Kurzweil 3000 Reviewed by DISKoveries 2011

Kurzweil 3000 Reviewed by DISKoveries 2011
New Software and Hardware, Professional Resources,
DVDs for Learning and Apple Apps and iPad Accessories
By Joan Tanenhaus
plus keyboards with Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste and
other keyboard shortcut buttons and many more.
For those who can position the pointer but cannot
click the mouse button, Dwellix is integrated within
the program – it allows mouse button clicks to be
entered by holding the cursor motionless for a
programmable period of time. It includes right and
left clicking, double clickng and dragging. (The user
can decide which of these should be visible and
active so if you never use one of these functions,
you can turn it off.) In addition, KeyStrokes now
includes LayoutKitchen, which lets users design
As assistive technology specialists, we are used
to seeing “Windows only” on software. This section
will describe some Mac only software, as well as
some new Mac versions of programs that previously
were Windows only.
Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac (www.parallels.
com) Parallels Desktop for Mac is a great solution if
you are trying to run Windows applications on your
Macintosh side-by-side. When installed, you will
be able to run Windows programs as if they were
native to your Mac, all without rebooting. You can
drag and drop documents,
pictures and music between
Windows and Mac applications or launch your favorite
Windows programs right
from your Mac Dock. You
can choose to run Windows
in full screen mode if you
want – which replaces your
Mac desktop with Windows
7, Vista or XP – or you can
run them side by side. You
can also use Apple Gestures
in Windows applications
– Parallels supports multitouch Trackpad gestures
in Windows applications.
Parallels wor ks on any
Macintosh computer with
an Intel processor (1.66 GHz
or greater). To run 64-bit
operating systems, an Intel
Core 2 or higher processor is
required. A minimum of 1GB
of memory (2 GB recommended) and about 500 MB KeyStrokes4 with Layout Kitchen (Assistiveware).
of disk space on the Macintosh HD is required.
KeyStrokes4 with Layout Kitchen (Assis- their own virtual keyboards for typing, for launching
tiveWare: www.assistiveware.com) For Macintosh applications, to run AppleScripts and much more. It
users only, KeyStrokes is a full-function advanced allows the keys to be given color so that vowels or
on-screen keyboard floating above other applica- functions keys can be color coded to help learning
tions that can be used with a mouse, trackball, head them. KeyStrokes also includes advanced multilinpointer or any other mouse emulator. It comes with gual word prediction with word completion, next
many different types of keyboards, ranging from word prediction and multi-word prediction in many
very small to king size, extended with numeric pad, languages. Choices can be displayed either by
simple alphabetic (for beginning users), chubon alphabetical listing or by frequency of word choice.
and damper layouts (for single digit use), standard Currently, multi-word prediction dictionaries are
18 www.closingthegap.com
included for English US, English UK, French, German,
Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, Spanish and Russian.
KeyStrokes4 works seamlessly with all standard OS
X applications. It learns your vocabulary as you type.
The word prediction features also include the word
prediction within the keyboard or as a separate
window. The bar above the prediction also shows
the sentence that is currently being written, which
might be helpful for those who prefer monitoring
their sentences without looking away from the
keyboard. Another interesting feature is that you can
turn off/on some of the features so you can show
just the keyboard, just the
word prediction or just the
Dwellix – or any combination of these. Other features
include the ability to speak
what you type (English),
configurable auto-spacing
and auto - capitalization
features, shortcut expansion
features and a simple mode
to limit a student’s access to
more advanced features. In
addition, KeyStrokes can be
used with Windows applications that you have running
in the Parallels environment (see above for review
of Parallels). Keystrokes4.1
requires Mac OSX 10.4 or
higher with a minimal screen
resolution of 800x600 and at
least 10 MB of free memory.
For optimum performance
and access to all features,
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard or
higher is recommended. This
is an extraordinary program
that is extremely functional,
customizable and flawless in its operation. You can
try before you buy – download the time-limited full
trial version to see how it works before making a
GhostReader (ConvenienceWare: www.
convenienceware.com) ConvenienceWare is a new
product family from AssistiveWare , the leader in
accessibility solutions for Macintosh computers.
GhostReader is a text-to-speech program that lets
you listen to your Mac talking in the language of
October / November, 2011
your choice. It lets you listen to selected text in an
application with word or sentence highlighting. You
can point the cursor to text in Safari or Pages to hear
the paragraph below the cursor. When writing, you
can listen to your own text to proof read for spelling,
grammar, sentence structure and paragraph integrity. You can also create personal podcasts by
converting text to audio files or to iTunes tracks.
Listening to these audio files on your MP3 or iPod is
a great way to is listen to driving directions, to help a
student with difficulty reading, to enhance listening
and reading comprehension, improve pronunciation of foreign words and study while commuting
or driving. There is a pronunciation editor that can
be used to modify the way a word is pronounced
or to add new abbreviations. GhostReader includes
naturally sounding voices in a language of your
choice. Available languages include American
English, Arabic, British English, Czech, Finnish,
French, Canadian French, German, Greek, Icelandic,
Italian, Danish, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, American
Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese,
Norwegian, Russian, Turkish and Swedish. This is an
excellent program for Macintosh users who struggle
with reading and writing difficulties. Like AssistiveWare products, you can try GhostReader before you
buy – download the time-limited full trial version to
see how it works before making a purchase.
The following programs are not Macintosh only programs, but some are
recently available on Macintosh and
the others are available separately
from the Windows versions. I wanted
to highlight them so that Macintosh,
as well as Windows, users are aware of
their availability and their uniqueness
in Special Education.
WordQ V3 for Macintosh ( WordQ- www.
goqsoftware.com) WordQ is not a Macintosh only
program, but it is new to Macintosh and I felt it was
important to let all Mac users know that this excellent word prediction program is now compatible
with their computers and works along with any
standard writing software (Microsoft Word, Pages,
e-mail, Web browsers and instant messaging).
When you type a letter, WordQ predicts what you
might be writing. It displays a list of words and if the
word you are entering is there, just chose it with a
single keystroke or with the mouse. All words can
be read aloud to help you make the selection. You
can also use different included vocabulary lists and/
or create specialized topic lists of your own (i.e., if
the student is writing a report on biology) to make
predictions even better and faster. As the student
uses the program, WordQ learns the vocabulary and
predicts with even greater accuracy. In addition,
WordQ allows users to select the root word and see
different word endings by pressing backspace; has
high-quality natural sounding text-to-speech voices;
has in-context prediction that displays word predictions wherever the text cursor is placed (even when
the cursor is in the middle of a word); usage examples with speech feedback of commonly confused
words, such as there/their; user vocabularies and
examples; and consideration of creative spelling
when making predictions. Word Q can be used also
for assisted reading and beginning writing skills.
