you to choose the concepts you want to work on and whether or not you want them in random order. Even when “Random order” is turned off, you will continue to get later developing concepts before earlier developing (i.e., above/below before in/out). The Settings button allows you to turn off the background music and the voice over.


Interactive Storybook


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app with students ages 3-9 to develop narrative skills through an interactive story book. My elementary school and Head Start students love the adorable characters and the ability to touch objects and have them respond (bird singing, ball spinning, owl whooing, bees buzzing). I especially appreciate the open endedness of the story and the way the developer allows the user to choose between text on the page or off. I have used this story in many different ways since it’s release. It can be used as a basic story (with or without narration) to target comprehension of “wh” questions . Example: Page 1, “Why is Milo looking out the window?”, “Where is Milo?”, “What does Milo see?”, “Who is looking at Milo?”, “Is it winter or summer?”, “Is Milo sad?”, “How many birds do you see?”. I typically develop 5-8 wh questions per page and students are allowed to ask me questions too. It’s really amazing how quickly students learn how to ask and answer questions when they are related to an interactive iPad app. This storybook has many fabulous features. From the settings button you can turn the background music on/off, turn narrator on/off (I start with narrator then turn off during 2nd and 3rd reading), turn text on/off, turn interactive features on/off. Having the ability to turn the text off is priceless!!! With this feature, students and SLP can use their imaginations to develop their own story. Then in the upper right corner there is a record button so students can record their own story. I have experienced sessions in which the students not only develop their own story, but then develop their own questions for each page as well (more advanced and or older students). The ability to develop a story makes this app one of the few that can accommodate a variety of IEP goals within one session. Here’s an example of a session with three students. Student A goal: asking questions using question words, Student B goal: using present progressive ing in sentences, and Student C goal: using correct lip closure for /p/ and /b/ production. During the session SLP narrates the story, Student A directs questions to student B “What is Milo doing?”, Student B answers “Milo is riding his bike to the park”, Student C produces words “bike and park”. Students record questions, answers and artic sounds and then play them back to self-correct or affirm accuracy. Great little story for both individual and group therapy.

The story lends itself to teaching pronouns (he, she, they), auxiliary verbs (is, are), present progressive ing (riding, kicking), past tense ed (during retell), prediction (Milo dropped his ball, the owl is sleeping, what will happen next?) , asking and answering questions, cause and effect, sequencing, narration, feelings, and vocabulary.


Clean Up


Different Roads to Learning
Pre-k – 1st and students with moderate to severe language disorders
How I use this app in speech therapy:
On the opening screen students must determine where to put an object. It is essentially categorizing on a very basic level. In order for the students to understand, SLPs must provide background information about target locations: Basket for food, People used to go to the market and instead of getting shopping bags, they had to bring their own baskets; Toy box, some people keep their toys in a box; and closet for clothing. Good reinforcement of correct answers (visual and verbal). Questions change as app progresses (i.e., “where does this go?”, “Where do you think this should go?”, “Where would you put this?”. To expand on app functionality, I have my students name the item, describe the item using attributes (the lemon is yellow, it is a fruit and it is sour) and then talk about its function. In the upper right hand corner you will find a percentage of correct responses.

Unfortunately there are only three categories and no way to control which objects or categories are used.


iTouch iLearn Words


Staytoooned
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Choosing the “Movie” sticker, students can listen to a brief animated movie. I use this activity to work on story retell. Students listen to the movie and after it finishes, they retell with detail. We continue to watch repeats of the movie until they get all of the details. For example, we chose “Baby” and the movie involves a baby walking, falling and then getting up and walking again. We worked on transition words and the word scene. “As the scene opened, the baby was walking across the rug to get to his airplane. He walked a little bit and then fell. After he fell, he got back up and walked out of the room”. One of my students commented that it looks like the baby is “dance-walking”. These little movies are also excellent for working on cause and effect. In the first movie “apple”, someone eats the apple leaving a seed which then grows into a tree. The tree produces an apple which falls to the ground. The last scene shows a worm in the apple. I always ask my students “who ate the first apple” and “Why did the tree grow?” It takes them a little while to figure it out, but the conversation to get to the answer is amazing, especially when 3 and 4 year olds are involved! The games are spell, word and picture. The “word” and “picture” games allow students to find objects when given a verbal prompt (find boy). During the “word” game, students have to find the written word. During the picture game, students match pictures to verbal prompts. The spell game allows students to spell words when given target word and cut out letters.
(also available for Android)

