Thursday, October 25, 2012

Special Apps, Special Kids' 1,000 Likes Party Continues-More Post-Party Giveaways to Enter:

Who would like a Post Party Giveaway? Several generous developers have joined in supporting Special Apps, Special Kids with more codes to share! Please enter through the Rafflecopters below:


iCommunicate by Grembe

iCommunicate is an app I personally use often to make story boards or visuals to accompany articulation activities, for example.  It also has been useful at home for following step by step routines. In addition I have used it to support my second language learners by using iCommunicate as a sort of visual dictionary.  The latest update allows sharing of story boards and pictures through email and iTunes file sharing!


Description (from Developer)

iCommunicate lets you design visual schedules, storyboards, communication boards, routines, flash cards, choice boards, speech cards, and more. It is customizable to your needs.

► Record your own audio for pictures and boards
► Share pictures and boards thru email and iTunes File Sharing
► Utilize Text-to-Speech with 20 voice options(Note: higher quality options available with a WiFi or 3G connection. When no connection OpenEars US Male voice used.)
► Internet Voices include: Australian(Female), Canadian French(Female/Male), Canadian English(Female), Dutch(Female/Male), French(Female/Male), German(Female/Male), Italian(Female/Male), Norwegian((Female), Swedish(Female), UK English(Female/Male), US English(Female/Male), US Spanish(Female/Male)
► Use your own pictures, take pictures on the fly with camera, or quick online image search
► Includes 10,000+ N2Y SymbolStix at no extra charge

Two type of boards possible:
► 4x10 - up to 4 pictures across by 10 down(2x2, 4x4, etc.)
► Task Completion - one picture at a time, swipe to move back and forth, add a checkmark(one finger) or do not symbol(two fingers) with touch. Touch hold time, move to next picture automatically on completion, and audio feedback options available

► Print with AirPrint or email boards
► Lock app from unwanted changes
► Universal app

Note: This app is identical in every way to our other iCommunicate app. We have made both apps Universal to work on all iOS devices, and needed to support our existing users. Anyone who has purchased this app in the past, now can install on any device.

Please visit for more info and demos, and engage with us and users from around the world at our support site http//

► Uses iSpeech, CMU Flite and Poilitepix OpenEars libraries for Text-to-Speech

Grembe is a member of Moms with Apps, a collaborative group of family-friendly developers seeking to promote quality apps for kids and families.
Recommended Ages: all,parents
Categories: Special Needs


Playing with Friends with the Wonkidos by Brighter Futures Brighter Minds
Coming Soon!

Several friends rave about these apps from Brighter Futures Brighter Minds- there is a wide collection of apps from Wonkido to address social and daily living skills, see here for their full collection:

Description (from Developer)

Playing With Friends With the Wonkidos HD

BFBM now offers their exciting instructional animated videos as WonkiBooks: an E-book with interactive audio. Each WonkiBook contains the same fun and colorful visual learning tools to help teach your children valuable developmental skills. Your child will enjoy interacting with each page to hear the Wonkidos come to life as they read the story.

Evan is a young boy who loves playing with his favorite toys, the Wonkidos! Wobbles, Stacks, Apps and Sparkles spring to life in Evan's imagination, and together with Mr. Know-It-All, help Evan learn valuable social skills in a fun and entertaining way!

Asking a friend to play is difficult for some children. This video will teach step by step how to ask a friend to play with you. Special topics include eye contact, communication and smiling at friends. Children will learn proper ways to approach and greet another child, as well as ways to ask them to play and listen to their response.


PlayTales is offering the Special Apps, Special Kids Community the chance to win a year's subscription to PlayTales Gold (a $39.99 value) Anyone can sign up for a free trial subscription good through the end of October!  FYI books can be read in 7 different languages! 

Playtales Description (from developer)

Have fun and learn with…

Make your life easier with PlayTales Gold.

Now, with PlayTales Gold you can finally have COMPLETE AND TOTAL ACCESS to an entire catalog of hundreds of fun, interactive, multilingual children’s e-books for one low monthly price of only $3.99! Make things easier and get access for the entire year worry free.