October / November, 2011
Highlight the text, click the read button and your
text is read aloud. For beginning writers, it can be set
to say each letter as it is typed, to speak each word
when the space bar is pressed and to read the entire
sentence when a period is entered. WordQ turns
any word processor into a talking word processor
and word prediction does not have to be used for
very early writing development. This same feature
lets the older and more experienced writers use the
word prediction only as needed, to spell words that
are difficult for them. They can leave the prediction
box hidden most of the time and show it only when
they need help spelling a word. The word prediction box can be customized in the following way:
number of predicted words (one to nine), font style
and size, order of words (most likely or alphabetical),
layout (vertical or horizontal list), position (follows
text cursor or remains in one location) and color of
background and text). WordQ is an excellent writing
tool for learners of all different levels. You can download a free 30-day trial of WordQ to try before you
buy or watch tutorial videos and other helpful information at www.goQsoftware.com. (Requires Mac
OS X 10.4 or newer.)
Read & Write 4 Gold for Mac (Texthelp: www.
texthelp.com) Read & Write 4 Gold for Mac is also
not a Macintosh only program but is published
separately from the Windows version. This is a review
of the Macintosh version that now incorporates all
the features of the Windows program. Designed for
individuals who need support with reading, writing
and learning, it has features that improve reading
fluency and comprehension and helps with writing,
spelling, test taking and research. It also includes
some powerful teacher support tools. Read&Write
GOLD is a customizable easy-to-use toolbar that
integrates directly with mainstream applications,
allowing students to access the reading and writing
support tools they need from within the programs
they use every day. Some of the features that make
Read & Write 4 Gold an extraordinary learning
program are: Text to speech (hear your text read
aloud, with dual highlighting, and also works with
Flash and text embedded within graphics); Phonetic
spell checker; Word prediction (learns the user’s
style and predicts words they are typing or words
they might want to use next); a talking dictionary
(each word has a description and sample sentence);
a thesaurus and homophone checker; a pronunciation tutor (breaks words into syllables, allowing easy
recognition of syllables in a word, and includes an
on-screen moving mouth to help develop more
accurate speech); and a talking calculator. Read &
Write 4 Gold also includes a screenshot reader –
used to read aloud all text, including text that is
embedded within an image or video or is contained
within inaccessible flash. Simply click the toolbar
button and surround the area you would like read.
The selected text will be analyzed with an OCR
process and be read aloud with highlighting. The
speech maker allows the conversion of text to MP3,
WMA or WAV files that can be played on your iPod.
In addition, you can scan paper-based documents
into Word or to PDF format and the text can be read
aloud and edited. Study and Internet tools include
Web searches through your default search engine,
an online translator that translates into multiple
languages and speaks aloud while highlighting,
Helping People Read Better
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Your Windows Applications
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School and Home Use
TextAloud software helps
students access curriculum,
research assignments, and
improve reading skills. It aids in
overcoming learning and
reading disabilities for a more
confident, successful student.
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www.closingthegap.com 19
and Study Skills Tools that highlight and extract
text from any document or Web site to create study
guides, outlines, etc. Read & Write 4 Gold for Mac
also comes in a Mobile USB format that includes all
of the features of Read & Write Gold on CD with no
installation necessary. It comes on a flash drive that
contains all of the files required to run Read & Write
GOLD and lets users store their own files in addition
to their personalized settings. Great for those who
use multiple computers and want to always have
Read & Write Gold available to use – encourages
independence and inclusion. Visit the Texthelp Web
site and download a free trial of the program and
use it for 30 days.
Kurzweil 3000 Version 4.5 for Macintosh
Standalone (Kurzweil/Cambium Learning: www.
kurzweiledu.com, www.cambiumtech.com) Kurzweil 3000 is also not a Macintosh only program but
is published separately from the Windows version.
Again, I want Macintosh users to know that this
valuable program is available for them. Kurzweil
3000 is a curriculum independent tool that can be
used across the range of curriculum areas, grade
levels and student skill levels. It is a powerful way
for students who struggle with printed text to
access curriculum materials so they can keep up
with assigned reading, learn critical study skills
and successfully complete writing projects and
tests independently. Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh
is designed specifically for Macintosh computers
with a simple, graphic user interface. Some of the
features include dual highlighting (highlight a
sentence, line or phrase in one color and each word
in another color as it is read aloud); one-click access
to reference tools like dictionaries, synonyms, syllables, word spelling, etc.; writing tools, such as spell
check when writing, text-to-speech options (talking
word processor), audible spell checker and word
prediction. Kurzweil can read document in modes
such as continuously, self-paced or Word-by-word.
In Read Silently, the words are highlighted but not
read aloud. You can also magnify spoken words. You
can specify how fast or slow you want Kurzweil to
read. Some of the powerful study skills include text
highlighting, annotations, bubble notes (teachers
can embed bubble notes containing questions and
instructions to assigned reading to help students
stay on task and support reading comprehension),
voice notes, bookmarks (that mark where they left
off in a text or date points in text where assignments
are due) and extraction of outlines or word lists. The
same reading and reference features are available
with Mozilla Firefox on the Internet. Teaching tools
also include the Writing Path – students can take
notes from text, import to Writing Path, then review,
create outlines and check work with a teacherguided review checklist. There are also pre-made
graphic organizers, with notes, to guide the process
of writing for a number of different kinds of writing.
Using Kurzweil 3000, you can create audio files so
you can take your reading where you want on your
iPod. With Kurzweil 3000, teachers can provide tests
in digital format that provides full audible support
for reading and re-reading questions as needed.
Some of the unique test-taking capabilities include
the ability of students to independently complete
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%&'()*(&'( 20 www.closingthegap.com
Pix Writer (Slater Software).
worksheets, classroom test or standardized exams
containing circle-the-answer, fill-in the blanks, true/
false and essay questions within the program. Kurzweil 3000 for Macintosh is compatible with most
electronic files, including Microsoft Word, RTF and
PDF files (PDF file support only with Kurzweil 3000
Professional Color and Black and White editions),
as well as the Windows version of Kurzweil 3000
for easy file sharing across school networks. Documents can also be scanned and read aloud. In the
manual, there is also a chart of Keyboard Equivalents (shortcuts) that can be used for many different
functions. These are particularly helpful for students
who have difficulty with mouse access or just prefer
to use the keyboard. Included also are over 1000
electronic texts, including literary classics for adults
and children, reference materials and historical
Picture It and Pix Writer (Slater Software:
www.slatersoftware.com) PictureIt V5.2 is a pictureassisted reading program that is available as separate versions for both Windows and Macintosh, in
both English and Spanish. It is a teacher resource
that lets you adapt materials for any curricular area.