Dr. Pine Learns Prepositions


this title is no longer vailable in the App Store
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app to demonstrate prepositions to my younger students with language impairments. Dr. Pine, a cute porcupine who is a snazzy dresser, has a band of characters help him demonstrate 12 different prepositions. The prepositions include in front, around, between, under, behind, before, far from, back, near, inside, next to and on. Although the prepositions are limited, I like the fact that the preposition word is presented first, and then followed by the action. I have used this with a small group of preschool students to supplement a larger overall “kinesthetic/movement” lesson on prepositions. We first listen and watch the target preposition. For example, the action for the preposition “behind” consists of a bear hopping out and then his hippo friend hopping behind him. After watching, students act out the scene while the music plays on. One group of student went so far as to act out the little hand bobbing motions (too funny!). There is a replay button conveniently located in the bottom left hand corner just in case students need a reminder.


My Little Suitcase


Moms With Apps
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This pre-K app is very simple yet effective and goes along well with an old school lesson plan about clothing for different seasons. It is also a fantastic app to use as an introduction to touch controls on the iPad. In the camping scene, students move the lantern around to reveal hidden objects in the dark. In the winter snowflake scene students choose clothing and then have to manipulate the clothing onto a snowman. The house scene allows students to dress different stuffed animals. When targeting following basic directions for young children I provide verbal directions related to attributes such as “put the red and white socks in the suitcase”, “Put the shirt with stars in the suitcase.” I also ask basic questions such as “where is the shirt with stars?” “who are we going to dress today?”, “where is the kite?”.


My Play Home (iPad)


Shimon Young
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app with my preschool and elementary school students, as well as with middle school students with autism. They all love it! I use it in many different ways and all lessons are aligned with student IEP goals and objectives. With my Head Start students, after we complete the I do/You do/We do portion of the lesson, we play an I say/You do and a You say/I do game. For parents, by this I mean: I begin by demonstrating the skill while modeling the action and providing a description. This is “I do”. I then use hand over hand while providing verbal cues for the “we do” portion. For example, I move the child’s hand to the curtain and we open and close while verbalizing “open the curtain, close the curtain”. Then the child has an opportunity to complete the action on their own with a model for verbalizations.

After students have mastered several of the target concepts and directions (this can require several sessions for some students), I start the understanding directions portion of the lesson (receptive language). I let the student choose the room and then prompt them to listen. I have had to take the iPad away a couple of times if they start manipulating objects out of turn. Once they learn that there are two therapy activities we have to complete before they can have free play (2-3 minutes tops), they are on board.

In the “I say, you do”, I provide 10 directions over two trials (total of 20) of actions or words that were previously targeted. The directions may be simple or more complex depending on the needs of the student. A student with severe receptive language delay may need a simple direction (to start) such as “Turn on the tv” or “open (or shut) the curtain”, “turn on the light”. They may also be complex depending on student needs “before I turn on the TV, you turn off the radio”. The best part of the lesson comes when the students are given the chance to give me directions!! They are very creative. Hopefully they are using the grammar targets that we have been working on, but I often need to provide a model for reinforcement. I have seen definite improvement over time.

Update 1/17/12 - My PlayHome has added Backyard Fun!!

The addition of the backyard screen brings a whole new level of fun and therapy targets. My students are going to be so excited to see this update. In speech therapy, I plan on using the backyard scene to work on the concepts: around (put a character in the tire swing and swing it around, turn the wheel around), in/out (put characters in and out of the treehouse), above/below (above the tire swing), behind/in front (behind the tree, in front of the tree) and many more. I will also use it to target the following present and past tense verbs in sentences: jumping on the trampoline, pouring water over the plants, picking flowers out of the garden, picking apples off of the tree, climbing up the tree, swinging on the tire swing, honking the horn, waving the flag, growing carrots in the garden, watering the carrots, turning on the light, hiding behind the tree, holding a flower, eating the apples, pushing the baby in the swing, and running from bees. What a GREAT addition to an already fabulous app.


