Do you want to expand your child’s language? Help them learn vocabulary? Reading aloud is one of the best ways to meet these goals! Let Bluebee Pal read to your child with these recommended apps below! To learn more about the link between language development and reading, click on this article here.
Recommended Reading and Literacy Apps
One More Story
One More Story is an app that I have used with students for years in order to help improve cause and effect, vocabulary, literacy and auditory comprehension. With this subscription based app, you can access over 76 books including Pete’s a Pizza, Bear books (Barefoot Books), Mouse Paint and much more. With each book, the story is read to the individual with a voice that varies in intonation and matches the mood of the story. The story is also accompanied by background music that helps to keeps the student’s focus. To read more about this app and how to use it Bluebee Pal, click here.
Clicker Books is a book making app that helps supports students with varying abilities. The app includes speech support which helps students to review and self monitor what they have written within the Clicker Book app. You have the option of creating your own book, using a sample book or editing your own book. Within each sample story, you have the option to “read”, “talk”, “write” or “illustrate”. Clicker’s “SoundShift” button allows students to listen to any word on the page, or in the word predictor, or spell checker. Inside the Clicker Books App, there is also word predictor that helps suggest words that fit within the context of the student’s writing (for example, if you type “drink” words related to beverages would be proposed). To learn more about this app, click here.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
It doesn’t have to be the holiday time to read this classic book! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss’s books are timeless and this app tells the story of the Grinch with animated voices and interactive features. It comes with a voice-over narration, so the child can either read it themselves, listen to the book with the voice that comes with the app or records the voice. The app comes with the following features: Tap and drag to find playful surprises throughout the book, find hidden stars on every page to reveal fun activities, explore new vocabulary by tapping words and pictures and track the time spent reading that is available in the Parents section. This last feature is ideal for reading logs which teachers require you to time how long your child needs to read for each night. The activities included in the app are mini-games such as Memory Match, puzzles, word searches, and a sequencing game. There are also 28 hidden games in the app itself. To read more about this app,
Nick Jr. Books app is a collection of digital books featuring stories from the most popular Nick Jr friends, including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, Dora and Friends, SpongeBob SquarePants, Team Umizoomi, Wallykazam, and Blues Clues. Within each ebook, there are 3 reading modes including auto-read, read-aloud and read myself. Interactive effects and character animations are included on every page. This app includes parent tips and reading comprehension questions that help children expand on vocabulary. The app is free to download, and comes with 3 free books: Blaze: Blaze of Glory, PAW Patrol: Pup, Pup, and Away, and Team Umizoomi – Carnival. With an in-app purchase, you can buy 49 additional books. Other features include a parents section for account management and app settings, daytime, and nighttime modes, interactive elements on every page, reinforcement for reading each book, developing Spanish reading skills with 4 Dora books in Spanish and offline reading. To learn more about this app, click here.
A Day in the Market
A Day in the Market (Araw sa Palengke) is about a little girl’s very first trip to the market with her mother. The market is an exciting cultural adventure as she meets lively vendors, see a variety of foods and items and finds a special item that she wants! To find out what this special thing is, you can download this app for free and read the storybook. For an additional $2.99, you get access to the book in two other languages, a sorting game and interactive scenes that bring the book to life. To learn more about this app, click here.
The StoryBots App is an educational and lively app that includes over 250 educational books, videos, and games. This free app includes characters from the hit Netflix original series, “Ask the StoryBots” and “StoryBots Super Songs and also has the ability to add your own photos such as Bluebee Pal’s picture to make the stories and videos personalized. This app is used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world and can help get your child engaged in literacy, math, and history activities. To learn more, click here.
Record your own story for your child to hear read aloud! Imagistory is an inventive and creative app that brings wordless books to life. After recording the book, attach your Bluebee Pal for a fun and inventive way of storytelling. Imagistory is created for children ages 3 and up and gives children the opportunity to be creative with their storytelling and narrative skills. The stories that are created by the app can be recorded and saved so you can listen to them again later and share them family members, the staff at a school, etc. To check out this app review, click here.