With over 10,500 literacy support pictures and
the ability to import photos to personalize and
customize, teachers can create their own pictureassisted reading materials to help develop literacy
skills. With it, they can make reading material in any
curriculum area, print the documents or worksheets,
use Reader Mode to hear them read aloud, create
communication boards and game cards, create and
send flash cards home and much more. To make
a document, you just enter the words in the story
text window amd click a button to add pictures to
the words – it’s that easy! Print out or listen at the
computer. You can also import your own pictures,
use a phrase with one picture (i.e. peanut butter,
thank you), customize layouts to create interesting
activities and worksheets, customize fonts, change
voice, rates and pronunciation, add borders, change
color of words, etc. This program is easy to use and
an excellent way to assist reading in children and
adults who are struggling with literacy. Pix Writer is
a companion program that is designed as a pictureassisted writing tool for beginning and struggling
writers. It is a writing-with-pictures talking word
processor. Also for Windows and Macintosh and in
both English and Spanish, you can create a word
bank for students to guide their expressive writing
so that they can write whole words, sentences,
and even stories by selecting buttons that contain
both the words and the pictures. You can easily
October / November, 2011
create PixWriter word banks by typing in a word
and pressing the space bar – a button is instantly
created. When you have completed the word bank,
you lock it and it’s ready for the students to work
with. Students simply click the button to write, using
mouse, keyboard, touchscreen or switch with scanning. PixWriter gives immediate speech feedback.
With buttons structured for individual students,
writing is guided and children tend to include more
detail in their writing. Easy to use and so motivating
and powerful for beginning writers. By grouping
your buttons and color coding them by parts of
speech (i.e. subject, verb, small words, nouns, etc.)
you will also be guiding grammar, word order and
sentence structure. To see a video of PixWriter,
you can visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
LtxEj2ESIBo&feature=related . There are also free
interactive webinars, and demonstrations of both
programs on the Slater Software Web site. You can
also visit a section called Free Stuff. There you will
find all kinds of resources created with PictureIt and
Pix Writer that can be downloaded free of charge.
They are stories created in Picture It in all categories, including animals, holidays, seasons, school,
explorers, social stories, biographies, weather,
hygiene, and much more – with new things coming
every month. If you have children struggling with
beginning reading and writing, these two programs
are an excellent way to reinforce beginning literacy
and give the children an opportunity for success
that will motivate them to achieve even further.
October / November, 2011
Webber HearBuilder Auditory Memory
(SuperDuper Publications: www.superduperinc.com)
This is the fourth in the excellent HearBuilder series.
For both Macintosh and Windows, it is designed to
practice auditory memory, closure and comprehension skills by teaching key strategies for remembering numbers, words, sentences and stories. It
is set within an adventure where each activity is a
different mission. However, it can also be used by
older students by skipping the introductions and
proceeding directly to the activities. This researchbased software includes five listening activities with
many levels each. Memory for Numbers (listen to a
secret code), with 17 levels, has goals for students
to recall three digits with no delay with visual cues
through recalling six digits with a 10-second delay
without visual cues. Memory for Words, with 84
levels, has students recalling three related, onesyllable words presented at half second intervals
with no delay, no foils and with visual cues through
recalling five unrelated, one- to three-syllable words
presented at quarter second intervals when given a
10-second delay, with no visual cues and four foils.
Memory for Details, with 64 levels, has students
identifying a person from a field of three, given
one detail, visual cues, no delay and no distractions through identifying a person from a field of
five, given four details, no visual cues, a 10-second
delay and distractions. Auditory Closure, with 22
Webber HearBuilder Auditory Memory (SuperDuper).
levels, has students determining the missing word
in the final position of a phrase or sentence that
has a high predictability, given a phonemic cue
through determining the missing adjective in any
position of a sentence that has low predictability
and is less than 13 words and given no phonemic
cue. Memory for WH Information, with 12 levels,
has students answering one WH question given
two sentences with repetitions and no background
noise through answering four WH questions given
three sentences with no repetitions and background noise. As with other HearBuilder software,
there are two editions. The Home Edition is for use
with one to four children, monitors progress and
prints progress reports. The Professional Edition
monitors progress and tracks data for an unlimited
www.closingthegap.com 21
number of students, allows you to individualize each
student’s programs and to set levels of difficulty for
each activity. You can also add background noise at
any level and adjust the volume for each student. It
lets you customize and print reports and analyze all
responses. As with the other HearBuilder programs,
this program is extremely well designed with great
graphics and sound and with creative learning
activities that engage the students and help them
master the tasks.
Counting Songs 1 and Counting Songs 2
(Inclusive: www.inclusivetlc.com) This is a delightful
set of two programs for both Macintosh and
Windows. Counting Songs 1 is designed for young
children just learning early number concepts. There
are 10 different songs, including songs like Five
In A Bed, Five Little Ducks, Five Little Firefighters,
Five Little Monkeys, Five Little Speckled Frogs and
others. Seven of the songs count up from one to
five (or one to three if you choose). The remaining
three count down from five to one. There are three
stages – the songs play through one verse at a time;
there is counting before each verse; and the user
counts every number before each verse. The songs
are lively and fun, with repetitive lines. The graphics
are clear and large with fun animations and adorable characters that engage the children. You can
also print out all the lyrics to each song. Counting
Songs 2 is designed for children ages up to 11 with
difficulties learning number concepts. The format is
similar, but the songs feature characters and animations that are appropriate for older learners – such
as Five Girls in a Ring (hula-hoop), Five Rock Stars,
22 www.closingthegap.com
Five Superboys, Five Singers, etc. Both programs can
be used with mouse, touch screen and whiteboard.
Users just click the characters or the arrow key to
advance the program and hear the counting. Both
are excellent for individual and for group use. An
audio CD of the songs is included in each program.
Listen & Respond Professional Edition (Judy
Lynn: www.judylynn.com) In the June DISKoveries,
I reviewed an excellent new interactive program
from Judy Lynn for learning transitional skills, life
skills, pre-vocational skills and with those who are
becoming more involved in the community. It introduces and reinforces the connection of a verbal
request to pictures or words within seven familiar
environments (Cafeteria, Convenience Stores,
School Store, Farmers’ Market, Hardware Store,
Boutique and Sporting Goods Store). The user is
the worker and customers come up to the counter,
one by one, to order one or two items found in that
type of store. Now, there is a new version – Listen
& Respond Professional (Windows only), with many
outstanding new features. The new edition allows
the customers to request one to10 items (this
feature is set by the teacher.) It also lets the teacher
set the customer’s speech rate, add customers
from photos or from any picture file, and create
photo ID cards for screen display or for printing. You
can specify which items can be requested by the
customer (from 161 different items), determine the
frequency of the store manager’s positive or encouraging comments, access via touch window, mouse,
auto scanning with one switch or step scanning
with two switches. You are also able to choose to
Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB) Software (Attainment
display pictures, words or both pictures and words
on the buttons. Data is automatically collected for
each student that can be viewed as text or in a
Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB) Software
(Attainment Company: www.attainmentcompany.
com) Early Literacy Skills Builder Software (ELSB), for
Macintosh and Windows, is a language-based, preliteracy curriculum for elementary aged students
with moderate to severe developmental disabilities.