Speech with Milo Sequencing


Doonan Speech Therapy
Recommended ages: 1-7, older students with language delays.
How I use this app in therapy:
This Speech with Milo app has quickly become one of my favorites to work on narrative skills in young children. I use this app daily with my head start students (3-5 year olds) to target sequencing skills, transition words (first, then, next, last, before and after), pronouns, retelling events, using correct verbs in sentences and articulation. The app allows you to choose from 36 activities (from brushing teeth to riding a bike) which can be filtered within the “List of Sequences” tab. Once you’ve chosen your target sequences, tap the “home” button and then “go” to begin the activity. A narrator tells students to “Put the cards in order”. Prior to my students putting the cards in order, we talk about the event and what the characters are doing in each picture. Example: Milo playing baseball description might include, “First, he waits for the pitch”, “then Melvin pitches the ball to Milo”, “He hits the ball out of the park”, “Milo hit a homerun!”. After a discussion, students put the cards in correct sequence, verbalizing all events while I cover up “play movie” with my hand. I cover up “play movie” so they are not distracted while trying to verbalize the events. After we watch the adorable short movie, my students summarize what they have seen. This really is a fantastic app for early sequencing development. I would love to see additional events, perhaps 4-5 in a sequence. My students love the “tad ah” after the movie, but you do have the option of turning it off on the settings page. Additional options available on the settings page are: turning of/on unsuccessful sound (bike horn when student does not put pictures in correct order), turning spoken words on/off, turning written words on/off (very helpful if the students are good readers), and turning on/off hints.


What are they thinking?


Super Duper
Grades preK and up
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Super Duper is creating electronic versions of the card decks we have all carried around for years. While not interactive, they are definitely easier on the back!


iLearn with the Mighty Jungle: Animals! (iPad)


Tribal Nova
Ages 3 - 7
How I use this app in speech therapy:


…more info coming soon!


iLearn with Poko: Seasons and Weather


Tribal Nova
Ages 3 - 7
How I use this app in speech therapy:

I have had this little app for quite some time and completely forgot about it until my Headstart students started their “Seasons and Weather” unit. I apologize for not providing info about it sooner because it is a great app! I love this app for many reasons: First the graphics are very kid friendly and cute (love the monkey); second, it offers three levels of play which coincide with different developmental levels and or skill level; and finally it is an excellent tool for receptive language and auditory processing development.

In the first level, Bebe is looking for a specific picture and needs help from the students to find it. She provides clues which help eliminate pictures until there is only one left. The narrator asks students to find the three out of four pictures that have a certain attribute (find the 3 pictures without clouds), then the two pictures that show the targeted season and finally the last clue involves an action in the picture (it rained earlier that day). The developers truly understand what it takes to learn a skill. There may be three different trials, but all of the clues are the similar (although the kids think they are different, LOL, and never get bored). If you need a direction repeated click on the microphone. To get help click on Mr. Murphy the monkey.

Level 2 teaches students what to wear for each type of weather. I use this as an expressive language exercise where my students have to describe the incorrect type of clothing before clicking on it. The narrator first provides the season and then instructs students to “click on the things that don’t fit the weather”. Students must find three errors (similar to the back of the Highlights magazine). Once students click on the error, it disappears, so make sure they verbalize before touching it. Once all errors are found the narrator takes a picture. I find level 2 is a great way to start a discussion about the clothes we wear for each season and to complement the dress up for seasons activity that the teachers do in the classroom.

The final level, Level 3, is more advanced and too difficult for most of my little ones but would be perfect for pre-K or K students. The narrator asks students to fill Poko’s calendar based on the weather conditions for the day (sunny, cloudy, stormy, rainy, windy, etc). To complete this level, students must understand the months in each season and activities for each weather condition. You will have to work on these skills outside of the app before attempting this level. Here’s an example of Level 3: In the month of June the narrator tells the students that this is a summer week and on Sunday it was stormy. Students have to look at all of the pictures at the bottom of the calendar and decide what Poko did that day (i.e., did he rake leaves, did he go fishing, did he go swimming or did he stay inside). Once students have figured out the answer they move the picture onto the calendar.

