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What’s the Matter with Free Apps?

Summer Reading List

A fun twist on the Summer Reading List!


The Top 20 Book Apps for Summer Reading Fun and Guilt-Free Screen Time!

This summer get your kids reading by saying “Yes!” to screen time with The Top 20 Interactive Book Apps. Book apps are so much more than basic eBooks; they provide an engaging reading experience with multi-sensory enhancements that will keep your kids entertained and learning for hours. Even if they don’t know it! Have a look at the video trailers for some of these apps and prepare to be blown away!

Book apps provide a reading experience that engages even the most reluctant readers. Several of our top picks include read-along audio to help kids learn to track and read. With book apps, kids can listen to the book while interacting with tappable items, hunt-and-seek activities, and interactive adventures that allow your child to participate with the story.

Our list this year includes some of our favorite stories written by independent and award-winning authors from the Book App Alliance. These authors are leading creators pioneering storytelling on digital devices including your iPad or Android tablet.

We took special care this year to pick a wide range of stories, from adventurous pirates and bold young girls to curious animal characters and special heros. We’ve covered the gamut to make sure you have an answer to every mood.

Download to your iPad or Android tablet today and you’ll be ready for reading time, rainy days and road trips!

And please share this list with friends.

Karen Robertson Treasure Kai And The Seven Cities Of Gold
Author: Karen Robertson
 | Illustrator: Victor Guiza
Join Treasure Kai as he goes back in time to find the Seven Cities of Gold. Open treasure chests, place keys, and see if your memory can get Kai home!
Read the Digital Storytime review of Treasure Kai And The Seven Cities Of Gold.
Watch the video trailer.
—Buy Treasure Kai And The Seven Cities Of Lost Gold on iTunesPlayAmazon.
Michelle Anaya Axe’s Monster Fest
Author: Michelle Anaya 
| Illustrator: Victor Guiza
Axe and the Groundhogs have big dreams of being Mon-stars. They’re on the fast track to success when lead singer loses her voice before the show.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Axe’s Monster Fest.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Axe’s Monster Fest on iTunes.
Chris Pedersen The Prisoner Of Carrot Castle
Author: Chris Pedersen
 | Illustrator: Kate Jeong
Aiden is just an ordinary kid—loves costume play, watching clouds pass by, seeing castles in the sky… and he doesn’t like vegetables.
Read the Digital Storytime review of The Prisoner Of Carrot Castle.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy The Prisoner Of Carrot Castle on iTunes.
Cary Snowden My Ride With The Alien
Author: Cary Snowden
 | Illustrator: Zach Clough
About a young girl who meets a friendly alien and their adventure together as they tour the solar system. Fun and educational for ages 3 to 12.
Read the Digital Storytime review of My Ride With The Alien – Coming Soon!
Watch the video trailer.
Buy My Ride With The Alien on iTunes.
Isabelle Vien Sneak A Snack
Author: Isabelle Vien

Alex’s giant snack has gone missing. His three best friends (his pets) are dripping with evidence. Who among them could have committed this yummy crime? Hunt for interactive objects in this 3d adventure.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Sneak A Snack.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Sneak A Snack on iTunes.
Shoham Drori The Amazing Train
Author: Shoham Drori
This unique, high quality, interactive children’s storybook app tells the story of four children on their amazing journey, filled with colors, fantasy and exciting adventures.
Read the Digital Storytime review of The Amazing Train.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy The Amazing Train on iTunes.
Melissa Northway Penelope The Purple Pirate
Author: Melissa Northway
 | Illustrator: Paul Johnson
Penelope is a charming little girl who thinks she’s too old for a nap. She decides to go on an adventure with her friends: a dolphin, a sea turtle and an octopus.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Penelope The Purple Pirate.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Penelope The Purple Pirate on iTunes.

