Phonics / Phonemic Awareness

Entries into each section on this wiki will be structured so that this basic information is available. We will include the TITLE of the application, with a link to the broad description and rating on iTunes. The ICON is simply a screen shot of what will show up on the device. WHO describes the student you have used this particular app with. WHERE indicates whether the app was used at home, school, or in therapy. HOW describes the manner in which you used it. This is also the place to elaborate on other ideas for application. WHY/WHY NOT provides the contributer an opportunity to indicate the value of the app, whether they would use it again, and rationale for the opinion. We invite anyone else who has used the app to comment on anything about it... different whos, hows and whys....


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Sticky Notes for iPad
What: This app is intended for making notes to remember events, etc. However, we have found it useful for supporting:
• Content / structure of writing (see review)
• Phonics

Why: In the area of phonics, this app is perfect for activities such as:
• Visual sorts (see photo)
vis sort sticky notes.png

• Making words, using materials from Cunningham and Hall (see photo)
Making Words: Kindergarten
Making Wds Sticky Notes.jpg

Who: This app is appropriate for children from early elementary through adult. I have
used it with students who can physically move the sticky notes, and students who need support of a partner (see below).

How: This is a very user-friendly app. Just tap to create a note, and use the slide bar to change the font size. Color of note and font is also easily changed.

For students with motor impairments, use partner-assisted scanning. Examples:
• VISUAL SORTS: partner points to a yellow note (ex: lick), then moves it under the first column (pick), then the second (ball), pausing each time to let the student indicate which one s/he thinks is correct

• MAKING WORDS: partner gives the prompt. For example the letter i is already pulled up into position. Partner asks "What do I need to add to make the word 'in'?" Then partner points to each remaining letter in turn, and student indicates which one to select.

Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional Ideas:
I have used this app for scrambled sentences, charting, and scaffolding during writing activities. Patty Ashby MNS,CCC-SLP
I use OS features speak selection (have to turn this on) to read notes. -Deanna K. Wagner, MS/CCC-SLP
Amazing value for the money!!


• Would like to have optional recorded feedback
• Would love to have LARGER FONTS
• Would be nice to be able to 'set' color of notes (e.g., when you make a yellow note, it predicts that the next note will be yellow)

With the next upgrade (still free) you can now chooses a color for the font and the note!
montessori crosswords

This app is way beyond just crosswords. The picture below demonstrates one way this app can be used. It first provides a picture (which is named outloud) and the subsequent white spaces for letters after the picture. If you touch one of the white spaces, the sound of the correct letter is played. If you touch one of the letters in the letter rows, the sound of the letter also plays. I have used this app with a 12 year old girl who uses an ECO2 with switches/eye gaze. She uses her device to tell me the letters she wants to try when spelling the word. She struggles with phonemic awareness, so her ability to touch the white space and hear the sound of the correct letter, and her ability to then listen to the sound of the letter she thought was correct, was critical for her. It was as if a lightbulb came on in her head. She loved searching for the letter that matched the sound of the white space until she found the correct one. This was done by her telling me on her device which letters/spaces she wanted to listen to. Sometimes I also gave her physical support as she moved to the white space and /or letter she wanted to hear herself.
If you touch the question mark on the upper right, the word is shown for as long as you want it to be shown. Touching the picture on the left of the letters will repeat the word again.

Below you can see the simple crosswords available, and other options available.


Submitted by: Patty Ashby
Additional ideas/comments from others:
The app is wonderful and definitely worth the price.

Other activities available include words with consonant blends, and words of any complexity. There is also a moveable alphabet that provides the sounds of the letters as the user is playing with them.

Dora's Rhyming Word Adventures
What: This app provides games for four areas of phonics: rhyming, first sounds, last sounds, and inside sounds. Basically, students hear a word and try to find the picture that matches for the pattern tested. Data is provided so parents can track progress.

Why: Phonics skills have been found to correlate with reading achievement.

Who: This app is appropriate for children from preschool through first grade. While the skills might be appropriate for older students, the characters and activities are not age-respectful for older students.

How: Basically, for each game, Dora must win 9 tokens to get across the troll�s bridge. For example, for rhyming, the target word (ex: stick) is in the center, and six words rotate around it. The student must choose the matching word and drag it onto the target word. A wrong response means that the word is spoken, then removed. The right choice gives a verbal response �Si, chick / stick � they rhyme!�


Submitted by: Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional Ideas:
Concerns: First, like most phonics activities, this is basically a �test.� More of a concern is that the possible responses are circling around the target. This means that students must:
a) Visually process moving objects
b) Physically select a moving target
Thus, a visual-motor skill is added, creating unnecessary difficulty.

