5 Mobile Apps to Build Vocabulary

by VocoVision on September 7, 2018

voco blog apps vocabNothing can replace face-to-face social interaction when it comes to helping a child with speech and language difficulties build their vocabulary, but we can utilize the one device we have daily at our fingertips to encourage social communication and vocabulary building; the smartphone. With the use of apps and learning focused mobile games, children can take learning beyond the classroom and into the living room.

Make a Game of It

For children, using a device such as a smartphone or tablet may feel more like playing a game than learning. Thanks to fun animation and engaging characters, it’s no wonder children don’t recognize many apps as learning tools.

The TocaBoca family of apps has over a dozen imaginative play and learn apps designed to help young children learn to follow directions and get creative. Introduce new words and answer “wh” questions, (who, what, where) to invent stories and scenarios for imaginative play.

Conversation Starters

As children become more curious about the world around them, MarcoPolo World School is ready to answer children’s questions in a fun interactive way. Children watch a short video about a subject and then follow up with a game. The app encourages children to use thinking skills and language skills to build core literacy skills. The app offers a free trial followed by a monthly subscription.

Since children learn by repetition, it’s easy to see why SLPs and parents love ChatterPix by Duck Duck Moose. Simple snap a picture with the phone’s camera, draw a line for a mouth and record your voice saying the target word or a sentence and the picture repeats what you said back to you. Take turns having a conversation with everyday items like the refrigerator or the classroom mascot.

Building Confidence and Creativity

Some children simply need a confidence boost in order to work on their speech and language skills. Using their target words, children write sentences or even a story in Toontastic. The app then allows children to narrate and animate their sentences or story, thus bringing their stories to life. Children can also create their own characters or use their own pictures to build their stories. Allowing children to create and then retell a story, which has a huge impact on learning new vocabulary; not to mention hearing their own voice which can build confidence.

Though we encourage our clients’ and their families to limit screen time, we also know when we used devices such as our smartphones and tablets with intention; they can offer limitless options for learning.

As SLPs, we have an advantage that wasn’t available 20 years ago; the use of technology allows us to pass along great tools for families to use either at home or on-the-go with their children. Having parents and children work together encourages social interaction with one another and removes the notion that they’re doing “homework.”


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