Cyndie Sebourn Smarty Britches: Nouns
Author: Cyndie Sebourn

Join a boy with a magical pair of Smarty Britches as he explores fascinating people, animals, places, things, and ideas. Learn about NOUNS!
Read the Digital Storytime review of Smarty Britches: Nouns.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Smarty Britches: Nouns on iTunes.
Julie Hedlund A Troop is a Group of Monkeys
Author: Julie Hedlund

A Troop is a Group of Monkeys is an interactive book for kids that introduces some of the fun plural nouns for animal groups (like “a pride of lions”) in a musical, rhyming story.
Read the Digital Storytime review of A Troop is a Group of Monkeys.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy A Troop is a Group of Monkeys on iTunes.
Brenda Long Maybell’s Zoo
Author: Brenda Long

Mabell’s Zoo is a beautiful experience for children and promotes creativity while counting to 10. Each view features an animal with original art, rich colors and textures, musical sounds, and a large play area.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Maybell’s Zoo COMING SOON!
Buy Maybell’s Zoo on iTunes.
Marsha Diane Arnold Prancing Dancing Lily
Author: Marsha Diane Arnold

Prancing, Dancing Lily is an interactive children’s storybook app about an Ayrshire cow who loves to prance and dance, so she doesn’t quite fit with her herd.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Prancing Dancing Lily.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Prancing Dancing Lily on iTunes.
Gina Misiroglu Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents)
Author: Gina Misiroglu

Written for a child’s imagination, this easy-to-understand book is organized by simple topical chapters: Outer Space; Planet Earth; Creatures; Plant Life; People; and lots more that will fascinate your child.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Handy Answer Book for Kids COMING SOON!
Buy Handy Answer Book for Kids on iTunes.
Graham Nunn Lazy Larry Lizard
Author: Graham Nunn

As surprising and wonderful this is for the reader, it’s not so much fun for poor Larry and the reader learns of a better way to make him happy at the end.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Lazy Larry Lizard.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Lazy Larry Lizard on iTunes.
Karen Inglis Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep – interactive rhyming story book app for kids
Author: Karen Inglis
A delightful rhyming storybook app for children age 3-5 years. Includes learning activities to explore with grown-ups or alone. Narrated by the author.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep – Coming Soon!
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep on iTunes.
Ivan Kules Slibby the Snail Adventures
Author: Ivan Kules

Slibby lives in Porchlandia and he is helping his friends the Ants to find some stolen food. Along the way, Slibby needs to solve a lot of quests to find that stolen food.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Slibby the Snail Adventures.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Slibby the Snail Adventures on iTunes.
Chris Hamilton My Friend Barlow
Author: Chris Hamilton

Barlow is not your average dog! He’s incredibly smart and loves to paint, play music, and build things. He has a birdie friend named Finch as a sidekick who takes you through his fun and busy day.
Read the Digital Storytime review of My Friend Barlow COMING SOON!
Buy My Friend Barlow on iTunes.
Jodi Murphy The Terrible Taunting
Author: Jodi Murphy

A fun and interactive superhero story, a real life telling of quirks and issues relating to Asperger’s, and a more thorough guide to Asperger’s for older audiences.
Read the Digital Storytime review of The Terrible Taunting – Coming Soon!
Watch the video trailer.
Buy The Terrible Taunting on iTunes.
Allison Pomenta Axel’s Chain Reaction
Author: Allison Pomenta
A creative tinkerer, Axel Jansen struggles to connect with his classmates and get them to see past the fidgety, distracted, clumsy boy they think he is.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Axel’s Chain Reaction.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Axel’s Chain Reaction on iTunes.
David Fox Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are
Author: Annie Fox
Meet Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—7th graders who are just trying to figure out what the heck middle school is all about.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Be Confident in Who You Are.
Watch the video trailer.
Buy Be Confident in Who You Are on iTunes.

Alexis Purcell Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night
Author: Alexis Purcell

A peaceful and imaginative picture book that invites the child to help comfort their animal friends to sleep by making a wish upon a special twinkle star.
Read the Digital Storytime review of Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night – Coming Soon!
Buy Twinkle, Twinkle, Nighty Night on iTunes.

The Book App Alliance Announces the Successful Kickoff

The Book App Alliance announces the expansion of their launch. The outreach includes new articles on how to create and market book apps and a social media effort designed to raise awareness of book apps for parents, teachers, readers and industry resources.

Original source of press release:

BAA-logo-final-LARGE   “Finally, parents and teachers will have a way to find wonderful, quality, interactive books in the app stores for kids. The BAA stresses book apps that are educational yet fun.”