PlayTales Gold offers interactive books for BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE readers in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese for users all over the world. Access and browse our easy-to-use storefront and fill up your child’s bookshelf. DOWNLOAD AS MANY BOOKS AS YOU LIKE.

Kids can PERSONALIZE the bookshelf, rate books and chose from 3 different kinds of reading options ‘Read by Myself’, ‘Read to Me’, and ‘Autoplay’.

Kids will enjoy reading a wide range of super fun e-books. Find books about Word Learning, Friendly Animals, Royal Families, Outer Space, Fashion, Fun Vacations and so, so, So much more!

Gold Features:
* Low Monthly or Yearly Subscription and FREE for Libraries and Educational Institutions
* 100+ titles of beautifully illustrated books for children
* Wide range of book story themes from word/topic learning to friendly animals and royal families to space aliens and family vacations
* Browsing options with Book Summaries and Page Views for each story
* Book Filter Options for Titles & Reading Language
* 1-5 Star Book User Rating for each story
* Personalized Bookshelf for kids
* 3 kinds of book reading options ‘Read by Myself’, ‘Read to Me’, and ‘Autoplay’
* Fun music, narration, sound effects and interactive playable features in each book!

For more information about PlayTales Gold please visit our website at You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest!

Contact the PlayTales team at the following email: Or visit our web page if you prefer:

PlayTales Gold Promo Video –  Coming Soon
PlayTales Gold How to Use Video –

Where can I download Playtales?
Universal for iPhone and iPad –

Android Market Place
Android –  Coming Soon

Blackberry AppWorld
PlayBook –  Coming Soon

Windows App Store
Windows Phone – Coming Soon



a Rafflecopter giveaway

123 kids fun Alphabet giveaway  

123 Kids Fun Alphabet by RosMedia

This is a cute ABC app- each letter name is spoken as the child advances through the app, along with a short sentence, i.e. "L is for lamp".  There are several animations and sound effects for each letter, and the illustrations are charming- the voice is pleasant as well.  Depending on which camp of reading strategies you belong to, you may or may not appreciate some of the word choices, such as knife for the letter k.  While trialing the app two small errors were found that should be corrected with the next update.  I really like the alphabet letter tracing- it helps keep children in the lines with cute car themed guides.  I don't know much from an OT perspective about the letter strokes, so it would be interesting to get feedback in that area about that as well. It captured my 5 year old's attention.  It also got him practicing his letters, and it jumpstarted a good discussion about silent letters, too! 

123 Kids Fun Alphabet Description (from developer)

123 Kids Fun Alphabet is designed for all children (ages 3 to 7) to start their adventure with the alphabet.

It is also recommended for teachers. Each letter has been illustrated with four words, one of which is animated and enriched with a sound characteristic for a specific object. Just tap the first picture of each letter.

The combination of letters with pictures and a readers’ recording is a very effective method to quickly and enjoyably learn the alphabet.

The Application also includes three interactive games:

💎 The goals of two are to memorize the knowledge acquired earlier. Your child points at letter or words read by the reader.

💎 The third game is to teach the child to write letters by joining points on a special template.

The Application is prepared in a way to allow your child to independently learn the alphabet without your assistance.


🎨 Very clear and easy-to-use application.
🎨 Colourful animations and drawings.
🎨 English lector.
🎨 Educational games: quizzes.
🎨 Interactive learning on how to write letters.
🎨 Background music off/on option.


Become a fan of 123 Kids Fun Apps on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter:

Visit 123 Kids Fun Apps website:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

123 Kids Fun MUSIC by RosMedia

Description (from developer)

123 Kids Fun Music is a music game for your toddlers and preschoolers (ages 2 - 4) to start their adventure with the sounds.

Enjoy 24 wonderful instrument sounds with an attractive interface. Xylophone, Drums, Guitars, Trumpets, Flute, Bells and many, many more…

123 Kids Fun Music - Fun and easy way to use virtual instruments. Just tap to hear the sounds!

As simple as can be. No over head fixtures, designed for kids of all ages.


