Five years ago, I was sitting with my daughter, helping her practice reading her sight words – the collection of words that young children are encouraged to learn by sight – by using a set of flash cards.
We would take things one flash card at a time, I’d read the word to her, if needed. Words which she needed to practice more were marked with a little pencil. We tried to practice frequently, but because of my busy schedule at work, I could not do this daily. I remember wishing that there was a way that I could help her practice on days when I was busy and couldn’t sit with her to teach her, listen to her, and correct her, because I could see an improvement in her foundational reading abilities after we practiced and learned the Sight Words.
That’s when I remembered that we have smart iOS devices –an application could assist in my daughter’s learning process by using speech recognition technology. The app could display the word, ask her to read it and understand what she says. It could correct her if she made a mistake, and automatically remember any words that were read incorrectly. Eureka! This app could empower parents, teachers and children with a sophisticated yet simple learning tool for building foundational reading skills in early readers.
I didn’t let my idea pass me by. I embarked on a mission to create such an application, and we now have Speaktacular Sight Words Edu – a revolutionary, voice-enabled application that allows children in grades kindergarten through third grade to use their own voice to properly pronounce words from three unique word lists critical to reading development.
For the first time in the children’s app market, we’ve been able to utilize the same world-recognized voice recognition software that powers some of the world’s most powerful brands, and apply it to one of the most critical skills in the learning process – teaching children to read and correctly annunciate their words in an interactive and exciting format that rewards them for their efforts.
Children not only familiarize themselves with new words, but learn to actually read them and articulate them. Speech input compliments the widely–used touch interface on iOS devices. Intelligent voice recognition technology from Nuance enables the app to hear, correct, and track the word read by the child, automating the learning process and leveraging a very underutilized sensory input available on the iOS devices.
This app can be used without parental supervision, a child’s progress is tracked with an inbuilt reporting tool. Parents and Teachers can see the report and hear the incorrectly spoken word.
Speaktacular Sight Words features more than 700 commonly used words, from the Dolch Sight Words list, Academic Vocabulary that meets the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a Trouble Words List used by teachers in classrooms
- Miko the monkey listens to what the child says and understands them, providing encouraging feedback
- Ideal for classroom use, the app supports up to 30 user accounts. Progress for each child is tracked individually.
- Parents and teachers can see the progress of each child or an entire classroom with an innovative word-tracking option that automatically flags words a child is struggling with. They can even listen to the word spoken incorrectly by a particular child.
- For words read incorrectly, the educator can hear what the child said when they read the word aloud. This allows parents and teachers to help the child review the troubled word and keep track of progress.
- Words to be read are displayed with the Dyslexia Font to make it easier for readers with Dyslexia
- A Custom Word List feature let’s users create their own word list by choosing the words from all the available word lists.
With Speaktacular Sight Words Edu we have gone far beyond the traditional Flashcards creating an invaluable app for Parents, Teachers and Students.
Sprite Kids’ Speaktacular Sight Words application will forever change how teachers and students learn and practice the invaluable reading component of mastering sight words,” said Jayne Clare, special education professional and co-founder of Teachers with Apps. “Speaktacular Sight Words is engaging, informative, and, most importantly, useful for students and teachers.”
Speaktacular Sight Words is a universal App for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and is powered by the NDEV Mobile developer program from Nuance Communications, a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world.