Overall, I highly recommend this app to work on following directions, verbalizing seasons and clothing worn for each season and weather conditions. Added bonus: The narrator’s voice is very soothing, clear and calm.


Splingo's Talking Universe


Talking Wizard LLP
How I use this app in speech therapy:
This is one of the first apps to specifically target following verbally presented directions. From the main page, you can choose the number of words in a direction (1-4) and the types of words/concepts to be included (nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives). There is also an option to use a US dictionary or UK dictionary. Although all instructions are given with a cute British accent, my American students are still able to comprehend and follow the directions. My students love the little alien in the corner and often wait for him to yawn before completing the direction (They think it’s hysterical). When the students have completed a series of directions they are then rewarded with a spaceship puzzle.
This app is no longer available in the App Store

i Can Do It By Myself!


ZunZun Books LLC
Author: Mary Gustafson; Illustrator: Dana Regan
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Charming and engaging illustrations bring this awesome book app to life. Work on early grammar skills such as verbs (present progressive ing, past tense ed, irregular past tense), pronouns (myself), compound sentences using “and”, answering “wh” questions “who is tugging?” You can choose to read the book by yourself or have it read to you by a narrator.

Verbs: brushing, brushed, squeezed, dripping, dripped, looking, spilling, tying, barking, putting on shoes, go/went, washed, rolling, walking, pulling, tugging, looking, buttoning, wagging tail, trying on clothes, hanging up clothes, standing on toes, drinking, spilling, eating, wishing (dog wishing for toast), opening, teasing, sharing, crying, cleaning, picking up, whining (dog crying for food), dropping, washing, bathing, drying, popping, kissing, sleeping.


Five Little Monkeys


LoeschWare LLC
How I use this app in speech therapy:
I use this app to target asking and answering “wh” questions, specifically “who” and “what”. I also use this app to target present progressive ing (jumping, calling, crying, falling) and past tense verbs (she called the Dr., she fell, he cried). I really like how the developer has added touch vocabulary words (touch the object and hear the name), and the ability to touch individual words. You can turn the music on and off.

Examples of wh questions: Who took a bath? Who put on pajamas? Who brushed their teeth? Who called the doctor? Who fell? Who said good night? What did the doctor say?

Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car


Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Author and Illustrator: Eileen Cristelow
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Fantastic book app for practicing adjectives and descriptor words. It’s also ideal for practicing prediction skills (what will the monkeys do?). The author has provided an opportunity for prediction on every page! After reading I have my students summarize the events in the correct order while providing details. We return to the story without narration to confirm our summaries.

Adjectives: rickety, dirty car, broken car, big sign, cheap car, sticky, slimy, old, grimy, icky, little, rusty, stinky, colors, terrific, brown, swampy (lake), wet swampy (goo), strong, ill, wreck, pale, new (car), fancy, convertible (top), heap.

Verbs: scrub, glow, spray, clean, laughing, buy, painting, sprays, pushing, driving, park it, rolling it, steering, rolling, quake.


The Going to Bed Book for iPad/iPhone


Loud Crow Interactive Inc.
Author and Illustrator: Sandra Boynton
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Perfect book app to work on early learning concepts with 2-3 year olds. This little app looks just like the actual board book and amazingly, the pages turn just like the board book too. The music is very soothing and the animations are traditional Boyton. I use this app with my little ones to work on two word phrases and automatic language (uh oh, oops, oh no, up/down, peek-a-boo, etc). There are some fun surprises that will amaze you! Turn on the hot water when they are brushing their teeth and pull back on animals that are walking up stairs to exercise.

Early language skills: Rocking, back and forth, peek-a-boo, open/close, scrub, squeak, on/off, pop bubbles, more bubbles, my turn, swinging, hang up, brush teeth, turn off light, goodnight, snoring.

Montessori Pre-Language Exercises - Opposites



Rantek Inc.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Opposites, prepositions …more info coming soon!
This app is no longer available in the App Store

Zanny Born to Run


Extra Special Kids, LLC
Author: Pamela Slone-Bradbury; Illustrator: Allison Garwood
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Cute interactive story about a boy who is always on the run. This book app can be used to describe actions and compare the character to animals (faster than a chicken, faster than a rabbit, swifter than a cheetah, brisker than a puma, quiet like a bear cub).