Go Away Big Green Monster App
There has not been a child that I have met that doesn’t love the book, Big Green Monster. Go Away Big Green Monster is an interactive and engaging book about A Big Green Monster. Reading this book can help a child learn body parts, numbers, attributes, colors and additional basic concepts. It can also facilitate the concept of commenting and improving of descriptive language. This interactive app builds upon the book experience by slowly revealing each part of the Big Green Monster. This is done with animation, sound and visual effects. With this app, you can either “Read myself”, “Read along with Ed Emberley (the author of the book), “Read along with a friend” or “Sing Along”. This choice of either choosing an adult or a child to read the story is unique and clever. Each page introduces a new body part which the reader adds on in each page. By the end of the story, don’t get scared though! Each body part goes away till the Monster is disappears! To read more about this app, click here.
Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals. To learn more about Pictello, click here.
Crepes with Suzette App
Crepes with Suzette is a beautifully fun and engaging story book that has recently been back on bookshelves and available for purchase! I have always loved this book because it’s interesting illustrations and embedded language. Each time I read this book, my children want crepes after! Crepes with Suzette become alive with the Crepes with Suzette app! With this app, you can read the book, check out different landmarks of Paris within each page or on a map, watch videos of crepe making, and learn how to speak key words in French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Italian. Each page in the book has one key word that is translated into these six different languages when you navigate to the “vocabulary page”. My children and I had a lot of fun with this app and they learned a ton of new words in different languages! To learn more about this app, click here.
This educational e-book is a perfect companion to be used with both the Bluebee Pal Pro and the Bluebee Pals app. The book also stands alone as a story about a young boy named Andy who gets lost and rescued by his Bluebee Pal friends. This story, which initially takes place in a school with children that have complex communication needs takes the reader on the adventure of a lifetime!
What happens when the Andy gets lost? He gets rescued by his friend and park ranger, Leo the Lion who takes him on an adventure through the forest, farm and back to school. During this quest, he meets all of the Bluebee Pals and learns about their superpowers in helping other children.
The main character in this engaging and educational picture book is a young child with complex communication needs that uses a communication device to express his communication needs. Through the use of his talker, he is able to communicate with all of his new Bluebee Pal friends. With his communication system, he is able to tell them how to get back to his Rainbow School, where his class and teacher are waiting.
Bluebee Pals Techie Rangers is not just a story about an adventure, it’s also an opportunity to discuss diverse learning styles as well communicating through augmentative and alternative communication. Children will learn more about their own Bluebee Pal and have an extra special connection with them after reading the story.
Educators, therapists and parents will find this book easy to implement with their child or student!
What does it include?
The ebook and paperback will include the following:
Repeated lines and vocabulary suggestions to make it easy for parents and educators to program vocabulary in their child’s talkers before reading the book.
A free teachers guide that aligns with the common core curriculum.
Free printable visuals to be used while reading the book as well as used for recall and comprehension.
Suggested communication and educational goals to target with the book.
Are you interested in a printed book?Goals such as increased communication, vocabulary expansion, sequencing, literacy expansion, answering “wh” questions, turn taking, and commenting are just a few goals to target when reading this book with your child or student. Stay tuned!
Bluebee Pal is a plush educational learning tool that can be connected to a tablet, phone or computer via Bluetooth. Once connected to a device (such as an iPhone or iPad), this interactive educational tool can talk, read and sing. As an app reviewer for Bluebee Pals for the past four years, I have discovered countless ways of utilizing Bluebee Pal Assistive Technology Tools in AAC Therapy to meet speech and language goals with my clients that present complex communication needs. To see my app reviews on Bluebee Pal’s website, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/).
In order to meet these goals below, you would need two different devices. One device that is connected to Bluebee Pal via Bluetooth and one that has a communication system installed, whether dedicated or non-dedicated for your student. As an SLP that has specialized in the field of AAC of the past 18 years, I generally target multiple goals during a variety of activities. In this article, I want to share how to use Bluebee Pal to meet AAC goals in both the therapy and in the classroom.
