Thursday, April 26, 2012

Articulation Station

This post originally appeared at Play on Words. Thanks to author Sherry Artemenko for allowing us to repost it!

“Articulation Station” by Little Bee has all the app-tributes for an engaging, fun, successful therapy session. Organized in a thoughtful way, it promotes practice of the 22 sounds of the English language, by initial, medial and final placement in a word as well as blends, and in increasingly difficult contexts through the word, sentence and story levels. What stands out in this app is the rich variety of images — photographs of a close-up rose, blowup rainbow, 3-D robot or a watermelon that you’d like to taste–so identification is clear and appealing to the student.

Since I am an itinerant speech therapist, I deliver therapy in kids’ homes. I knew I had a winner when I used “Articulation Station” with my kids and the parents got hooked too, wanting to immediately buy the app for their child! There went my creative therapy tool, oh well.

Word Level

I used Articulation Station with a variety of kids working on sounds, ages 3-11. Tap the screen to hear the correct production before a child’s attempt or give your own best speech therapist model! Every step can easily be recorded by pushing the little red button on the lower left and then listening to the child’s attempt. This is so helpful in training a child to make his own judgements about his productions. A 5 year-old could move through the steps independently, including recording and listening to her voice, but she needed an adult over her shoulder to remind her to say the words! I guess she thought she was just playing a video game there for a minute.

Rotating Sentence Level

At the word level, kids can choose between practice with 20 flashcards or a matching game where a winning match causes the cards to disappear into a cloud of stars–just what kids love. The sentence level offers options for rotating words within the same sentence or unique sentences. Rotating was a favorite as kids filled in a silly sentence such as “Sally sang a song about the _____” or Michelle put the ____ in the washer.” Kids loved to press the Spin button so the fill-in-the blank options rotated to give a new word to use in the sentence. 5 year-old Hailey completed, “Michelle put the ocean in the washer,” and then said, “Silly Michelle!” The rotating option was easier for younger kids who can’t read yet because they could memorize the carrier phrase, although I found that the unique sentences worked well when we tapped the screen to hear the model and kids could at least repeat the first half of the sentence which usually contained the target word.

The story level is composed of two levels, of cleverly composed stories using multiple target words in a repetitive pattern. “The kid hid on his new slide, under his bed, behind the sled” and so on. Three wh-questions follow for the child to answer. Level 1 uses pictures interspersed in the text for emergent or reluctant readers, while level 2 is all text.
What I liked:
  • well-organized by sound, position, and level of difficulty
  • beautiful, engaging graphics
  • fantastically fun spinner that kids loved
  • clever stories with questions to answer (we all know this isn’t easy, considering the word bank we have to work with!)
  • easy data collection method to keep track of percentage of correct responses
  • easy sound recording and playback feature that kids as young as 5 can do independently
  • variety of activities to engage the kids, especially those with a short attention span
I highly recommend Articulation Station for speech therapists and parents for home practice. Thanks to speech and language pathologist Heidi Hanks for this great app, which is an extension of the excellent content she has on her website for those who want to learn about speech sound articulation,

The above is solely the opinion of the author. Articulation Station app was provided for review by Little Bee


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