Kids Sound Lab Pro

Category: English / Literacy

Ages: 3-5 5-7
Price: iPhone/iPad - Paid

This is an app that aims to help young children in the process of learning how to read and pronounce the English sounds correctly by giving instruction on the sounds of each letter and then an encouragement to practice these sounds through games to aid comprehension and ability. Clearly a lot of research has gone into this app and this is obvious from visiting the developer’s webpage. The app is heavily based in the American curriculum and may be excellent also for those learning English as a second language.  

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User Reviews

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Teacher Review

This is a very good app in helping young children who are learning how to read become more proficient in the process of reading and learning the sounds of letters. From visiting the developer’s website it is clear that a lot of research has gone into the production of this app and that the author and consultants on the app are recognised professionals in their areas adding a lot of quality to this app. There has also been research undertaken on the methodology used within the app so the developer is clearly focussed on making the app as appropriate and beneficial as possible. There are also some other good features on the developer’s website that are worth mentioning including videos of how to get the best out of the app. These are always very positive additions to any app.

The app itself has been organised in a very sensible way and follows the same pathway that young people learn sounds. This means that the way you work through the app will be similar to the way that the sounds are taught in school meaning that the app would work in an educational setting but also via home use looking to embed the practices in school for maximum impact.

Once the user enters the app they have access to all the letters and can select where they wish to begin. This means that the user can ‘dip in and out’ as they wish, helping them to use the app on a long term basis and therefore improving their proficiency as they are able to continue to practice their sounds. In the paid for pro version all the letters and sounds are available to the user however there is also a free version where the user has limited access to the content. By selecting one of the letters the user is taken to an instruction page where they are given the pronunciation of the sound related to that letter. This can be repeated as many times as the user wishes to help aid in learning the sound. Once the user is happy they can then move on to hearing examples of the sound used in real words with the relevant picture shown on the page. Again, the user can as have this repeated as many times as they wish by clicking on the picture. This is a good aid in helping to differentiate for slightly different abilities. You would expect a more able student to only repeat the work a few times whereas a slightly weaker student may repeat it multiple times.

Once the user has worked through all the examples then there are taken into a couple of different games to help further compound their learning of these sounds. These are fun and interactive and with the good quality of graphics throughout the app will help to keep young people engaged in wanting to come back. At each point through the games the user is able to access some assistance if they are struggling by clicking on the sun in the corner. Although this isn’t obvious in the first instance once the user does this once they will always know that this help is available. There are three games in total and each requires a slightly different skill from the user to access and this helps in making the user repeat their knowledge of the sounds and letters in different ways.

Overall this is a really good app in helping young children in their initial stages of learning their letters and sounds. Due to its functionality I can see it being used both in an educational setting as well as in the young persons home. 

From the Developer

Award winning, research backed articulation approach - Kids Sound Lab is designed for parents and professionals who want to give their children a head-start with pronunciation of English sounds. Created by a certified speech- language pathologist. The sounds are presented in the same order that children acquire sounds, so parents can control the difficulty level and begin by practicing easier sounds. Ideal for families with English as a second language. Children are taught to make the sounds in isolation and then practice the sounds in syllable and words, as they prepare the key phonological skills necessary for reading later in life.

New research shows significant progress when using the methodology of Kids Sound Lab (KSL) to promote correct articulation and reading in students. First grade students undergoing the KSL program, were compared to students in 3 other schools using other conventional reading programs. Results showed significant progress of students undergoing the KSL program as measured in a standardized pre- and post test with emphasis on literacy skills and sight word reading. (Gudmundsdottir,2014). Consultants for Kids Sounds Lab are Dr. Barbara Hodson at Wichita State Univ., KS, and Dr. Katherine Abbott Verdolini at Univ. of Pittsburg, PA, both leading specialists in the field of articulation, phonology and voice.

Key features
- User friendly program for use by parents
- Voice recording and playback feature for monitoring immediate responses
- Each sound has three interactive game activities at the end of each level
- 24 Consonant Sounds in English introduced in a systematic way with emphasis on visual and auditory recall/memory for each consonant
- Descriptions of how to produce all sounds are provided by engaging characters Bonnie and Bobbie

CONSONANTS AND VOWELS
- Consonant sounds in the main menu listed in developmental order of sound acquisition
- Vowels introduced separately  A - E - I - O - U as long vowels that say their own names and short vowels that do not say their own names
- A step by step approach is taken. Most consonant sounds are practiced in a sound play in CV > consonant – vowel syllables > so all sounds are produced correctly before they are put into words
- Sounds practiced at beginning of words*: /m, n, b, p, d, t, w, y, h, k, g, f, v, ng, ch, j, sh, s, z, l, r, voiceless and voiced th/
- Prevocalic and consonantal R is introduced and practiced (this is R followed by a vowel – which can be easier to remediate and use to shape other vocalic Rs later)
- The (ng, zh) sounds are practiced in the middle and end of words, as they do not occur at the beginning of words
- Voiced /th/ practiced at the beginning, middle and end of words

STUDENT PROFILES / REPORTING
- Student profiles (name, age, email, gender, notes, photo)
- Scoring and data tracking for each child/student
- Scoring provided for each sound with date, numbers, and % of correct productions for monitoring progress
- Email options to send scores with dates and notes, # of correct responses, and %age of total correct responses
- Air print (with printer) with collective data
- Dropbox storage

The author; Bryndis Gudmundsdottir  was awarded a "Special Recognition Award 2011" from Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network (GWIIN) for her innovative work in the field of speech pathology. 
Kids Sound Lab, evolved through years of clinical work and studies in collaboration with Dr. Bernard Silverstein professor at UT Knoxville (d. 2003). 

Original pictures made by illustrators/graphic designers B.Kristjansson and H.S.Thorgeirsdottir
- Original music and rhythm by Vedis, Icelandic singer and composer

The Icelandic version of Kids Sound Lab is shown on Icelandic TV, Channel 2. The Icelandic Innovation Center supported Kids Sound Lab.

More information: www.kidssoundlab.com, Youtube.com/laerumogleikum,
[email protected]

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Learning Outcomes

Key Features

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No


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