It’s a multi-year program with seven levels (each
with 14 objectives) that teaches both print (sight
words) and phonemic awareness. It incorporates
scripted lessons, least-prompt strategies (a system
of prompting the student in which the student is
first given the opportunity to respond independently; if no response, a verbal prompt is given; if
no response, a model is given; if still no response, a
physical prompt is given until the correct response
is given), teachable objectives, built-in lesson repetition, and ongoing assessments. All students begin
at Level 1, but if a student struggles at that level,
you can go back and administer Level A. Recommended instruction is on a one-to-one or small
group basis, for two 30-minute sessions daily. The
software can be used as a stand-alone curriculum or
together with the print version. Lessons and objectives include Flashcard Games (to read sight words
and to point to sight words to complete sentences),
Pointing to Words (point to text as it is read), Hidden
Words (say and/or point to a word to complete a
repeated story line), Answering Questions (respond
to literal questions about a story), Chunking Words
(syllable segmentation), Tapping Out Sounds (tap
out sounds in CVC words – consonant-vowel-consonant); Letter Sound Game (identify letter-sound
correspondence); First-Last Sound Game (identify
the first and last sounds in words); Finding Pictures
with Special Sounds (identify pictures that begin/
end with given sounds); Stretching Words (point
to sound in words – sound segmenting); Finding
Pictures (blending sounds to identify pictures); New
Word Games (point to pictures/words representing
new vocabulary); and Fun With Writing (use new
vocabulary words and personal information to
increase awareness of print and promote use of
new vocabulary learned). Assessments are assigned
at the end of each level. (Lessons may be repeated
many times before the level is completed.) Sight
word flashcards plus images in the program are
available to print. They can be used to create overlays for communication devices or other support
materials you create to be printed. These will all
help with generalizing learned information. ELSB is
a scientifically-based early literacy curriculum that
October / November, 2011
is research-based. With the purchase of ELSB, you
are entitled to three years of free upgrades. New
activities will be released to further enhance the
Click To Read: All About Me (Marblesoft: www.
marblesoft.com) This is the third in the Click to Read
Series for Mac and Windows. The first two, Click to
Read Life Skills and Click To Read Animal Habitats,
were reviewed in previous DISKoveries. This new
program, Click To Read: All About Me, follows the
same format. There are four stories for early readers,
using SymbolStix picture communication symbols
(color coded by parts of speech). Designed for
ages 3-7, this is an excellent program for vocabulary and language development and the development of early literacy. Each of the included stories
has a reading mode, where the reader listens to
the story, sentence by sentence, and becomes
familiar with the vocabulary and symbols. Clicking
anywhere advances to the next page. The story
can then be read in an Interactive mode. In this
mode, the learner again sees the text, picture and
three symbols for the text. They can then click any
symbol to hear its meaning read aloud. When they
are finished exploring, they can then click the arrow
to advance to the next page. In the Tell The Story
mode, there are three levels and children tell the
story by arranging the symbols. The first level is
errorless – two of the symbols are in place and the
third (only symbol below the line) just gets selected
to complete the sentence. In the second level, two
of the symbols are already in place but there are
now three symbols below the line and only one
is correct. In the third level, children must arrange
Click To Read: All About Me (Marblesoft)
the three symbols in correct order to re-create the
sentence. There is a Show What You Know activity
for each story, where the players can demonstrate
their understanding of the core vocabulary in a
practice mode or by playing Bingo or Concentration
with the picture symbols. The original and motivating stories included are I Am Me (highlighting
difference and similarities between all people),
How Do You Feel (emotions), Using My 5 Senses,
and Looking Good (daily hygiene). Each story builds
vocabulary through simple text and picture support
and encourages literacy while providing student
independence and success. The program works
with mouse, touch screen or switches and has many
options to change voice (male/female, background,
etc.). Along with each program is a “print book”
that allows you to print a copy of the story for each
student that can be used during guided reading, for
independent practice or for home reading. The core
vocabulary is also provided on small cards that you
may print, laminate and cut apart. All three of the
programs in this series are excellent for literacy and
language for all young learners. Programs are available individually or as a bundle of all three.
Switch Skills Scanning (Inclusive: www.inclusivetlc.com) This program, for Macintosh and Windows,
contains 22 simple activities that can be played with
one or two switches. To help leaners make choices
with scanning, these activities for single and for two
switches are split into five sections with increasing
levels of skills and complexity. They begin with “free
choice” activities (errorless) and progress to specific
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October / November, 2011
www.closingthegap.com 23
Augmentative Communication Tools
GoTalk 9+
GoTalk 4+
GoTalk 20+
Attainment Talker 6
Attainment Talker 24
GoTalk 32+
GoTalk Express 32
Big Buttons
for Attainment
AAC products
Early Literacy Skills Build
Anticipatory Set
Objective 6: Clapping Out Syllables
Self-Determination Curriculum
Dr. Michael Wehmeyer
and Dr. Susan B. Palmer
Student Reader,
interactive software,
and Instructors guide
Builder Print & Software Curriculum
Out Syllables
Level and lesson
Visual progress
Objective 8: Letter Sounds Game
Objective 13: The New Word Game
Pause control
Objective 1: Flashcard Game
Student avatar
See the
wearable communicator
Pre-Algebra & Pre-Geometry
targets. “Free Choice” activities include Instruments,
Rockets, FunFair and Gadgets. Three objects in the
category appear on-screen in a line. Players press
the switch to begin the scan and then choose any
of the objects to see it animate. “Find The Object”
activities have seven more advanced versions of
Free Choice activities. A single object will appear
in one of the three boxes. When the scan box is
on the object, users select with their switch to see
it animate. In “Complete the Set” activities, users
select the object that belongs with two others
that are already on screen. Only the object that
completes the set is in the scanning boxes (other
boxes are empty). The four activities in “Create A
Scene” are slightly more advanced. Multiple objects
(four) must now be added, one by one, to create a
scene. They can be selected in any order. The final
activity is “Grid Scanning”- with two or three rows.
These begin with free choice activities that allow
the user to pick any objects. More demanding tasks
with specific targets are then introduced. This is
another excellent program from Inclusive and ideal
for students learning to use switches with scanning
to make choices. Great practice for learning to use
scanning with communication devices.