The Cat in the Hat


Oceanhouse Media, Inc.
Author and Illustrator: Dr. Suess
How I use this app in speech therapy:
An interactive app of a cherished children’s book. The narrator’s voice is very pleasant to listen to and students can tap pictures to hear vocabulary words. I use this app to develop comprehension skills and the ability to answer wh questions. If you hold down the paragraph it is repeated. I use this feature to help students answer questions if they do not recall the events in the story.


The Monster at the End of This book…starring Grover!


Sesame Workshop Apps
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Loveable furry Grover is the star of this perfect book app. I have to say that I’m a little biased when it comes to Sesame Street and Grover as I grew up with all of them. Grover, of course, was my favorite!! I have many warm and fuzzy memories of learning concepts through songs and stories. Thank you Sesame Street!! This book app is amazing in the way they take the standard “ The Monster at the end of this Book” and turn it into an animated interactive experience. My students love the way Grover talks to them (with the real authentic Grover voice) and is animated. I’ve had students apologize to him for turning the page!! I love how Grover asks students to turn the page (focusing on following directions). His commentaries are hysterical…my students literally laugh out loud at Grover’s dramatics “I’m soooooo scared of monsters!!” They wait to turn the pages so they can hear what he has to say. It’s fantastic how the words appear as Grover narrates the book, encouraging sight word reading. Language skills targeted during sessions include: comprehension of story ideas, answering wh questions, following directions, using present progressive verb ing, negation (don’t, shouldn’t, can’t, not), adjectives (heavy, sturdy, brick wall), humor (why is it funny?), summarizing events and sequencing events, and vocabulary. You will laugh out loud at this book every time you read it even if you’ve heard it 10 times. He is hysterically funny and sarcastic!


Another Monster at the End of This book…starring Grover and Elmo!


Sesame Workshop Apps
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Again, another genius creation by Sesame Street. Friends solving problems together!! Elmo’s sunny disposition is a fantastic contrast to Grover’s sarcasm. Elmo gives directions (using the “original Kevin Clash” Elmo voice) and encourages students to go to the end of the book by working against Grover’s attempts to keep the pages put. Elmo encourages students to remove paper clips, knock down blocks, wipe off glue, crack the safe while Grover encourages students to add more glue. Language targets are similar to “The Monster at the end of this Book”.


The Tortoise and the Hare: REMATCH!


by See Here Studios
The Tortoise and the Hare: REMATCH!
How I use this app in speech therapy:


Slow and steady wins the race is a difficult concept to teach little ones who are always on the go, but this classic tale retold with a twist makes it a tad bit easier. Tortoise and Hare: Rematch! is based on the classic Aesop's fable that I remember from my childhood and I’m sure my mother remembers from her childhood. Throughout my lifetime I have often said “Slow and Steady wins the race” to myself in difficult trying times (like graduate school for Speech Pathology). That phrase is right up there with “take it one step at a time”. Thank you Wallace E. Keller from See Here Studios for moving this classic story forward and answering the question of “What happens next?”. Brilliant!!

My students were mesmerized from the very beginning. Even though a few of my students had recently heard the story, in book form, in their classroom, the story in app form kept their attention. Although, via a search on Wikipedia I discovered that a hare and a rabbit are NOT the same thing, we still worked on multiple meaning words since my 4 year olds could not find the “hair” in the story as they were looking for a wig. This was a perfect opportunity to work on multiple meaning words and vocabulary (synonyms) throughout the entire story (hare/hair, tortoise/turtle, ridiculous/silly, signal/go, set off/went, woods/forest, meadow/grass). The illustrations are beautifully done and the narration is amazing. The author, who is also the narrator, uses a calm soothing voice and the pacing is perfect for young children. Not too fast and not too slow. The interactivity is just perfect. Students are able to touch the characters and they respond with a brief noise or saying, which does not distract from the overall story.

