iPad App Review: Letter School

Letter School iPad App Helps Children with Autism Learn How to Write Letters and Numbers
Letter School iPad App Helps Children with Autism Develop Writing Skills

Looking for an iPad app that combines writing, letters, numbers, phonics, and counting?  Then look no further than the Letter School iPad app.  This intelligently designed app will captivate the iPad user through entertaining animations and an easy to navigate interface.  The iPad app brilliantly teaches how to write each letter and number through simple guided steps, with each step becoming increasingly difficult.  Best of all, this is done in a manner that is both entertaining and fun!

Name of iPad App:

Letter School by Boreaal

Price:

$2.99

Overview of Letter School iPad App:

Letter School is one of the best designed iPad apps available to teach children how to write letters and numbers.  It also teaches basic phonics and counting.  This is all accomplished through an amazingly interactive design.  Each time a letter or number is written a different animation helps reinforce the correct manner to write.

The basic template for each letter or number consists of 3 steps.  The first step involves touching the letter or number at key dots or points.  These points must be touched in the correct order as if the letter or number were being written.  Once the correct dot is touched the portion of the letter or number that corresponds to the dot springs to life with animation.  The animation is designed to demonstrate the proper motion used to write.  Once all the key points have been touched the animation continues to show the proper motion used to write the letter or number.  If the dot is not touched within a reasonable amount of time it bounces up to help the user find the correct point.

Letter School iPad App Teaches Child with Autism to Trace Letters or Numbers in the Correct Order
Second Step in Letter School iPad App Allows Child to Trace the Letter or Number

The second phase of the writing process builds upon the first.  The same dots or points used in step 1 are also found in step 2.  However, the user must draw the correct motion to create the letter or number.  Animations are once again used to encourage the proper motion for writing.  If the letter or number is not drawn correctly or not drawn in a sufficient amount of time the app will provide a hint to the user.  Once the complete letter or number has been drawn it springs to life with more animation.

The third phase of the writing process becomes even more difficult.  The key points or dots found in steps 1 and 2 are used to help start the writing process.  However, once the first point is touched they all disappear.  The iPad app user must then draw the letter or number on his own.  If the correct motion is not used the line disappears and the process must be started again.  After a couple of unsuccessful attempts the app will once again provide a hint to help with the writing process.

The best part about the brilliant learning process outlined above is the animations that entertain the user along the way.  There are several different animations provided that keep the Letter School iPad app exciting and engaging.  Some of the different animations that occur as the letters or numbers are being written include:

  • A caterpillar stretching along the path of the letter
  • A fuse burning along the number path and then exploding as it gets to the end of a segment
  • A jewel necklace stretching along the letter path
  • A dirt path that sprouts into a flower bed once the correct letter or number segment has been written
  • Railroad track and a train that stretch along each portion of the letter
  • A spaceship that flies along the writing path of the letter or number
  • A spring that bounces into the correct shape of the number
  • And many, many more!

Once every letter or number has been successfully written the app advances to an even more difficult level.  The same 3 step process is followed but this level utilizes free form writing on the 3rd step.  Once written correctly the free form version created by the user replaces the letter or number found on the menu.  Thus, the menu eventually becomes a customized menu as the iPad user creates each letter or number through free form writing.  This level also features unique animations compared to the less difficult level.

Video Demo of Letter School:

Settings:

  • Select between 3 different player profiles
  • Select between capital letters, lowercase letters, or numbers
  • Select between 3 different writing styles or typefaces:
  1. D’Nealian Style
  2. HWT Style
  3. Zaner-Bloser Style
  • Reset scores (this feature can be locked)
Letter School iPad App Provides Hints to Help Autistic Child Write the Letter or Number
Hints on Letter School App Remind iPad User of the Correct Motion to Draw the Letter or Number

iPad App Designed to Teach:

  • Correct writing skills
  • Uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Numbers and counting
  • Letter sounds

May Help Children with Autism:

  • Develop fine motor skills
  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Learn cause and effect
  • Improve handwriting skills

*Note: Letter School iPad app screenshots are copyrighted and are used with the permission of their owner.