Also, to move to the next level, the student must complete the motor task of putting 9 tokens in a bucket, using a slingshot. Since I found this slightly difficult, I feel that students will spend a great deal of their time trying to complete this motor task, instead of working on the phonics activities.

What: Word BINGO is a typical bingo game, in which the 'Bingo Bee' calls out words that students identify by touching the word on the Bingo card. Words are presented in white letters on a blue background, in a simple font. Bingo boards include 16 high frequency words, across five levels (pre-primer through third grade). Correct responses yield a vocal reward plus funky face. Incorrect responses generate a negative sound plus a visual X.
Who: I have tried this with several students - it's great for students with good visual and motor skills. It's problematic for students who have any visual perceptual problems.

How: I felt that this program is sufficiently motivating to make the effort to 'adapt' it. Thus, I give the student a much more visually simple game; they get 6 or 9 of the 16 words, on a paper board. Then, the target student gets to find 'their' words when Bingo Bee calls out. If the student finds the words, we use a laser light to help him locate them on the iPad 16-word board, so they get the positive feedback. The partner has to try to find the remaining words.

Submitted by: Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional ideas from others: I use a Chalk app or Doodle Buddy with the Tic-Tac-Toe background. You have to write the words with your fingers in the squares, but it works pretty good. If you want more contrast, the Whiteboard app is probably the best choice, though I have not figured out how to type larger bingo with labels.jpg
This program has use for students with mild disabilities, but is frustrating for students with visual perceptual problems.

We should continue to search for a program that will allow the following:
� allow presentation of 9 or less words
� permit the teacher / parent to choose the words to enter
� offer better visual contrast
Banner Lite

What: Banner Lite is a one of the many scrolling programs. I first saw it at O'Hare airport, when the car service guy had my name scrolling across his iPad. Instantly, I wondered how we could adapt this program for students who are struggling readers!

Who: I have tried this with several students - it's great for students with poor visual motor skills, because the words are huge, and scroll slowly.

How: I felt that this program was worth adapting as a motivating phonics tool for students. Here are two of the ways that I've used it:
a) Catch-A-Word: Type in several target words for the student / class. Assign one word to each student (ex: Jason = up; Mariska = the; Carlos = at). When students see 'their' word, they indicate by calling out, pressing a voice-output switch, holding up a sign with the same word, or simply tapping the iPad one time to stop it on their word.
Note: Remember that if students have the target word as a sign, they are engaging in visual matching, not reading!

b) Pick-a-Word: Type in several target words for an onset + rime visual sorting game. Ex: Todays rimes are: it / an. Words on Banner Lite are: sit fan man pit lit Dan hit ran. Student taps iPad to start scrolling, then taps to stop. Help student read word, and place it in the correct column.
Note: Tie this into the curriculum. Ex: class was reading 3 Little Pigs, so we did 2 games; big (pig, dig, wig) + bad (sad, mad, glad, pad). kick (stick, lick, brick) + aw (paw, straw, law). Tie vocabulary into unit

Submitted by: Dr. Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite
Additional ideas from others:
This program is great for supporting phonics. The upgraded version offers color contrast, which will be well worth it for some students.

Programming Tricks:
� consider starting with a simple font such as Chalkboard
� if you want only one word visible on the screen, you will have to add multiple spaces (sadly, this will insert a period after the word)
� if you add spaces to separate words, you'll need to use the shift key, as this program uses smart typing. Ex: to get three words: bad mad pig
you will need to enter: Shift/bad <space space space> Shift/mad <space space space> Shift/pig

Word Wizard
What: Word Wizard is a keyboard with voice output. It will identify the letters by name or sound. It will read words and sentences that are typed in by the student. It also has a section where spelling tests can be given.

Who: I have been using this in my self contained classroom for children with significant cognitive impairments. All of my students have enjoyed the app, however it could be somewhat limiting for those who have significant motor impairments. I don't believe that it works with a switch yet, but you could still use it with these students using partner assisted scanning. My students with more moderate level disabilities and who are just beginning to read and write seem to be the most drawn to the app.

