Why we love this app
Performance on state testing is often the sole determination of whether a special education student receives a general or special diploma, so proficiency in reading comprehension is a critical skill in middle school. Smarty Ears' app addressing this all important skill is created by a high school English teacher and his speech therapist wife, so it has solid educational and therapeutic underpinnings. Students can work independently or in groups with questions tailored to their specific areas of weakness. While comprehension is the primary focus, the ability to record students reading passages out loud provides a bonus means to assess fluency and all data is backed up in the Therapy Report Center.
What it teaches and how it works
Campers have a choice of 50 stories which range in reading difficulty from 2nd to 6th grade based on Flesch Kincaid readability. All stories include a picture for contextual clues and feature narration. Ten areas of comprehension are measured from basic 'WH' questions to more abstract things like inferences, cause and effect, compare and contrast, sequencing, and vocabulary and context. The ability to add original stories and associated quizzes makes the app useful for years.
Why your kid won't be able to put it down
The stories are gender neutral and cover topics which would generally be within most students' frame of reference. They are not expected to comprehend things with which they are largely unfamiliar. Students reading below grade level do not feel a stigma as level identification can be hidden. The set up lends itself well to working with a reading buddy, which makes the process more fun and promotes peer interaction. There is a hint button that highlights the specific portion of the text in which an answer is found.
|appoLearning Report Card||
|Features specific educational objectives|
|Fosters critical thinking|
|Adapts to kids' skill level|
|Intellectually stimulating for children|
|Instructions are clear and simple|
|Well-suited to age group|
|Assesses progress and proficiency|
|Parents and teachers can assess progress|
|Features and Design|
|Unique in its concept, design and approach|
|Engaging design and repeatable content|
|Excellent value for price|
|Doesn't require additional in-app spending|
|Safety and Privacy|
|Doesn't expose kids to external services or advertisers|
|Doesn't ask for personal data|
Report Card Methodology
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