Matrix Maker (Inclusive: www.inclusivetlc.com)
Matrix Maker was designed by Inclusive for Window
XP and higher to be a simple and easy software
program for making printed communication overlays and educational resources. There are templates
for communication devices, schedules, calendars,
communication books, boards, flash cards, scheduling charts, labels and games/worksheets. It uses
the 12,000 SymbolStix library from News-2-You.
There are many options to add pictures from
the computer, flash drive, camera, etc., as well as
Webcam. You can flip, rotate, make painting adjustments to the picture, cell color, add and change text
and many other options.
My Crazy Life (Apte: www.apte.com) Looking
to motivate young girls to do some writing at the
computer? This standalone multimedia program for
both Mac and Windows provides a personal diary
that can be kept on the computer – with the ability
to add pictures, videos and music, as well as text.
Without going online, girls can record their private
thoughts, personal pictures and favorite music in a
private format (password protected). Just click the
calendar feature to review and browse old entries.
There are log-ins for up to 10 users, so it’s a good
program to also use in the classroom for journaling
or within the therapy situation.
Other language programs from Super
Duper (www.superduperinc.com) include: Funzee
Everyday Go-Togethers. In this fun learning game
for ages 4 and up, players learn the vocabulary and
find the 72 pairs of photos that go together, in five
interactive activities, with three difficulty levels. As
difficulty level increases, so do the go-togethers! In
Learn Go-Togethers, players look at the photo on
the left and click the photo on the right that goes
with it for a grid of four pictures. The program will
repeat any items the student misses until they are
answered correctly. In Bingo/Lotto Game, they look
at the photo on the left and click the photo that
goes with it from a grid of 16 pictures. In Matching
Game, they play concentration and match up the
go-togethers. The remaining two activities are
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October / November, 2011
for groups of players – you can enter two to four
players or teams and they can play a concentration
game. You can also create bingo or lotto boards and
print them out so the whole class can play. Teachers
can build their own lotto and bingo boards and
save them. Webber Basic Classifying: This program
includes seven Classifying Fun Decks, including
Action-Agent (i.e., What rings? Bunny, telephone,
tape), Classifying (hammer and nails go with which
group: tools, communication, colors), Function
Match-Ups (you wash your hair with it: rake, remote,
shampoo), Name that Category (a frog, a kangaroo
and a rabbit are: places, yellow things, hopping
animals), Part to Whole Sorting (these are all parts of
a ...) and Things That Go Together. Webber Figurative
Language Interactive Fun Decks, for Kindergarten
and up, contains six fun decks: Idioms, Metaphors
and Similes , Famous Words and Proverbs (The more
the merrier really means:____), Homonyms (his
favorite fruit is a pair, pear), Multiple Meanings and
Synonyms (one word in a sentence is highlighted
and players find a synomym from three choices). All
questions and answers are read aloud. All games
can be played with or without sound, with a partial
or full deck or multiple decks. The programs track
data for an unlimited number of students and store
the items each student identifies incorrectly. You
can also print progress reports and change settings
for each student.
Attribute Tiles (Attainment Company: www.
attainmentcompany.com) This software program
teaches students to name and sort objects of
different sizes, colors and shapes. There are three
activities, each with many options. You can choose
to name and match by shape, color, size or by all
randomly. You can select to have one to nine
different tiles on-screen at the same time. The
Place activity is really fun after basic shape and
color discrimination is learned. A design made up
of different shapes appears on the screen and the
user has to match and move the required pieces
to the puzzle to color and complete the picture.
When completed, a full color, real picture of the
object appears. Options for this activity include
the option to show only required pieces, to show
a color picture or to hint shapes as mouse passes
over. Attribute Tiles works with Windows and Mac
OS X and is touchscreen compatible.
Step-by-Step Choice with Levels Communicator (Ablenet: www.ablenetinc.com) With all
the features of the Big and LITTLE Step-By-Step
Communicator, this new one adds the power and
convenience of levels. Levels can be used to prerecord messages to be used at specific times or
for recording and storing sequential messages.
There’s a total of four minutes of recording time.
To advance the messages, you activate for the first
message and then activate again. You can put in
one word prompts at each level (i.e. cookie, music,
book) followed by the full request. Users would then
listen to the prompt, and if it’s not what they want,
advance to the next level. When they hear what
they want, they let the full message play. You can
attach the switch of your choice and play messages
with an external switch. If you want only a repeating
message, you can set up so that the same message
will repeat with each activation of the switch top.
Model Me Going Places Model Me Kids DVDs ( ModelMeKidspany).
Switch includes interchangeable switch tops in Red,
Yellow, Green and Blue.
Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard
K800 (Logitech: www.logitech.com) With this wireless keyboard, the backlit keys automatically adjust
based on the amount of light in the room, helping
preserve battery life. You can also manually adjust
the keyboard’s backlighting, using the FN+F5 and
F6 keys to adjust to off, 25 percent, 50 percent, 75
percent or full brightness. The sensors detect your
hands as they approach the keyboard to turn the
backlight on and off. You get bright illumination
day or night. The concave design of the keys, along
with softly rounded edges, help position the fingers
properly. To charge the keyboard, you connect
the included cable to a USB port – no disposable
batteries needed. You can always check the level of
your battery by pressing FN+F7. This is an excellent
Miss Sue’s
k e y b o a r d
f u n
Do you have students for whom handwriting is
difficult or laborious, but they struggle to use a
computer keyboard? Do typing tutors leave them
frustrated and with feelings of failure?
Miss Sue’s Keyboard Fun
is designed to teach children
with physical or learning
disabilities identify where keys
are on the keyboard using
sounds and pictures, then
build up to spelling words
with or without prompts
Only $95 for Windows or Mac
Visit OT-Care at www.ot-care.com
or call 540-301-6372 for a free trial
October / November, 2011
[email protected]
www.closingthegap.com 27
option for those who need visual support when
using a standard keyboard. The keyboard can also
be used with a laptop.
Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K650
(Logitech: www.logitech.com) This wireless
keyboard is solar powered and charges itself whenever there’s light. It stays charged for at least three
months in total darkness. It’s only 1/3 inch thick and
will work with a laptop or a desktop. This is a very
“green” keyboard with a small footprint – PVC-free
construction and a fully recyclable box.
The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology
in Special Education (Joan L. Green: www.innovativespeech.com, www.prufrock.com) This is an excellent, comprehensive guide to using technology in
all aspects of special education and intervention,
including language comprehension, speaking,
reading, writing, thinking and memory. It is written
for parents, teachers, therapists and individuals
with learning challenges. An introductory chapter
explains in detail some basic issues of computer
access, switch software, speech recognition,
keyboard and mouse options, different computer
types and operating systems, and Windows and
Macintosh accessibility options. The book is divided
into chapters on Technology to Improve Verbal
Expression, Auditory Comprehension, Reading
Comprehension, Reading Skills, Written Expression
and Cognition-Learning-Memory. These chapters
include treatment approaches, specific software
programs with detailed descriptions and other technology options and tools, such as closed captioning,
electronic organizers, talking photo albums, talking
translators, LeapPad and digital photography.
