Sprite Kids Introduces Speaktacular Sight Words, a Voice-Enabled Reading Helper

Children's app developer Sprite Kids today launched Speaktacular Sight Words, available exclusively for Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

Speaktacular Sight Words allows kindergarten through third-grade children to use their own voices to recognize and properly pronounce words from three unique word lists critical to reading development. The app is powered by the NDEV Mobile developer program from Nuance Communications.

In Speaktacular Sight Words, voice input complements the widely-used touch interface on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, enabling the app to hear, correct, and track the word read by the child. Children not only familiarize themselves with new words, but learn to actually read them and articulate them.

Speaktacular Sight Words features three word lists critical to learning to read: the Dolch Sight Words, Academic Vocabulary Words, and Trouble Words. Compiled by leading educational experts, the Dolch Sight Words list includes 220 words and 95 nouns encountered in children's books and are critical during the early stages of reading development. The Academic Vocabulary word list includes 287 academic vocabulary words that meet Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and are traditionally used in academic dialogue and text. These words are commonly used to help students understand oral directions and classroom instructional dialog, as well as comprehend text across content areas, including math, science, and social studies/history. The Trouble Words list includes 125 words that special-needs children often need extra help learning.  

Speaktacular Sight Words features more than 700 commonly used words that are taught to children by Miko, an interactive monkey avatar who encourages them to advance by capturing their attention. Miko guides children through the articulation adventure by instructing each child to read words on the screen. First, he listens and understands the word read by the child using Nuance's voice recognition technology. Then, he provides encouraging feedback in smiles or by shaking his head if the spoken word is pronounced incorrectly.

Parents and teachers can choose between two settings: a teaching mode, where a child is read a word and asked to repeat it, or practice mode, where a child can read and learn independently. After reading five words, children are given a puzzle to solve, which motivates them to learn five more words. As they progress, they are given new games and puzzles to complete.

Parents and teachers can individually see the progress of one child or an entire classroom with a word-tracking option that automatically flags words a child is struggling with. Up to 30 user accounts can be established per app, allowing a parent with several kids of different ages or a teacher of an entire class to see the results and progress of each child independently. For words read incorrectly, the educator can hear what the child said.  This allows parents and teachers to help the child review the troubled word and keep track of progress. Words to be read are displayed with the Dyslexia Font to make it easier for readers with dyslexia.  A Custom Word List feature lets users create their own word list by choosing the words from all of the available word lists.

"For the first time in the children's app market, we've been able to utilize the same world-recognized voice recognition software that powers some of the world's most powerful brands and applied it to one of the most critical skills in the learning process—teaching children to read and correctly annunciate their words in an interactive and exciting format where they're rewarded for their efforts," said Sprite Kids Founder Nikita Sawant in a statement.

"Sprite Kids' Speaktacular Sight Words App will forever change how teachers and students learn and practice the invaluable reading component of mastering sight words," said Jayne Clare, special education professional and co-founder of Teachers with Apps. "Speaktacular Sight Words is engaging, informative, and, most importantly, advantageous for students and teachers."

The Speaktacular Sight Words App is available for $1.99 from the Apple App Store for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices.

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