Rematch begins as the classic tale of the infamous race with Hare deciding to nap instead of running and Tortoise winning by keeping a slow and steady pace to the finish line. As Tortoise nears the finish line, Hare awakes with a “Yikes!” and races toward the finish line at top speed but is unable to catch the tortoise in time. Tortoise is declared the winner. What happens next, is hysterical! The next page shows Hare laying on a couch in his therapist’s office (a wise old owl) holding a copy of “Good Sport” magazine. This was a perfect opportunity to make predictions. My students loved coming up with suggestions for Hare. They suggested that he race again, not go to sleep, “Don’t be lazy” and run much faster. The owl therapist provides sage advice “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” and “You win some, you lose some”. In sessions after reading this story with my students, I reiterated this advice during other activities and amazingly a few remembered that it was the Owl’s advice to Hare. How cute is that? So, they race again….and I’m not going to tell you what happens. You have to buy the app to find out. Let’s just say, If at first you don’t succeed try, try again!”.

In addition to vocabulary, I was able to target answering “who”, “what”, “where”, “why” questions for each page and then summarization of the entire story. Adorably, my students had a blast acting out the entire story, including what happens after the first race (still a secret). We were able to follow along with the app as we acted it out and each student took on a character’s personality (luckily I’m in a space that has a long hallway for racing). I’m thinking about maybe adding costumes and props next year :-)

Alien Buddies


Artgig Apps
My Headstart students love this app!! I also use it with my older students with autism to increase attention and matching skills as well as basic iPad touch practice. It is not an app that was developed by speech pathologists to specifically target speech and language skills, but I discovered a fun inconspicuous way to target describing skills and expressive language via the sticker game. Interestingly, my students think that it’s just a fun game, but in reality it’s a great way to work on pre-academic skills.

The adorable aliens offer 4 different games (matching, puzzles, dot to dot and stickers). During the matching activity, students match little aliens to their corresponding spaceships (alien with a purple circle to a space ship with purple circle). Matching includes colors, shapes, letters and numbers. You have the option of choosing a visual prompt for color or auditory prompt (“listen”). Within letters, you can choose capitals, lowercase or mixed matching and within numbers you can choose form 1-10, 1-20 or 1-50. My students loved the puzzle games. I loved the fact that the characters are brightly colored and I could select 4, 6 or 8 pieces. During the sticker game I managed to work in receptive and expressive language practice without my students realizing it. LOL. “Put the red and white spaceship on the top of the mountain” , “Let’s make the earth bigger”, “find the alien that is furry and purple”. The possibilities are endless for using the sticker game to increase receptive and expressive language. I have worked on grammar, basic concepts (top/bottom, next to, behind, over, etc) and expanding sentence length. The more games you play the more stickers you earn. I played several games on my own before therapy to make sure we had a variety of stickers to play with. My students and I were very impressed with this app and they requested it all week!!


Millie and the Lost Key


Megapops, LLC
ages 3 - 3rd grade (+ students with autism, all grades)
How I use this app in speech therapy:

Dive into the imagination of a little dog named Millie as she embarks on a quest to reclaim her key to endless bacon. The plot alone is worth every penny that you spend on this app and then you, and your students/children, quickly realize that Millie and the Lost Key is so much more than the typical e-book. It’s a transfixing multi-media experience that grabs your attention, transports you to another world and keeps student attention until the very end, leaving them wanting to know more about Millie’s adventures. First of all, this app is beautiful in every way. Every choice the developers, Megapops, made, including the music, pictures, illustrations and narration is perfect and will draw you into Millie’s world from the very start. The music and narration provide a true Indiana Jones adventure feeling and the pictures and illustrations complement them beautifully. There are maps. There is a treasure hunt. There is an evil villain (a kitty) and a hilarious Moral of the story at the end. Best of all…it’s highly interactive with buttons to push, tabs to pull, gadgets to turn and pictures to scratch off!!

This is one app that can be used with a wide range of students from Headstart to Middle school. They were all mesmerized. Each page includes 1 to 2 paragraphs of the story which makes it perfect for listening comprehension activities.

Listening comprehension: answering and asking “wh” questions, answering factual and inferential questions such as: What is Millie looking for? Where was it last seen? Why did the piranhas wake up? Who took the key? I also include inferential questions: Why does Millie want endless bacon? Do you think Kitty is her friend? Why did Millie need to relax? How is she going to get the key back? Why is Millie still happy?