Extensive and excellent references are made for
online programs, Web sites, and apps for iPad. There
is a section on features of different word processors, picture-based talking word processors, word
prediction, dictionaries and graphic organizers.
Included also are chapters on games, free programs,
online interactive activities, Internet communication (blogs, chat rooms, e-learning, podcasts) and
much more. This book is a must-have for those who
provide assistive technology services, who use technology in teaching or therapy and anyone who uses
a computer or related technology with individuals
with special needs. Also visit Joan Green’s Web site,
www.innovativespeech.com, for helpful resources
and up-to-date information and to sign up for her
Comprehending More Complex Auditory
Information (Jean Gilliam DeGaetan, available from
SuperDuper Publications, www.superduperinc.com)
This is a workbook designed for students who are
having difficulty with auditory processing of oral
language, remembering events in order, retaining
specific information, retaining subtle implied information and who need practice in relating events
that occur in more than one time period. The goals
are to listen to two-part and three-part sequential
stories to retell the order of events, to comprehend
and retain important details and subtle information and to be able to accurately answer questions
at both the end of each paragraph and at the end
of the complete story. The instructor reads the first
part of the story aloud while the students look at
the picture that shows a scene from the story.
Then the instructor reads five questions aloud for
the students to answer. Then the second part of
28 www.closingthegap.com
the story is read aloud, followed by the questions
again. After that, there are follow-up activities to
remember and understand subtle (implied) information, to understand time concepts in the story,
to rapidly recall specific information, to remember
sequencing through clues and to be able to retell
the story. Directions are provided on each instructor’s worksheet to enable the professional to use the
unit without prior preparation. There are 21 different
activities. Good for teaching sequencing, concrete
details, subtle clues and social language.
Attainment’s Writing with Purpose Teacher’s
Guide (Angel Sterling-Orth and Linda Schreiber,
avaialable from Attainment, www.attainmentcompany.com) Writing With Purpose is a resource
written for teachers to use with students in grades
4-9 who need support in the writing process. It
builds written language skills using oral language
and thinking. The book’s major emphasis is on the
different types of expository text (text that instructs
or presents information): writing to sequence, to
compare, to describe and the writing process (planning, writing, reviewing, adjusting and monitoring
progress). There are four units, each with detailed
lesson plans. Unit One, with five lessons, covers
topics such as what we write, what we know about
writing, writing as a form of communication, and the
writing process. In Sequential Writing, students write
a letter home, an e-mail, a note and a recipe. There
are also units on Descriptive Writing and Comparative Writing. In the Appendix, there are excellent
teacher/student resources, such as an evaluation
guide for rating the students’ writing, outline guides
for sequencing, written guidelines for descriptions,
and a Venn diagram for comparing.
Model Me Kids DVDs ( ModelMeKids: www.
modelmekids.com) Four excellent new DVDs for
video modeling from Model Me Kids. For ages 2-8,
Model Me Going Places has 12 different sequences
in which children model appropriate behavior.
These include the Doctor, the Mall, a Birthday
Party, the Hairdresser, two sequences about the
Dentist (one on what the dentist does and the
other on what the patient does), the Grocery Store,
Transportation, the Library, Playground a Restaurant and at School. The sequences feature songs
by music therapist Rachel Rambach. This unique
merger of video modeling and music therapy is
designed to help teach skills in a way that appeals
to the strengths of children with developmental
disabilities. The graphics and the music are used to
make the video appealing to children with autism,
Asperger syndrome, and preschool children of all
developmental levels. A CD-ROM of photographs
is included with each video. The photos are a great
way to demonstrate and review the social skills
shown in the video. Photos may be printed as flashcards for handy reference or viewed as a computer
slideshow. Also included is an insert with song lyrics.
Also for ages 2-8, Model Me Faces and Emotions
also feature the songs by Rachel Ramback. Children
on the video demonstrate a variety of faces and
emotions, including happy, sad, afraid, tired, angry,
exited, surprised, bored, calm, proud, love and shy.
Each scene lasts between one and two minutes and
at the end is a storyboard summarizing the emotion
shown. Each emotion is demonstrated in more
than one situation and across environments to help
promote generalization. A CD-ROM of photographs
is also included, along with the storyboards. Model
Me Kids also has two new DVDs for older children,
those between ages 9-17. The first of these is Model
Me Organization & Motivation: teen-aged children
model skills for getting organized, staying motivated and persisting with tasks, including: Do My
Best, Planning Ahead, Being on Time, Note-Taking,
Organization, Persistence, Break It Down, Flexibility,
Focus, The Big Picture, Memorization and Mistakes.
The children in the video narrate each scene. There
are two versions of the videos. The first is with narration and graphics that help explain the particular
rule. In the second presentation, the same video
is repeated without narration and graphics. This
allows a parent, teacher or therapist to customize
the lesson to the need of the individual child. Each
skill is demonstrated in more than one situation and
across environments to help increase the generalization of the material. The second video for older
children is Model Me Confidence & Bullying Prevention. It includes children modeling skills to prevent
bullying and to build self-esteem. These include
Self-Advocacy, Peer Pressure, Choosing Friends,
Building Strengths, Visualization, Positive Self-Talk,
Scripting, Stay with Others, Telling Isn’t Tattling, Walk
Tall and a Group Discussion. The video is hosted by
children from the DVD, who narrate each scene. As
with the Organization & Motivation DVD, there are
two version – one with narration and one without,
and each skill is demonstrated in more that one
situation and across environments. All DVDs include
a CD-ROM of photographs also. Visit the Web site
to see screen shots and short videos of each DVD
to see actual sequences and music. All DVDs are
extremely well done.
Shalom Sesame (SISU Home Entertainment:
www.sisuent.com, www. Shalomsesame.org) Five
wonderful new volumes of this exceptional DVD
series starring the Sesame Street characters. These
complete the 12-part DVD series starring Grover
and Anneliese can de Pol as they travel to Israel to
learn about the Jewish culture and tradition, as well
as showing the diversity of Israeli life to American
children. In Volume 8, Grover Learns Hebrew, Grover
learns new words in Hebrew, sings the Aleph-Bet
song and tells about his favorite Hebrew word.