Ten AAC Goals Achieved with Bluebee Pals
Reading a Story: Since Bluebee Pal is connected to your device, this tool can read any book to your student that is downloaded on an app or available online. When reading the story, pause, ask questions and encourage your student to comment via their AAC system. Listening to Bluebee Pal read the story can be engaging and exciting for a child, which can help meet your goals more readily. Some of my favorite story apps include Go Away Green Monster and Crepes for Suzette. I also like the story time apps One More Story and Storybots. For more suggestions of story time apps, check out my article here (http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2016/08/18/5-excellent-storytelling-apps-for-kids-with-special-needs/)
Improving Choice Making: During an AAC evaluation or training present Bluebee as a choice for requesting. With the child’s communication device, they can work on creating sentences and use describing words to request Bluebee. This would be a great opportunity to create the sentence, “I want soft Zebra”, or “I want blue puppy”. For those children who want to figure out how to say Bluebee without it being programmed, navigate to colors for “blue” and then the “bugs” page for bee. Combine to say Bluebee! Other ways that a child can make choices is within the app itself. The child can request specific sounds within a soundboard app like in the picture below. This is a wonderful opportunity for creative and complex sentences that can be modeled and then communicated by the child
Answer “wh”Questions: This is often a common goal that appears on IEPs and lesson plans. Use Bluebee pal to ask questions in the app About You and Me by Super Duper Publications. Responding to Bluebee pal can increase motivation and engagement among students. This can also help the student practice answering “wh” questions about themselves.
Social Story Companion: Social stories are commonplace in special education classroom because they help meet a variety of both social and communication goals. Use an app such as Pictello and let Bluebee read the social story with your student.
Pretend Play: Bluebee Pal is perfect for dramatic play! Since Bluebee is a stuffed animal, he can participate in lots of different play from dress up to be at a tea party! There are a variety of ways that you can incorporate Bluebee into dramatic play. Bluebee can start conversations with your student via being connected to a communication app or provide the voice and music in the app such as Toca Boca Tea Party.
Use for AAC Assessment: The app that I use often for assessment is AAC Genie. With Bluebee connected, this tool can help with assessment. Let this educational tool guide your student through the protocol which can help keep the child motivated during the evaluation. For a more in-depth look at how to use Bluebee with AAC genie, click here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/make-aac-assessment-interactive-bluebee-pal-pro/)
Learn Phonics: Learning phonics and literacy is the key to communication. With the app, Phonics you can expose your student to exploring phonics. Another way is using the phonic keyboard on Touch Chat with Word Power during a literacy activity. Let Bluebee Pal answer the question, “What does the letter “a” sound like?”
Categorization: Working on categorization is another common goal to target during speech and language therapy. When a child can learn categories more readily, this can help speed up communication and expand vocabulary. It can also help with improving word association. With one app that I reviewed called Categories Therapy Lite, Bluebee Pal can help a child learn categories. To learn more about learning categories with Bluebee Pal, click on the app review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/category-therapy-lite-bluebee-pals/).
Learning Actions: Learn actions with the app, Actions in Video. This app can help students combine symbols together into sentences focused on actions. At the end of the sentence, hear Bluebee Pal say the whole sentence or record your own voice. To practice on their AAC system, ask them to construct the same sentences on their AAC system with modeling and prompting as needed.
Turn-Taking in Conversation: Bluebee Is a perfect companion for practicing taking turns in conversation. This can be done with a Bluebee connected to an iPad with a communication app or within an app such as Elmo Calls. For more tips on how to use Elmo Calls with Bluebee, check out my review here (https://www.bluebeepals.com/app-reviews/beccas-app-reviews/phone-calls-elmo/).