Grammar: verb+ing while the action is happening (you don’t see that in many apps) looking, flying, swimming, scratching, listening; regular and irregular past tense verbs: swam, flew, rode, climbed, heard, looked, lost, stood, fired (cannon-no one gets hurt), found, yodeled, soothed, jumped; pronouns: she, it, they, herself; and verbalizing short phrases. My students love talking about Millie. With my students who have difficulty verbalizing Millie’s actions I use a pacing board to provide visual support for phrases: Millie is looking for the key, Millie likes bacon, Millie sees pirates.

Vocabulary Development: With my elementary age and older students with autism, I have used Millie to teach the strategy of using context clues (related to Common Core) to determine the meaning of unknown vocabulary words. I have several older students who need to increase their awareness and knowledge of context clues. Millie is an excellent resource to build those skills. The authors/developers have included at least one “higher-level” vocabulary word on each page. As an educator, I applaud them!! My students and I use the context of the story to figure out word meanings. If they do not know the answer right away, I add additional text to the story. With my younger students we simply talk about word meaning and use character actions or story to demonstrate the word (example: rumble - Millie photo moves around like an earthquake and there is a rumble in the background sound effects).

Curriculum Based Activities: With my older students, we work on curriculum based language activities such as summarizing, identifying character traits, higher level grammar, answering and asking comprehension questions, paraphrasing and sequencing. It’s really amazing how many speech and language goals can be worked on during the reading of this one story. The thing I find most amusing is that there is a picture of Millie in a “jungle”, however the “jungle” is actually a picture of a college campus or park. My young students do not see the background….and it’s a lot of fun to discuss the various backgrounds and the irony with my older students! Yet another way to work on language skills!! (Students can compare and contrast the background to the actual story.)

I will end my therapy ideas here, because I could talk forever about this wonderfully rich app.


The Great Cookie Thief


Callaway Digital Arts, Inc.
How I use this app in speech therapy:
Me love “The Great Cookie Thief, Staring Cookie Monster”. Me use it with head start students. Me don’t like the fact that Cookie Monster refers to himself as “Me” instead of “I”, so me guess me will use it as a teachable moment. I grew up with Cookie Monster and Sesame Street and somehow still managed to acquire the rules of English Grammar (except for an occasional typo) without too much difficulty, so perhaps they meant it as teachable moment. I’ve gotten past Elmo referring to himself in the third person, so I guess I can get past Cookie Monster’s language impairment as well.

First of all, the town’s people have a serious problem. A cookie thief has been stealing all of the town’s cookies. After the opening scene of characters in a milk and cookies “bar” (hysterical), the story progresses to a scene of a “Wanted” poster with the infamous cookie monster. After a discussion about the Great Cookie Thief, in walks Cookie Monster (who looks exactly like the fuzzy blue monster on the poster) and the town’s people are perplexed. If you wait on each screen, the characters will continue to talk randomly about their dilemma. It really is very funny. Young students may not want to wait, but slightly older students will love listening to what they have to say. The character chatter includes rich vocabulary words (varmint, hasty, etc) and an excellent opportunity for therapy talk about non verbal communication, character feelings, vocabulary, as well as make predictions and solving absurdities.

Students are given the opportunity to compare the real Cookie Monster to the “Wanted” poster by finding characteristics that are the same between the two (googly eyes, black felt hat, red bandana, wide open grin). Excellent opportunity to work on same and different concepts. When using this story app in therapy, I was able to ask a wide variety of “wh” questions, target /k/ and /g/ to monitor production carryover to real life situations, have a discussion about using “me” and “I” in sentences and teach students how to make predictions.

I would like to thank Callaway Digital arts for brining the Great Cookie Thief to life, but have one request: Please add a pause button for character chatter. What I loved about the book app when watching at home prior to therapy (funny random character verbalizations) unfortunately became a problem during therapy. My students were unable to process my questions while being interrupted by the characters. I eventually muted the chatter using the iPad mute button. Don’t get me wrong, I am still highly recommending this app!! It is humorous, provides many opportunities for questions and verbalizations and is all around hysterically funny, especially the ending which had one of my 4 year old students laughing so hard she was crying and talking about it all the way back to class. I’m also planning on using it as an RTI lesson on a Smart Board in a HeadStart classroom!