Volume 9, Countdown to Shavuot, tells about the
celebration of receiving the Torah. Volume 10, The
Sticky Shofar, is about Rosh Hashanah, the Israeli
New Year. Grover and others learn a valuable lesson
about friendship and forgiveness just in time to
start the New Year right. In Volume 11, Monsters in
the Sukkah, children learn about the two holidays
Sukkot and Simchat Torah as Grover decorates the
sukkah, and take a visit to a kibbutz. Volume 12,
Adventure in Israel, is the final DVD in this series
– watch Grover explore Israel his own way – by
Some other fun DVDs for preschoolers
include Timmy Time Picture Day (www.timmytimedvd.com), Bob The Builder The Big Dino Dig
(www.bobthebuilder.com) and Roary the Racing Car
(www.roarytheracingcar.com), all from HIT Entertainment, distributed by Lionsgate.
Big Grips Frame and Stand (www.biggrips.
com) This is an iPad case that is made for children
– it is a soft foam frame that makes the iPad easy to
October / November, 2011
grab and hold. It does not cover the back or front
of the iPad, just surrounds the edges. The iPad slips
in easily and snugly and leaves access to all ports
and controls. It has a matching stand for working
at a desk or watching movies. It can be placed in
the frame in either portrait or landscape orientation.
Made from the same material, the stand is sturdy
and stable. The frame and stand are non-toxic and
lead and latex free and come in a variety of colors
that children love. They are lightweight, durable,
easy to clean and are sold separately.
BoxWave styluses (BoxWave: www.BoxWave.
com) If you thought that the only stylus out there
were the thin ones (slightly smaller than 1” circumference), you are going to love these styluses
from BoxWave. The Universal Capacitive Stylus
and the Universal Capacitive Styra are both 1.25
inches in circumference and, as a result, provide
a little better gripping capability. In addition, the
Universal Capacitive Stylus has a small connector
on top through which is a string handle that can
be attached to keychain or other places to keep it
safe. The Universal Capacitive Styra also has a pen
at the other end so it serves a dual purpose. It
features either a magnetized or a non-magnetized
cap. The magnetic cap option allows you to store
the cap on the stylus when the ballpoint pen is in
use, ensuring you never lose your cap while wrting.
But my favorite for adults and children with special
needs is the Universal Sketching Capacitive Stylus.
It has a pencil-shaped design (eight sided) with a
circumference just short of an inch and one half.
It is made of durable aluminum with BoxWave’s
high-quality responsive tip. It really provides a good
grip for those with grapho-motor difficulties and is
excellent to use, especially with writing and tracing
apps, like Space Board (see below).
More iPad cases: With the new iPad2, there are
many additional kinds of cases available. If you have
the Apple Smart Cover, you still need additional
protection for the back of your iPad. So here are
some new and great solutions to this problem, all
from www.boxwave.com : iPad2 Smart Sleeve – this
is a thermoplastic polyurethane case specifically
designed to be paired with Apple’s Smart Cover.
It’s thin, flexible and lightweight. The Smart Sleeve
picks up where the Smart Cover leaves off, providing
durable protection for the back of your iPad. When
combined, the result is all-around protection. The
Smart Sleeve has cut-outs that provide access to all
of the iPad speakers, controls and ports. It also has
a cut-out section designed to fit the Smart Cover
hinge. (It comes in all colors to match the Smart
Cover.) iPad2 Smart Back Cover: This is a polycarbonate (firm) case that also pairs with the Apple
Smart Cover. It is lightweight and durable and
designed to protect the back of your iPad with its
clear, glossy finish. iPad SoftSuit with Pocket: This
is a slim carrying case with a zipper. It cushions
your device and also has an integrated pocket for
carrying the charger when needed. Fits your iPad
with the Smart Cover, too. Quilted iPad Carrying
Bag: Your iPad fits snugly inside with thick and soft
padding all around that’s internally reinforced with
a firm plastic shield. With its double zipper design,
you can lock your iPad as you carry the carrying bag
by its integrated and removable handle.
PCS Apps (Mayer-Johnson: www.mayerjohnson.com) There is now a new series of apps
from Mayer-Johnson using Picture Communication Symbols – you will love using them with your
students with autism, Down syndrome, language
delays, pervasive developmental disorder and more.
They will be great at home, in school, in speech
therapy – and anywhere the iPad is. There are four
apps available free of charge. In each, there is one
set of PCS cards/symbols and you can order more
sets if you like through iTunes. In PCS Vocabulary
Flash Cards, there is a sample deck of 50 symbols.
(You can order other categories, such as places,
holidays, food, action, emotions, etc.) The picture
appears with the word below – touch to hear it
spoken. In PCS Scramble, there is a sample deck of
50 symbols (other sets include three-letter words,
four-letter words, etc.). In this app, you see a symbol
(touch it to hear its name) and below are the letters
to spell the word all scrambled up. Children touch
and drag the letters to spell the words. PCS Vocabulary Bingo contains the animal set. Others available
are actions, foods, holidays, home items and much
more. You select a board size (3x3 or 5x5) and match
the picture on the side to a picture on your bingo
board. PCS Vocabulary Memory also has an animal
set, board sizes 4, 6, 8,12,16 and 20 and children can
play a concentration-type game with the pictures.
SpaceBoard Digital WorkBooks PreK (www.
space-boards.com) With this excellent app, students
with grapho-motor difficulties can use the iPad to
learn and practice their basic writing skills. This app,
the beginning one in the series of 12, developed by
classroom teachers, focuses on tracking and tracing,
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October / November, 2011
www.closingthegap.com 29
directionality, tracing large pictures, tracing basic
shapes, numbers and upper and lower case letters.
Using a matching technique (i.e., trace or draw
a line from …. to …..), other preschool concepts
are integrated into the learning (i.e. go-togethers,
rhyming words, initial consonant sounds, matching
skills, etc.). Within the app, there are 18 Skill Packets
with about 20 pages in each packet. Children can
choose their pencil width and color to work in.
There is an eraser to choose to remove small areas,
as well as the ability to clear the page completely.
This gives users the opportunity to correct errors
and to practice repeatedly. There is also a Clear
All Books feature on the main menu. Some other
options include Wrist Protection (protects the
screen from accidental wrist and hand movements
) and right/left hand selection. There are also blank
pages for creative drawing and blank ruled pages
for creative writing. A stylus is recommended (see
above Boxwave reviews for a description of some of
the styluses available that might be appropriate for
preschoolers.) This is a company that is committed
to supporting the special needs population and
would appreciate any feed-back.
Speech With Milo: Sequencing (www.
Speechwithmilo.com) Milo is back, this time with
35 sequencing activities. Children put three cards in
order to create a sequence – for example, planting
a flower, baking a cake or catching a ball. There is
no narration, but under each card is the printed text
(i.e., getting in car, starting car, driving car). When a
piece is placed in the correct box, there is reward
applause, if selected. (There also is an option for a
sound indicating an unsuccessful choice.) Touching
the phrase button at any time will give you the topic
(i.e. Milo is driving a car.)