–Austin, TX (PRWEB) November 01, 2013

The Book App Alliance is working to raise awareness of book apps and to help parents and teachers better navigate the confusing array of resources for quality children’s book apps. Book App Alliance members are authors, parents, teachers and industry leaders who have joined together their talents, resources and experience to improve the ways book apps are discovered, created and enjoyed.

Karen Robertson, president of The Book App Alliance recalls,
“First, we were finding that many parents didn’t know what book apps were, but when we’d show them, they were blown away and wanted to know more about book apps and where to find them. So a group of us decided to create an organization that would help educate parents and teachers about what book apps actually are, how to use them in the home and classroom, and where to find quality and innovative book apps that will delight and educate kids, everywhere.”

“Book apps are different than eBooks because they are more interactive and engaging. Book apps are enjoyed on a touch screen mobile device such as an iPad or Galaxy table, and even on many mobile phones. Book apps deliver a more entertaining reading experience with touch, sound, and visual animation within the narrative to engage the reader in a more immersive way,” Robertson said.

Other Book App Alliance Board Members:

Chris Pederson, creator of Purple carrot, has joined the Book App Alliance as a board member in charge of membership. She brings experience as a book app author and educator having written in print and digital formats with an emphasis on healthy life skills. Chris blogs about health, her heart passion, and dishes out recipes and tips to achieve optimum wellness at

Cary Snowden is a Book App Alliance board member responsible for technology and sponsorships. He is the author of award winning book apps that were created entirely with DIY tools and resources.

Michelle Anaya is our Book App Alliance board member heading up press and strategic relations. Michelle is an author of several book apps featuring interactive stories to reach reluctant readers which will help foster a lifelong love of reading. She brings a creative background in art and graphic design and is instrumental in helping establish the Book App Alliance branding and marketing.

Melissa Northway is our board of director’s social communications director. Melissa is the creator of the Dandelion Moms network of parents and an experienced author and book app marketer. She brings an unprecedented experience with online and traditional social marketing.

Alexis Purcell is a Book App Alliance board member responsible for iTunes reviews and promotions. Alexis is an award winning author who has achieved independent success often reserved for well-established corporate brands. Alexis understands the power of online review and promotional marketing.

Cyndie Sebourn is a National Board Certified Teacher and creator of Apps With Curriculum. She joined the Book App Alliance board as a liaison to the education market. Cyndie has valuable experience with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that help align book apps with curriculum standards for schools.

The Book App Alliance is working with industry leading review site, Digital Storytime, to help parents and teachers find quality books. “There’s a dearth of book apps and many of the innovative ones are hidden in the App Store because they aren’t tied to big brands like Disney, Dora or Dr. Seuss,” said Carisa Kluver, founder of Digital Storytime. “One of our goals is to shine some light on these hidden gems.”

Parents and teachers can learn more about book apps and children’s book app authors can apply to be members at the Book App Alliance online. (

For more information on the Book App Alliance, visit with Curriculum:

Reflections of a Retired Teacher

I’m sitting here perusing Facebook and reading all of the posts regarding former colleagues of mine returning to school.  It’s the time that some call September Silence – when mothers send their children off to school and finally have PEACE.  For educators, there is no September Silence.

 As a high school English teacher for twenty-five years, I never knew September Silence.  I, however, as a retired English teacher have so many memories dancing a jig in my head at the moment.

 I remember reliving the story of Cinderella each year at prom time.  Pretending that I was a fairy godmother, I would choose a special girl who could not afford prom and take her shopping for a dress and shoes, have her hair and nails done, and invite her to my house before she left for prom to give her that motherly speech about how to behave and how to stay out of trouble.

 These days when I need my tires rotated or aligned, I visit Matt who wasn’t the best English student in the world but who has found his trade in life and does it well…and I trust him with my tires.

 When I need dental work, I remember Scott who always makes me feel “special” when I visit his clinic; he had been an excellent Honors English student and is now a superior dentist.

 I remember once having an emergency appendectomy and looking up to see a former student as my anesthesiologist.  I suppose he liked me, too, because I awakened a few hours later…alive!

 I trust Nicole, now a pharmacy technician, to give me the correct prescriptions…and always with a smile.

 Many former students are now English majors or are English teachers.  I’m so glad that I passed my passion of literature and writing on to them.