🎸 Very clear and easy-to-use application,
🎸 Colourful animations and drawings,

🎸 Wonderful sounds,
🎸 No integration with social media.

Have fun!

-=-=-=-=- -=-=-=-=-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review: Fluency Finder by Lantz, Glass, and Gaskins, LLC ($6.99)

Fluency Finder by Lantz, Glass, and Gaskins, LLC ($6.99 at time of review, iPhone and iPad)

iPod/iPhone screenshot of Fluency Finder

I was excited to trial Fluency Finder- especially with my son (a 3rd grader) so I could get an idea of how he is doing with reading fluency.  There are few reading fluency apps out there, and while there are quite a few reading comprehension apps- many with data tracking- this is the only one that I've found geared toward children  that allows tracking of reading fluency.  Originally I was not impressed by the tiny font and lack of passages, but I am happy to report that the latest update has addressed these issues-  I would now recommend this app for use on the iPad.

The app interface is easy to maneuver- there are four main buttons on the main screen: Home, Students, Passages, and Assessment; there is also an information button in the top left hand corner, and a Contact Us/ FAQ button in the top right hand corner.   The FAQ button includes Target Rates (words per minute) for each grade level (1st- 5th).  Fluency Finder can be used in portrait or landscape mode.  I like that is available for the iPhone, although once you have been spoiled by the iPad screen, you won't want to rely on the smaller screen unless you have to.

Under the Passages tab you can view each passage, along with its type, grade level, word count and reading ease.  To actually score a reader's reading fluency, enter the "Assessment" tab, select a student, then choose a passage.  Start the timer in the bottom left corner to track time spent reading,  and count mistakes by tapping the plus or minus symbols in the bottom right hand corner.  When the child is done, press the "Finish Assessment" button, and a screen will come up with the student's information, the passage read, the date, number of mistakes, words per minute, and the total time (in seconds).  It would be really handy if there was an "email" feature of some sort from this screen.  When accessed from within the Student Profile tab, the data displayed is slightly different- it will include date, passage title, type, grade, reading ease and reading level, along with word count, words per minute and mistakes.

Back to the assessment screen-the font previously was an issue, but is now a much more comfortable size on the iPad.  If you click on the Passages tab, they will still be a fairly small font, but the same passages can be viewed with a larger font through the Assessment tab.  According to the Information button on the main screen, the student shouldn't be reading from the device itself anyway- they should be using the same (printed) passage as the examiner, available at . The passages can be opened in Word or as PDFs.  (I was able to easily open a passage in Word and change it to a larger font.)  Now that the font is larger, I prefer the iPad- it eliminates the hassle of going online and printing the passages- it is a time saver to complete it directly from the iPad. You'll have to decide what works best as it may vary depending on the needs of the child- will he/she be distracted by your proximity/scoring during the reading for example?  (For home use, I found it a non-issue.)

 I would love to see the ability to adjust fonts from within the app itself, and also I wonder if this app could also allow for adjustment of spacing,- there has been some research showing certain spacing distances may be useful to dyslexics, for example.  So as to minimize the distraction, I think the scoring bar could be flipped to face the opposite direction from the student, with the student sitting across from the examiner.

Originally there were only a few passages for each grade level, but I am excited to say the latest update includes six passages for each grade level (1st through 5th grade), including two informational passages, two narrative passages, and two fables.  This means a choice between two different passages for each type, which is really appreciated.  The developer's website says there are more original passages to come as well- in fact, the next update should bring passages for grades 6, 7 and 8*   
If a few adjustments were made, I could see this app becoming even more versatile, but for now it does fill a niche. I may have my son use the app independently- to see if he can self-monitor his reading errors. It definitely removes the need for eyeing the clock continuously or making tally marks on scratch paper, and that is a very good thing.

*Note from Developer
 The next update will include 6-7-8 grade reading level passages. Next we will be adding a comprehension assessment to each passage for all grade levels. We will also be rolling out to the android market.