Sunday, October 13, 2013
The Word Monsters (best free Android apps for kids)
If there's one thing that can be said about monsters, it is that they appeal to a wider range of children's ages than something like monkeys, for example. The Word Monsters is a great learn-to-read app for very young gifted children learning to read, right through to older children working at a lower level. The Word Monsters is a reading program in progress, but what MindConnex have produced so far is top notch. Download the app and check it out!
External links to teacher resources on developer website
What's free: Kindergarten Level 1 Book 1
What's not free: Kindergarten Level 1 Books 2-6
(can be purchased individually or as a pack)
Amazon - not available yet
This is what we love about Smart Apps: that they provide solid educational information and activities. Apps such as this one have the added bonus of being linked to Common Core State Standards to make using the app in the classroom much easier. The Word Monsters also provides a link to FREE teacher notes and printable activities. Is there anything not covered here?
So far the reading program includes six books, the first of which is free, with the promise of further levels and titles available in the future. Level 1 Book 1, entitled Hello, is an 11 page book with very simple words that includes animated illustrations, extra information about the sentences, sounding out of individual words, and games to consolidate learning. I am really excited to have found such a high quality educational app on Android and cannot recommend it highly enough.
APP DESCRIPTION ON GOOGLE PLAY
Introducing The Word Monsters, a new and innovative series of interactive, decodable readers! Join Tag and his friends on their adventures while developing reading skills in a visually rich, highly engaging environment. This carefully structured program combines standard phonics-based instruction with engaging interactive stories to make learning to read fun! Each book also contains three activities that build on the skills addressed in each book. Developed by experienced industry professionals for use at home or in a school setting, The Word Monsters provides explicit alignments to the US Common Core State Standards—download now and try the first book for free!
•Richly designed visuals and engaging stories featuring 5 quirky fun-loving monster characters, each with their own special ability
•Developed in accordance with the US Common Core State Standards and addressing the three main strands: Literature, Foundational Skills, and Language
•Synchronized professional voiceover audio with text highlighting
•Ability to decode or "sound out" individual words by touching them
•Interactive screen elements, providing additional engagement and vocabulary
•Character speech and accompanying speech bubbles for richer reading
•Standards correlated phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension instruction on every screen via an animated "Reading Buddy" character
•"Read on Your Own" or "Read to Me Mode" with automatic event triggering to allow for greater accessibility
•Three standards correlated activities at the end of each book focusing on phonics, vocabulary, and reading comprehension
•Accompanying Teaching Notes and Student Print Activities available free from our website
Some Key Features in Detail
Every sentence in a Word Monster story can be read aloud by touching the audio icon to the left of the sentence, with highlighting of each word so that students can associate the printed word with its sound. Each decodable word can also be touched to sound it out e.g., touching the word "Tag" will result in the audio sounding out each individual letter – /T/ /A/ /G/ – before blending the sounds together to say "Tag."
Each screen in the Word Monster books features optional supplementary instruction around phonemic awareness, print concepts, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and sight words. This instruction is aligned to the US Common Core State Standards. Some of this instruction takes a question/answer format, with the Reading Buddy playing the role of a teacher or parent prompting the student and keeping him/her at the edge of his/her learning curve.
Every screen in the Word Monster books is enriched with interactive objects, each of which can be touched to trigger a fun animation. In the process, the object is named in the audio and the corresponding word appears on screen. The goal of these interactions is to entertain the child, while at the same time increasing vocabulary by introducing more challenging words in an engaging way.
Children can interact directly with the characters on screen by touching them to elicit a response in the form of a short phrase that relates to events in the story. This speech is simultaneously displayed in a speech bubble to support the audio. This feature allows the user to engage with the story in another fun way, while also introducing richer, more challenging vocabulary than that contained in the main decodable text.