 The best advice I was ever given was by Austin, an AP Literature student.  Knowing that he was technologically savvy, I often asked him questions regarding my computer, projector, or printer.  One day his reply was “Just Google It, Ms. Sebourn.”  I “Just Google It” almost every day of my life now and always remember him when doing it.

 There are sad memories, too.  They are of students who left this world way too early, yet they had so much to offer it.  I think of them often and of what they might have done with their lives.

 September Silence?  I never knew it.  But what I had?  It means the world to me.


Alma, Arkansas, Featured on!

This was posted on April 18, 2013 by Victor Rivero at

A small southern school district makes its way forward into the 21st century!

INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero

As the Technology Director for 3,400-student Alma School District in Alma, Arkansas, Thad Nipp wants more for his school: more interactive classrooms, more devices, and a more hands-on approach. In this conversation about vision, methods and what works in his district, Thad shares how getting there is vital — but considering the technology-infused environment surrounding schools — it’s also a very natural transition. Directing technology into his school district, therefore, has become a main mission of his, one that so many school leaders can relate to.

Victor: Could you tell me about your long-term technology vision for your schools in Alma, in particular some of the things you are doing with Student Assessment and BYOD?

Thad: We really want a more hands-on approach. A more interactive teaching experience you might say. Looking ahead, we would really like to see the possibility of a device in the hands of every child from ages 6-12, initially. Whether the device is a school provided or part of a BYOD initiative, we’re not sure but that seems to be the way we should go. The ability for the teacher to administer an assessment or assignment at any time and get the results almost instantaneous without having to find an open slot in a computer lab schedule is ideal and our goal.

Victor: As Technology Director, you have devised a method to extract student and teacher data from your SIS database; what benefits have you seen from the hours spent to figure this out?

Thad: Well it has had quite a few advantages. I wrote the script to help automate the creation of student accounts for our multiple programs. One of the programs this impacts is Learning Station. We are able to keep our other services in sync with live data, including our testing/assessment through LearningStation.

Victor: Alma School District had previously used traditional testing methods — these can take days or sometimes weeks to produce reviewable, actionable results. Can you tell me about the solutions you have implemented to overcome this?

Thad: Our schools used a lot of Scantrons, fill-in-the-bubble-style sheets; it was tedious because we had to scan them to grade them and then also had to worry about the kids bubbling in their name and ID number correctly. We took the kids name/ID information out of the equation by pre-slugging our Scantrons with that information, but it still wasn’t enough. Finally, we got with LearningStation and they came up with multiple options for us to use that solved a lot of our issues. We had the option to use our interactive whiteboards along with learning response systems, we could sit at a computer and enter it, or we could use another one of their solutions, Plain Paper, which so far has been our most used. It gives us the ability to keep the same testing feel with the ability to scan them in immediately to get real-time results. This helps provide that data-driven decision making that educators are seeking today.

Victor: Where have you seen this have the largest impact with teachers in the classroom, as well as the testing and assessment process?

Thad: I know that our Math and Science departments have used it a lot. To keep track of student improvement, our teachers use the diagnostic assessments created using it. The teachers and our math specialist use the results to adjust lesson plans in real-time, which again is part of that data-driven decision making. With it, we can use provide the assessment schedule without the process impacting much instruction time.

Victor: You are currently in the implementation stages of a BYOD initiative in Alma; how will this impact the technology culture in your schools? Will this change the way teachers deliver information or tests to students?

Thad: BYOD will make a huge impact, in my opinion, on the technology culture in our school. Hopefully, the biggest impact will be on printing and paper. We really spend a lot of money on printing. So, if we can start delivering and retrieving our information electronically rather than in paper form, we could free up funds to implement new technologies. The Plain Paper solution works great for us but to be able to use Learning Station’s web interface instead of printing out bubble sheets could have a positive impact on our current expenses and budget.

Victor: On a broad scale, what are some of your thoughts on education these days?

Thad: I really see education right now in a transitional period between older traditional implementation to a new wave technology based form of delivering education. It’s a lot like the first swim of the season. A lot of schools test the waters by trying one or two things but no one just takes the plunge and goes all out. Sometimes initiatives fail due to conflicts with traditional methods that are still in place. We just seem to be wading in until we are adjusted and sometimes we back out because it’s not comfortable yet. I think when we get there the water will be fine and our new implementation will help education by leaps and bounds.