Additional Resources for Letter School iPad App:

 

Previous iPad App Review ······· Autism and the iPad

iPad App Review: iWriteWords

Handwriting and fine motors skills can be difficult for many children with autism.  iWriteWords is a superbly designed iPad app that helps children learn to recognize and write letters and numbers.  Best of all, it does so in a manner that prevents bad handwriting habits from forming while simultaneously engaging the child’s attention.  iWriteWords may also help your autistic child improve fine motors skills, learn to count, and improve recognition of cause and effect.

Name of iPad App:

iWriteWords by gdiplus

Price:

$2.99

Overview of iPad App:

Menu for iWriteWords
iWriteWords Menu

This is a wonderfully designed iPad app to help children learn to recognize and write numbers, letters, and words.  The app was designed in a way to grab the attention of the user.  It is also designed to ensure that the child learns to write numbers and letters in the correct manner.

There are several options to choose from on the main menu.  The app user has 8 options:

  1. The settings page (which refers the user to the general iPad settings page where adjustments to the app can be made).
  2. An information page.
  3. A music note icon which takes the user to the ABC song page.  Here a screen tap advances the ABC song to the next note.
  4. An icon to take the user to the numbers portion of the iPad app.
  5. An icon to take the user to the capital letters portion of the app.  This option focuses on single letters.
  6. An icon which goes to the capital letters portion of the app which focuses on spelling words.
  7. An icon which advances the user to the lowercase portion of the iPad app which focuses on single letters.
  8. An icon that takes the iPad user to the lowercase portion of the app which focuses on spelling words.

Each writing option features a crab which the child must touch and drag over ordered numbers.  Dragging the crab in the assigned order ensures that the user writes the number or letter in the correct manner.  When the number or letter has been completed there is a correlating block that is released from the top left corner of the screen.  Once the number, letter, or word is complete the user must either drag the block letter or number over to a hole on the bottom right portion of the screen.  The user can also tilt the iPad to accomplish this task.  Once the blocks have been placed in the hole the user action is reinforced with a “yay or clapping” sound (this option can be turned off).

A voice also repeats each letter or number once it has been correctly written.  This helps the child correctly associate its name to each letter or number.

If the letter or number is not written correctly it will shake while a squeaky toy sound is heard.  The user must then attempt to write the letter or number again.  The writing template confines the handwriting area to a reasonable width ensuring that the user does not have to write the letters or numbers perfectly.  This allows for differences in writing styles while still teaching children the correct manner or order to write.  This feature, combined with the requirement to drag the crab in the correct order makes this iPad app stand out from its competitors.  Many other apps that focus on handwriting do not ensure that the letters or numbers are written correctly.  This may create problems when the child enters school and has to relearn how to write letters and numbers.  iWriteWords is designed to ensure that this does not happen.

Video Demo of iWriteWords iPad App:

Settings:

  • Easy Mode: On or Off
  • Reset Game: On or Off
  • Save Progress: On or Off
  • Yay and Clapping Sound: On or Off
  • Dynamic Hole Location: On or Off
  • Hole Suction Force: On or Off
  • ABC Song in Playback: On or Off
  • Child Voice: On or Off
  • UK Voice: On or Off

Settings are located in the main settings page on the iPad, not within the iWriteWords iPad app.

iPad App Designed to:

Screenshot of Letter "A" on iWrite Words
Letter "A" Screenshot from iWriteWords iPad App
  • Help children learn letters and numbers
  • Help children develop handwriting skills
  • Help children learn to spell

May Help Children with Autism:

  • Learn lower and uppercase letters
  • Learn numbers
  • Learn to spell
  • Develop handwriting skills
  • Develop fine motor skills
  • Learn cause and effect
  • Learn counting skills

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Best App for Preschoolers (2009 Best App Ever Awards)
  • Apple Staff Favorite
  • One of the Best iPad Apps for Kids According to the New York Times

*Note: iWriteWords screenshots are copyrighted and are used with the permission of their owner.

Additional Resources for iWriteWords:

 

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