How: Word Wizard could be used as an alternative pencil with or without partner assisted scanning depending on the student. It also has a feature that allows students to take a spelling test either with the preprogrammed list of words or your own list. My students just love typing and creating words on the app even for their free time. The app gives them immediate feedback on what they have typed depending on the selections that are made in the setting portion of the app. You could use this app anywhere you wanted students to write in your curriculum.

Submitted by: Janice G. Hill
Additional ideas from others:

I've also liked this app! The talking feature is really wonderful. We've used it often with onset + rime activities, and it has been very effective!
Caroline Ramsey Musselwhite

I use the Movable Alphabet and select certain letters to be displayed for Making Words.
Alison Rumball
I love love this app. First, I love that the are so many choices in the settings portion of the apps. You can choose different voices, keyboard layout (qwerty and alphabetic), consonants are blue and vowels are red, letters can be spoken by name or sound, letter tiles can be dragged up or typed like on a regular keyboard, you can turn off the fancy background to a plain page etc. There are just so many choices that it can be really individualized and yes for the naughty ones you can turn off swear words! My other reason for loving the app is that there is no "right" answer required. It allows the student to explore the letters, their combinations, and it gives immediate feedback. The app is very self explanatory and easy to use as well! Happy Writing!!!

Sound Literacy
(This app was introduced to me at the last International Dyslexia Association Conference that I attended in Phoenix last March. The Lady who told me about it is a reading therapist with similar training as mine, (Orton Gillingham based reading programs) but who also teaches and reps for the Wilson Reading Program. I downloaded the app immediately, as it is fun for students and teachers to use a screen to teach and review reading concepts, whatever the level, as a variation to using the slate and/or decks.)

Title: Sound Literacy
The app has instructions at the beginning to teacher the user how to modify if needed. There are displays that focus on Alphabet (ABC order, consonants, vowels, upper and lower case); Consonant Teams; Vowel Teams; Endings and Rimes; Prefixes; Suffixes; Bases (Latin and Greek).

Who: This app was used with three different students in reading therapy, who were at different reading levels: 1) One student used the ABC “Pantry” to pull down letters when the sound was given into the “Workspace” at the bottom. Then “Holding Spaces” were selected to show the number of sounds in a given word, then the student brought down the letters into the spaces to make the word. 2) The second student spelled basewords, then added suffixes, reviewing the changes that had to be made in the base word when the doubling or dropping spelling rules were applied. 3) The third student selected Latin bases and added “prefixes” to make words she was familiar with. She also added additional letters to fill in parts when they were not found in the “Pantry.”

Where: These students were in 1-to-1 therapy situations, reviewing reading concepts that had been presented to them previously. I feel this could also be used well in a small group instruction situation in which all the students are reviewing the same reading concept at the same time.
How: I am excited about discovering other ways I can use this app to make repetition and review of concepts more interesting to my students. There is also a drawing function that can be turned on, allowing the student to handwrite the letters on the screen as they learn/review the sounds. This function can also be used to separate words into syllables, reviewing the Patterns for syllable division, and as a visual to aid in blending sounds into words, a common challenge for many reading students. I am also looking forward to using the “Ladders” for review of specific sounds. The “sound” aspect of the app is coming out soon, but is not necessarily needed as the student and teacher are saying the sounds.

Submitted by: Marilyn Willcoxon
Additional ideas from others:
Yes I would definitely buy it. The phonetically based reading programs that I have been trained to teach have the reading concepts divided up based on single letter/sound correspondence, digraphs, rimes, syllable types, prefixes, suffixes, Latin and Greek bases…..this app gives you opportunities to review those concepts in an interactive activity. In the world of reading therapy, $49.00 is really cheap for a reading support that actually has the elements you are looking for. If you know your reading programs, the elements might be called something slightly different from program to program, but the elements are there to be manipulated. When I was “playing” with my oldest student in the Latin and Greek bases, we suddenly looked up, and the time was gone…..
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Bob Books #1 Reading Magic

