AppStore User Rating:
Kids Sound Lab Pro is designed for parents, teachers, or other adults to provide letter sound and articulation practice to young learners or ESL students. The app presents consonant sounds in the usual order of acquisition, with options to hear and produce the sound in isolation, in syllables, and in words. Vowel sounds are presented separately, and the app provides practice games for all letters.
- Recording and playback feature included
- Interactive games included
- Description of how to produce each sound
- Sounds introduced in order of typical acquisition
- Intuitive and easy-to-use
Kids Sound Lab Pro is a very high quality app that will help parents, teachers and care givers provide sequential and effective articulation practice activities to students. The app is easy to use and easy to customize to the needs of the learner. It includes the capability of setting up individual user accounts to keep track of multiple students. All of the phonemes are represented on the home screen, so it is easy to choose (or allow the student to choose) which ones to practice. Developers have obviously done extensive research before designing, and have collected data from users of the app to document its effectiveness.
This app is an outstanding example of an articulation practice app. One caution is to not confuse it with a phonics program-the app deals primarily with letter sounds and how to say them, not how they are likely to be spelled in key words. For example, the sound /m/ is paired with a picture of an ice cream cone, because the character is making the “Mmmmmm mmmm” sound to indicate pleasure in the taste. The sound /b/ is paired with a drum because the phoneme sounds much like the sound of a drum beat.
Each of the 24 consonant sounds is presented by showing the capital, lower case, and finger spelling form of the letter with a related animation and a short narration. Users can tap an icon to hear a description of how to make the sound with lips, tongue, mouth and voice. Some of these descriptions are quite clear, such as “put your lips together and make your nose and throat vibrate” to make the sound of M. Other descriptions, however, leave just a little bit to be desired, such as the explanation for the sound of W, which is described as “hooting like an owl.” On the whole, the feature is helpful, but adults should prescreen each one to make sure the explanation makes sense to them.
After the introductory sequence, users can pop balloons that voice the consonant with each of the five long vowels, then can see and hear a collection of illustrated key words beginning with the target sound. Finally, there are three interactive games to reinforce each sound.
The section dealing with the vowel sounds explains the long and short sounds of each of the five vowels, and then provides similar interactive games to reinforce the learning. Both the consonant and the vowel sections have a feature that will allow students to record and play back their attempts to make the sounds. This will be very helpful for teachers or adults working with multiple students, to help monitor progress.
While this app really isn’t intended to be entertaining, children are likely to find it engaging. And while the app is intended for younger learners, it is not babyish, and could be useful for older ESL students, as well. Each picture is animated, and there is a nice narration for each sound. The pictures are clear and colorful, and each depicts familiar items or scenes. The interactive games are easy to use. They include activities such as sorting words by initial sound, playing a matching game, and popping balloons on the screen. There is a nice variety of types of responses that will keep the app interesting.
This app costs $5.99 in the App Store, but it is worth the investment if you are working with students who need articulation practice or students who are learning English sounds. It is a professional tool that is easy enough for parents to use, and robust enough that therapists and teachers will appreciate its capabilities.
Kids Sound Lab Pro is very child-friendly. There are sections designed for adults, such as student records, links to ratings and websites, social media, email contact information, and so forth that are all protected by an effective parent gate (solving a multiplication fact with some text-dense directions). The only possible trouble spot is that the settings area which contains percent settings for passing and other options, is unprotected.
- Parent area (contains protected external links, social media, and app rating)
- NO in-app purchase
- NO 3rd party ads
- NO in-app purchase