Victor: What transformative impact do you see technology having on education in the next few years?

Thad: I think it will have a huge impact, from the adoption of eBooks to just the fact that so much of what we do is web based. The tools that are used for learning are no longer restricted to the walls that we call school. Or more appropriately, the way we define school is changing. The resources for teaching and the ease of distributing are expanding due to technology and will continue to grow. Technology is not here to replace the teacher. Technology is here to enhance the material a teacher presents. This generation of student, generation-text, is driving the transformation of technology in education.

Victor: Anything else you care to add or emphasize?

Thad: Technology has always been a field that changes rapidly. Technology in education is beginning to translate that rapid change in the classroom. Technology is so much of our daily life that it seems a natural transition for it to be part of our educational life, too.

Educational Role Models

     Many years ago, I learned what to do when I had a student that I dreaded to see coming to class each day; I visited the school counselor. This was where I received my best education; this was also where my heart was broken.  Walking away from the counselor’s office, I was often burdened with my new found knowledge about these students’ lives: physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, poverty, basic neglect, and more.

     With a clear vision and with compassion, I then approached the student differently.  And that made all of the difference.

     You can’t educate a child who is hungry, whose body aches from beatings, or who is mentally miserable.  You can do your best to resolve the misery, and with a little love, help them become successful, educated young adults.

     Fortunately, Ashley wasn’t the worst of my situations that I encountered in my twenty-five years as an educator.  She was, however, in desperate need of my mothering her one period a day: praising her successes, pointing out her weaknesses, and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

     She recently graduated from college and is now an English teacher as well as the proud recipient of all of my digital files for teaching grammar, writing, and literature.  She will now carry the torch.

     She says that I am her role model.  With honor, I present to you her blog post regarding the importance of role models in education.


Educational Role Models

      Role models are extremely important in education, and our teachers should be role models. The sad truth, however, is not all educators are role models.

     I am living proof of the power that role models in education can have on students. I grew up in a single-parent household, and there were four children living in the home. My younger siblings were out of control, so my mother ignored me since I was the “good kid.” Being the “good kid” is not always a good thing because loneliness is painful. Looking back, I realize that I was on a dangerous path because I wandered around aimlessly on a daily basis. I did not have a plan for my future, and it was all too evident that nobody at home was encouraging a plan for my future either.      

     My English teacher was an incredible role model and inspiration for me, and she has forever changed my life. She was different from most educators for a variety of reasons. The first thing I noticed was that she cared. She cared a lot about her students and her content, and every day she made learning fun. She pushed me harder than any teacher has ever pushed me, and aside from one other college professor, I can honestly say that she challenged me more than any educator ever did.

     She did what every educator should do because she set the bar for achievement high. Too often, teachers accept basic levels of work without pushing their students to “dive deep,” but “diving deep” was a daily practice in her classroom.  She pushed us to discover a more complex, analytical, and critical response to the question that she had just asked. Surface-level, shallow responses were not accepted.

            This teacher not only had high expectations for the quality of work that we turned in, but she also had high expectations for the quality of behavior we exhibited in her classroom. I loved being in her classroom because I knew that she valued me as much as I valued her.

            She was a great listener. She listened to my complaints and frustrations with my home life, and she always encouraged me. This incredible woman may not realize it, but she planted the seed for my becoming an English teacher. This seed is representative of her belief in me as an individual and her belief in my intellectual potential.

            The seed she planted within me six years ago has prospered. I graduated from college a week ago with a B.A. in English and a license to teach grades 7-12. Additionally, I have secured a job at a prestigious school teaching 8th and 9th grade English. My passion for education and my content area is much like the passion she exhibited. The expectations and goals that I will have for my students will also be much like hers.  She may no longer be in the classroom, but her legacy lives on in the seed that she planted within me.

            I wish to leave you with one thought: consider the impact that you have as an educator in the classroom. Do not judge your students or hold grudges against them because of their behavior; you never know what their life is like outside of school.   Set your expectations high and raise your students to them.


Storybook Apps, CCSS Curriculum, and a Vision

When I met Cyndie Sebourn, she was a retired teacher who was passionate about integrating literacy and technology. She loves language, and she loves the South.  She wanted to showcase both in a storybook app that was different and make a difference. As I have gotten to know her, I realize what an invaluable vision Cyndie has – combining book apps with CCSS curriculum activities. 