Bob Books #2 - Reading Magic HD
What: Each interactive book has 4 levels, that practice specific reading concepts/skills. In Level #1, you match the letters in any order to spell the 3 sound/letter word. In Level #2, the letters have to be placed in left to right order, or they will bounce out. In Level #3, The letter “hints” are gone and you have to spell the words correctly left to right, and discern that the capital letter is the first one in the slot (i.e., “Pop”). In Level #4, there are extra letters not used in the word and you have to choose the right letters from the group and remember the letters in the right order. In all levels, after the word is “spelled” the word is pronounced sound by sound then blended together. The interactive part of the game holds the attention of many kids better than the 2-dimensional books, plus the “reader” has to manipulate the letters, which also tends to improve focus and attention. It is a true “multisensory” reading experience for the reader at beginning levels.
The app has instructions at the beginning to teacher the user how to modify if needed.
Who: This app was used with two different students in reading therapy, who were at different reading levels: 1) the first student needed to pull down letters to match the letters at first, and did not pay attention to left-to-right progression, with was fine at level #1. Then at the next level, when the letter boxes would not take the letters out of order, she had to pay better attention and follow the right sequence. 2) the second student worked at level #3 and #4. She made a few errors at first because she wasn’t paying attention to the difference between capital and lower case letters, and had to pay better attention to get the capital in the beginning slot. On level #4, the words were all short vowels that needed to be spelled, but they were presented at random and she had to pick out letters from a mix that had extra letters as well. By then she was really enjoying the challenge. Both students had to be redirected away from the activity when their reading time was up.
Where: These students were in 1-to-1 therapy situations, reviewing reading concepts that had been presented to them previously. I feel this could also be used well in a small group instruction situation in which all the students are reviewing the same reading concept at the same time. Since the app has different levels of reading support, the kids could be grouped according to the reading concepts that they had learned and this would be a great way to provide all those repetitions that are needed to move toward automaticity.
How: I am excited about discovering other ways I can use this app to make repetition and review of concepts more interesting to my students. Both these girls are on the “active” side of the spectrum and I was pleased that the movement on the screen held their attention.

Submitted by: Marilyn Willcoxon
Additional ideas from others:
(Bob Books were first introduced 30 years ago, and come in boxed sets, still available today. They are stories that review words that have been grouped together according to type, i.e., CVC words, which in today’s reading jargon would be called “closed syllables.”)

I would definitely purchase this app. As a therapist, (both for reading and speech), I am always carting materials around to provide the multisensory experience. I am relieved that some of those activities are now available on the iPad. I hope they continue to make apps out of all the books….I will buy them all!

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Phonics Tic Tac Toe
This is a LakeShore app that is wonderful for both young and older students. It is a Tic Tac Toe game that asks questions to facilitate phonemic awareness. When you answer the question, you earn an X or O, depending on what symbol you are. The appearance of the game is age respectful, yet focuses on early phonemic awareness skills. I have used this app with both young students and teenage students. It can easily be used in both 1:1 settings, in addition to group settings. I have projected it onto the white/smart board for a whole class participation.
Submitted by: Patty Ashby MNS, CCC-SLP
Ideas from others:
Since this app is free, it is definitely worth it!
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Letter Jumble
I love this app because of its flexibility. With this activity, you can provide a written "hint" to a word that needs to be unscrambled. The students love working with it. I often project it on the white/smart board for big groups. Scaffolding can be provided by the "hint" that is provided to the students. As a result, it can be used at many different levels for many different purposes. I have used this app with my thematic units, reinforcing new vocabulary the students have learned. I can vary the purpose by adjusting the "hints." For example, I can ask Wh questions relating to the word, provide a function of the word for higher level reasoning, work with descriptive words, or have the scrambled section be a question, sentence, phrase, etc. It is also great for students to set up the "hints" since it reinforces learning new language on many different levels. Another bonus is that the word can be "rejumbled" so the difficulty level can be adjusted if necessary. The picture below shows a target descriptor word "disgusting!" and vinegar being the scrambled target word. The students were making volcanoes erupt with vinegar and baking soda.
letter jumble px.PNG
Submitted by Patty Ashby MNS,CCC-SLP
Ideas from others:
The app is only 99 cents, so worth the price. Features I would like to see changed include taking off the large words "letter jumble" on the background as the students are trying to solve the puzzle. Also, the overall look of the app is pretty bland.
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Starfall ABCs
WHO/WHERE: This app is popular in preschool and kindergarten classrooms.
HOW: Many of us have used the web version, but the iPad doesn't play this page because it uses flash. My students really are drawn to the animations and do a great job of practicing simple dragging to sort capital and lower case letters. My favorite thing that a teacher did with this app was use screen shots and import into Book Creator to make an interactive eBook that the student could read at another time.
Submitted on 10/10/13 by Deanna K. Wagner and participants at Closing the Gap
Other Comments:
I can use this for FREE, why am I paying for it on the iPad?
I would prefer to use my computer. But for a parent, to practice in the car on the way to Grandma's house, it could be worth a few dollars.