According to ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association), “Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an area of clinical practice that addresses the needs of individuals with significant and complex communication disorders characterized by impairments in speech-language production and/or comprehension, including spoken and written modes of communication. AAC uses a variety of techniques and tools, including picture communication boards, line drawings, speech-generating devices (SGDs), tangible objects, manual signs, gestures, and finger spelling, to help the individual express thoughts, wants and needs, feelings, and ideas. AAC is augmentative when used to supplement existing speech, and alternative when used in place of speech that is absent or not functional. AAC may be temporary, as when used by patients postoperatively in intensive care, or permanent, as when used by an individual who will require the use of some form of AAC throughout his or her lifetime.”
There has been incredible advancements since I began in the field of AAC in 1999. In 1999, there were speech generating devices available as well as Boardmaker, but color printers were still rare and those crayons and markers came in handy to color in communication boards! Now, coloring in symbols seems archaic compared to the amazing technology available today with the invention of the iPad and other tablets. The advancement in computers has also brought significant changes in the field with easier access to eye gaze and other access methods.
Many people that I meet that are not speech language pathologists and/or in the field of AAC, think the development of AAC began with iPads and other tablets but this can not be further from the truth! In this article, I am going to give you a brief overview of the history with excellent links to more information and articles on the topic.
How did AAC develop and when?
According to Gregg C. Vanderheiden, PhD (2002), “In plotting the course of early augmentative communication, it is important to follow three different threads of development. One is the development of early electromechanical communication and writing systems. The second is research on ordinary (without disability) child language development, and the third is communication and language boards. These three threads developed largely independently until the 60s and 70s, when they merged to form what we now know as Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Computer access then evolved out of the interface portion of this work, particularly the thread dealing with human machine interface (with its roots in the conversation and writing machines).”
What was the first AAC device?
According to Gregg C. Vanderheiden, PhD (2002), “Perhaps the earliest electric communication device was the POSM (Patient Operated Selector Mechanism), a sip-and-puff typewriter controller first prototyped by Reg Maling in 1960 (one of several he eventually created) Reg was a volunteer visitor at Stoke Manderville hospital (for paralyzed people) and noticed that they had only a bell to communicate with. This inspired him to develop the very first POSM for them. A Communications System for the Handicapped (Comhandi) was developed in 1964, consisting of a scanning teletypewriter controller with an illuminated display.”
Who is eligible for AAC?
When I teach my graduate class, I always review the “zero reject model”, which means that no one is ever rejected for communication based on their cognitive and/or physical disabilities. Anyone with complex communication needs are eligible for AAC. In my career as a speech language pathologist in the field of AAC, I have evaluated and trained both children and adults with Congenital disorders (disorders that children are born with such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome), Acquired Disorders (e.g. disorders that are acquired after birth such as Muscular Dystrophy, Traumatic Brain Injury), Degenerative Disorders (e.g. such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, etc.), and Temporary Conditions (e.g. such a someone in the hospital who can’t temporarily communicate). https://www.bluebeepals.com/beccas-app-reviews/
Do you want to learn more about AAC? Learn more about it here.
Proloquo2Go is a communication app that is used by individuals who have a limited ability to use speech for communication and need an augmentative and/or alternative way to communicate. I have used this communication app with all ages from young children to adults with complex communication needs.
The Proloquo2Go communication app offers a variety of page sets for individuals with varying abilities and is easily customized for each user. I find that the most useful page sets are the core vocabulary page sets, which give individuals the ability to communicate most effectively and with a more robust vocabulary page set. Additionally, it would be helpful to have Proloquo2go on two separate iPads (one for the child if they are using that as their form of communication and the other iPad for the therapist who is using Proloquo2go for modeling purposes) with the Bluebee Pal.
To learn more about how to facilitate communication with this app and Bluebee Pal, click here.
I have used Proloquo2Go for many years and have found its bilingual features intuitive and there is ease in switching back and forth between languages. Languages included in this app are Spanish, French, and Dutch. This app also comes with specific bilingual voices as well, so the speech sounds natural and fluent. To learn more about it’s bilingual features in both Proloquo2Go and Proloquo4Text, click here.