 Her gift is the ability to read a book app and determine whether it has value from a curriculum perspective. And when she sees possibility, she creates gold with CCSS-aligned curriculum activities that link book apps with activities that are educational and fun for students and… for Cyndie.

Her vision is big. Her heart is even bigger.

Karen Robertson

Speech-Language Pathologist Praises Apps With Curriculum!

I have been a Speech Language Pathologist in a public school system in East Central Alabama for 32 years. I work with children ages 3-21 across three schools, two day cares and one home bound setting.   I work in four centralized autism units, and serve children in collaborative and pullout settings.  Of course, as an SLP, I work with all exceptionable and ability levels.  I also work as a PRN SLP in a local nursing home.  I love what I do!   The ability to utilize iPads in therapy has totally re-energized and refreshed me!

 I was the first SLP/ teacher unit in my school system to receive an iPad, in the fall of 2011. Until that time, my technology dept. was not in support of Apple and iPads….we were totally PC.  I borrowed an iPad to use in class, and used an articulation app.  It was an immediate hit!  My students were instantly taking more responsibility for their productions, were recording themselves for instant feedback, were helping each other, and motivation was at an all time high!  A colleague observed her students working with me and called the principal to my room.  He was so impressed that he requested and received permission from the technology  dept. to purchase an iPad for my therapy program.  As news of my success spread, the tech dept took notice…and now all of the teachers in my school have iPads, and most of the teachers in our system have iPads. It would have come, eventually, but I am very proud of my role in our adoption of the iPad for education! 

 I have one classroom iPad, and the new iPad mini will greatly enhance my program!  I plan to allow students to use it independently or in groups of two in center activities. I have wanted to establish a lending library for my students/parents, to try out the technology we use at school. We are Title 1 schools, and many of my parents do not have access to iPad technology. I would also like to trial it in the self-contained classes for visual scheduling and communication purposes. We might use it on a field trip to McDonalds to order lunch!  I have many ideas rolling in my head and will incorporate the mini’s use into my program in January. We are starting Project Based Instruction at our school in January, and I know the new mini iPad will be used! We are also starting BYOD ( bring your own device), and I am hoping to be able to allow some of my students, who do not have devices, to use the mini in their classrooms at school on BYOD days. 

 The iPad mini will improve my job as an SLP by providing increased access to this amazing technology. The mini will positively affect my students’ education by providing instant motivation for practice on communication skills, technology use, and learning educational curriculum.

 I am very excited about Apps With Curriculum!  I feel like this trend will be essential in the continued use of apps in the classroom.  Now, more than ever, there must be identifiable curriculum alignment to justify what we are teaching.  We are preparing  to initiate project-based learning at my elementary school in January 2013, I am so happy to have ideas already developed and aligned for me!  Since this will be our initiation period, we are all a little on edge about how to do this…but I now have access to wonderful plans and I will feel more confident in whatever project we choose.  I am very thankful for the foresight that the Apps With Curriculum developers have provided and I hope that this will be continued!  Developers providing free curriculum can help teachers by soliciting ideas and being responsive to feedback from teachers.  They might even be able to develop a curriculum bank for users to donate ideas to.  I am very thankful to have some of the Apps With Curriculum on my iPad and will be paying close attention to the apps that support this when purchasing apps.

 I would like to see ideas for project-based learning and reading strategies aligned with the articulation apps!!! I would love that!!!!!!

 Thank you so much for sponsoring the mini iPad contest…it will make a difference to my students!

App developers providing free curriculum could really help teachers by making the curriculum alignment/ project-based learning information available within the app!  

 Thanks for all you do!  

 Helen H. Wagner, M.S., CCC-SLP


Apps With Curriculum & Speech-Language Pathologists

When I was in grad school my favorite professor disliked “canned” therapy programs. But, if we could take the program and adapt it to the client’s assessment results and observations, she was quite happy. Now, as the applications and new devices are hitting the market and being marketed to special education and speech (as well as regular education), I think of her often. How do we adapt these devices and apps to integrate our special needs students into the regular education curriculum? Do we look at the apps to only meet very specific speech goals? Should we rely on the functionality of the app or should we use the app as the basis for therapy then extend to real life situations and classroom work? Isn’t the end goal of speech and language therapy in schools to have the child participate in the learning process with his/her peers to the greatest extent possible both physically and cognitively?

