Pictoword – A simple game that presents 2 photos and 2 lines of scrambled letters per screen. The student names each photo (labeling goal) to create the mystery compound word (vocabulary), then selects and orders the letters to spell the word (spelling, phonics). Once solved, have the student say the word and use it in a sentence (artic and grammar). Successful answers earn play money that can be spent to give hints (decision-making).
Photo Quiz — Four photos and 2 lines of scrambled letters per screen. The student names or describes each photo, then determines one word that fits all (label and associations). As above, the student then drags the letters into the correct order to solve the quiz. This is just one game of this type. There are many!
What’s the Pic? — A large photo covered by small tiles, with two lines of scrambled letters. I use this as a reinforcer for any speech or language activity. Once the student says his word, answers a question, or whatever the task is, he touches one of the tiles to reveal a small portion of the photo. At any point the students can guess the picture and unscramble the letters to see if they are correct. A similar app is Guess That Pic.
Word & Picture Quiz — Each screen shows one photo, one related word and a choice of letters. The student needs to think about how the picture and the word are related, then guess that word that matches that relationship by spelling it out. Multiple levels are available.
Find the Word — Screens show from one to seven clues to solve the mystery word, a fun reasoning task.
Say the Word – Four related photos or drawings are shown, along with boxes representing the number of letters in the word that represents all four pictures. Here’s the really great part: the student SPEAKS THE WORD. If correct, the word is filled in. If incorrect, nothing happens and student gets to try again. The upside of the voice recognition of this app is that if the word is really mispronounced (as in dropping the /k/ in monkey), it is not recognized as correct. The downside is that a lisp is recognized as correct. Therefore, I use this app with students who are rehearsing acceptable production of /s/ and sometimes have to give feedback on production that is less than acceptable to me but is recognized as correct by the app.
With these and other apps that are not created for educational use, there is always the issue of banner ads and in-app purchases. Some of the levels on some of the games can be quite challenging and may not be suitable for young students, but could be motivating to secondary students who have language needs. Most of these games have answers available online; Google to find them. I’m hoping that educational app publishers will build similar apps that would include some features missing from these: more discriminating voice recognition, data collection, the ability to reset and replay with multiple groups. But, until then, these apps are free, so give them a try and see if they work for you!