Super Duper Webber Photo Cards: What Are
They Thinking? (www.superduperinc.com) This app
include 60 photos of different situations. Students
are encouraged to look at the picture, analyze the
situation and make suggestions regarding what the
characters in the card are thinking. It is designed to
improve inferencing, reasoning and conversational
skills. All the people and animals in the cards have
a thought bubble above their heads. Touch the
screen to hear what everyone is thinking or touch
a thought bubble to hear just what that person is
thinking. Touch the refresh button to hear some
other thoughts that fit the card, too. When the
students answer with their thoughts, you can keep
track of them by touching the red circle for incorrect
and the green for correct. Slide the cards to get to
the next picture. You are then able to collect data for
one student and you can e-mail your results. Good
to use in speech and language therapy to work on
grammatical and linguistic skills, articulation and
fluency, narrative skills and increasing sentence
length. Super Duper also has a Data Tracker app
that can be used to track success during a therapy
session and an Age Calculator app (free).
Shake & Make (Day and Night Studios: http://
www.nightanddaystudios.com) With this new
puzzle app, players, ages 8 and up, see the picture,
study it, then shake the iPad and the pieces fall to
the floor. Goal is to put the picture back in under a
minute. There’s a hint button for another peek at the
picture if you’re not sure what to do next. More difficult puzzles unlock as you solve easier ones. There
are over 100 puzzles to unlock. For younger children, you can turn off the time to allow more time
to solve the puzzle. They can also solve the puzzle
by tilting and rotating the iPad to watch each piece
snap into place.
EBooks from Oceanhouse Media (Oceanhousemedia.com) This company continues to be
a leader in bringing classic children’s books to the
iPad. In the past few months, they have continued
to develop new storybook apps and to increase
their range. All the books are presented with three
ways to read. In Read to Me, the story is read aloud,
page-by-page, with word highlighting. Readers
listen and interact by touching pictures to hear their
names, by swiping to turn the pages, by pressing
words to hear them spoken individually or by
touching and holding the text to hear it read over
again. In Read It Myself mode, all the same options
are available, but the story is not read automatically.
If the user wants a word or a page read, they can
just press and hold. In Auto Play mode, the story will
read in entirety without the user having to swipe to
hear the whole story. Some of the new stories they
have created recently include: Dr. Seuss’s Happy
Birthday to You, Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?, The
Cat in the Hat Comes Back, and The Thinks You Can
Think. This title offers a new interactive feature. For
the first time, you can “build” each page by touching
one of the floating question marks that appear in
the white sections of the screen. After each page
is created (typically taking about five taps), you can
see the items labeled both in print and with clear
speech. There is also a new Mercer Mayer book, I
Was So Mad, two Berenstain Bears books – Learn
Speech affected
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30 www.closingthegap.com
October / November, 2011
to Share and Bedtime Battle, and three of Helen
Lester’s Tacky books: Tacky the Penguin, Tacky & The
Winter Games, and Tacky’s Christmas. There’s also
Elmer’s Special Day by David McKee (the story of
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant), It’s Not What You’ve
Got by Wayne Dyer (lessons for kids on money and
abundance) Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree and
Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car, both by Eileen
Christelow. Once Upon a Potty by Alona Frankel is
also available in both a girl and a boy version, and
includes the potty song and a sing along included,
in addition to the read aloud features. And for those
dinosaur seekers, there’s Tyrannosaurus Rex from the
Smithsonian Institution. Oceanhouse Media now
has several “lite” versions online – in these free apps,
you can download and try the first 10 pages of the
book before buying the whole book. Once you try
them, you will want them all.
MyTales Digital Books for Children: (mytalesdigital.com) This company was created with the
goal of adapting exceptional children’s books for
use on digital devices. Working together with book
publisher Tiger Tales, they have created a group of
books and lullabies that are excellent for young
children. One Rainy Day is all about colors and
how ducks love those rainy days. One Rainy Day
means red boots, orange umbrella, blue puddles
and much more. The book has great graphics, fun
sound effects, characters that talk and touchable
objects. There are four activities – Read to Me, Read
by Myself, Color (from a palette of 10 “raindrop”
colors, children touch the color they want to fill
four favorite scenes from the story) and Play (For
example, children are directed to “Put the red boots
on duck” – and then they drag the red boots from
the side and place them on duck’s feet. One Snowy
Day is all about numbers, with a similar format of
Read To Me, Read by Myself, Color and Play. Also
delightful, with one wooly hat, two warm mitten,
etc. There are also lullabies that come to life with
beautiful illustrations, song and narrations. You can
even record your own versions to enjoy with your
child. Lullabies include Hush, Little Baby, and Sleep,
Baby Sleep, with great illustrations and singing,
reading and instrumental versions.
Callaway Books (Callaway Digital Arts: www.
Callaway.com) Some other great digital books come
from Callaway Digital Arts. In Angelina Ballerina
– Angelina’s New Ballet Teacher, you can have the
whole story read aloud, with hotspots on the screen
to help reinforce the story and delight the children.
You can also Paint with the iPad and color in five of
the pages from the story or create an easy or hard
jigsaw puzzle. In addition, there are five videos to
watch, all starring Angelina. Narration, graphics,
animation and sound are all wonderful! For the
boys, there’s Thomas The Train: Hero of the Rails,
with the same features to read the story, paint and
do puzzles. And for all children, there’s The Monster
at the End of This Book starring Grover – delightfully
illustrated, with a very funny main character and a
funny story plot. Children tickle Grover, untie knots,
turn pages and knock down a brick wall, which gets
Grover very upset because he’s afraid of the monster
at the end of the book. Delightful story and some
hints for parents on dealing with children’s fears are
also included. Callaway books are masterfully done!
Here are some of my other favorite apps
for literacy learning, sequencing, language and
following directions – not to mention fun – to be
enjoyed by children and adults of all ages!!
October / November, 2011
Cookie Doodle, Cake Doodle, Jelly Doodle,
TieDye Doodle, Ice Doodle, and Candy Doodle
The Scoop Shop (http://hippohooray.com)
Bookworm (www.popcap.com)
Montessori Crosswords ( http://lescapadou.
Word Wizard (http: http://lescapadou.com/)
iSwifter (http://iswifter.net ) lets you play sites
that use Flash
Hangman for Kids (http://ar-entertainment.
I Spy Spooky Mansion (http://www.scholastic.
ReadIt (www.smackall.com) paste anything into
this app and it will read it aloud for you … and it’s
Joan Tanenhaus, M.A., CCC, Speech-Language
Pathologist/Assistive Technology Specialist, is
Founder and Executive Director of Technology for
Language and Learning, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the use of computers
and technology with children and adults with
Special Needs. (e-mail: [email protected])
www.closingthegap.com 31
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