Let’s go back in time to pre-apps. SLPs are known for using pictures and cards as well as other materials. But, a good therapy program using cards is not for teaching only receptive picture identification. It will encompass research-based strategies using multimodality activities for higher brain functioning and cognition. A prime example would be the use of the Picture Exchange System using pictures. The student will be prompted to respond to the pictures with prompts/cues that are most effective to obtain the desired communication result. The effectiveness of the program depends on how the therapist responds with more or less cueing based on the student’s prior responses. It could be said the same of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). ABA uses pictures that were not necessarily functional if they are taught without the appropriate cueing that therapists provide based on the student’s needs (based on assessment and observations). However, the cueing and response to the student’s responses at the many levels will train the brain to respond. The student will then progress to higher levels of communication and participation within the academic setting. The student’s IEP should include goals stating that the ABA (or whatever therapy program and strategies are used) will result in the student’s ability to participate in academic learning with his/her peers to the greatest extent possible. One of the materials that is a good example of being written for speech goals and also aligned with curriculum was Tuned in to Learning. It is based on ABA and the music therapist also aligned it ABLLS-R, Brigance, HELP, CAPA and TEKS

So, should apps not be looked at in the same way?

The best speech apps have specific speech goals/objectives built in as well as record keeping. This does not make the app research based because no apps have been fully researched for efficacy (although it certainly creates more ease of use for the therapist that in the end results in more time for effective therapy). Some speech app developers are beginning to include manuals and workbooks on their websites for additional extended learning and generalization. To this date I have seen only a few apps aligned with the CORE curriculum. Cyndie Sebourn of Sascyn Publishing provided a CORE curriculum alignment for Karen Robertson’s Treasure Kai, And, what a pleasure to see her include a CORE curriculum alignment for her app, Smarty Britches: Nouns, AND within this alignment a section on modifications for special ed. This comprehensive curriculum alignment can be viewed at

This brings me to my next question: Would it be beneficial to speech app developers to have their apps aligned with the CORE curriculum (or state standards)? Perhaps it would help their sales and at the same time help the end users (SLPs and their students)!

Lavelle Carson

Superintendent Andy Curry Discusses “Apps With Curriculum”

 At the Jessieville School District, we are committed to excellence, and our whole purpose for existence is to prepare a 21st century workforce that can communicate, collaborate, and use critical thinking skills. Using project-based learning with the integration of technology and using the iPad is a critical part of our being able to meet our goals and mission.

The iPad and apps that have curriculum rooted in the Common Core Standards makes our goal and mission attainable. Teachers can use the game side of the apps to incentivize students. However, when you actually have apps like Treasure Kai and Smarty Britches: Nouns that have common core aligned curriculum embedded inside of them, you are able to take learners to the high levels of learning on Bloom’s Taxonomy. App developers like Ms. Sebourn who understand standards and use their vast quantity of knowledge to incorporate high level learning activities that are tied to the standards are invaluable to our school district.

Ms. Sebourn has worked tirelessly with two of our classroom teachers; one third grade teacher that is continually one of our highest performing teachers in our school district and another equally talented first grade teacher have seen vast improvements in the engagement level of their classroom by incorporating apps with curriculum.

Ms. Katie Wainscott, the third grade teacher, is a superstar at our district and a rising leader that has great knowledge of the CCSS and where the future of education is going. Ms. Wainscott has worked with Ms. Sebourn, who provided a free app to her classroom, Smarty Britches Nouns, to help the students learn in new ways, and it has totally transformed our third grade into setting the standard for the school district in project-based learning.

Mrs. Amanda Bean, our top achieving first grade teacher with a high level of leadership ability as well, has also worked with similar apps embedded with Ms. Sebourn’s CCSS curriculum to take her students to new level of engagement.

Advances by app developers will continue to help us provide a world class education for our students and allow us to move forward and enable us to continue to produce students that can communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and think critically and solve problems.

 *Andy Curry is superintendent of Jessieville School District, Jessieville, AR.  JSD is a leader in implementing 21st Century Learning, Project-Based Learning, and Common Core Standards.  It also pilots the “Apps With Curriculum” program.