When using a bilingual app and Bluebee Pal, it affords the user the opportunity for Bluebee to speak multiple languages within a session. For bilingual speech language pathologist, the Bluebee Pal can be a great tool within a therapy session as well as the classroom for teachers with bilingual students. For children who are learning English, a teacher can set up a tablet with Bluebee Pal on one language (e.g. Spanish) and have the children respond in a different language on their talker (e.g. English). It can be an excellent tool with endless ideas!
LAMP Words for Life
LAMP Words For Life™ is a comprehensive augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) language app that combines the PRC Unity® language system with Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP™) principles and strategies. LAMP™ provides a consistent motor pattern for words with an efficient way to develop communication skills allowing for unlimited communication opportunities with others. The app is available with three different vocabulary pages sets; LAMP 84 One Hit, LAMP 84 Transition and LAMP 84 Full.
LAMP Words For Life™ combines 50 years of PRC experience with the Language Acquisition through Motor Planning approach. The app is appropriate for emerging, context dependent and advanced communicators. It is a symbol based app that is appropriate for individuals of all literacy levels. This language system is also based on many years of research that has helped shape the system that it is today. For more information on LAMP Words For Life™ app, click here. For additional resources, lesson plans and much more, check out AAC Language Lab here. To learn more about this app and how to use with Bluebee Pal with a featured activity, click here.
LAMP Words for Life has a unique page set titled LAMP WFL – Spanish/English 1 Hit and LAMP WFL – Spanish/English Full. These page set are truly bilingual and can give the user the ability to switch back and forth with ease. This app also comes with specific bilingual voices as well so the speech sounds natural and fluent. To learn more about this system and it’s bilingual features, click here.
Are you looking additional therapy apps to help teacher a child a new language?
What is grammar vs syntax? To learn more about this, click here.
Looking for more information about grammar and syntax? Check out this resource by Anne Rowley
Many students with speech and language delays and disabilities have difficulty learning syntax and grammar. How can we help children learn to use better grammar and syntax in conversation? Incorrect syntax and grammar can affect overall communication if a message is misunderstood. This can lead to frustration and interacting with others that are less familiar. It also comes out in writing, which can affect academics.
There are many apps available that help target grammar and syntax. Below I am going to give a brief description of each with a link to the full review with tips on how to use Bluebee Pal.
Bluebee Pals are a welcoming friend encouraging learning and communication. Bluebee Pal can also be an ideal model to model correct syntax and grammar with specific apps.
Syntax City is a state-of-the-art application designed by Barbara Fernandes, M.S; CCC SLP, that targets a variety of grammatical elements in fun and engaging way for varying ages and abilities. The theme sets the tone for children visiting a variety of places within the city. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals. Each location within the city targets a different set of goals: See below for the locations and goals that are being targeted: -Gym: Do/Does -Beach: Third person singular agreement -Bakery: Was/Were -Ski Resort: He/ She -Farm: Past tense verb agreement -Grocery: Has/Have -Park: Is/Are -Zoo: Regular and Irregular Plurals
To find out more information about this app and download, click here.
Grammar Apps by Super Duper
Super Duper Publications has a variety of apps that target grammar and syntax. Which apps? Here are some to download! Fun Decks such as I and Me, Adverbs, Understanding Double Negatives App, My Mine and Me are just to name a few. For a full list of apps to download that target grammar, click here.
Using Fun Decks with Bluebee Pal can be endless fun with these apps! For example, when you start the Super Duper Plurals app, Bluebee Pal will say “Max has many colorful _____” The child can listen to the sentence and then choose “balloon” or “balloons”. This app priced at $3.99 gives the option of tracking data, adding additional players.
Create Your Own Sentences with Pictello
What better way to practice what you learned than to create your own social stories and sentences with Pictello! Create a social story with Pictello and make Bluebee Pal the reader of the story! Pictello is a versatile app that can be used to create stories with using photos, short video clips and text. This app has the ability to use both synthesized and digitized speech. The app also gives you the ability to share easily with others is user friendly to set up. Pictello also has the option to use many different language and accents which can be an excellent feature for many individuals.To learn more about this app and using it with Bluebee Pal, click here.