Tag Archives: early literacy

ABC Mouse – Free Language Rich App To Teach the ABCs

I stumbled across an impressive app the other day that I’ve been dying to share with you.

Our kids love the silver screen, don’t they (and now-a-days all screens are silver)? Even on Sundays, our designated screen-free day for the kids, Noah (6-Down syndrome)signs “watch” with a hopeful gleem in his eye at least 20 times.

Every day except Sunday, then, you can find Noah spending at least some of his iPad time on ABCmouse, which you can find here at the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abcmouse.com-26-z-music-videos/id586100697?mt=8.

Just what is ABCmouse?

Take a look:
From this screen, your child chooses which letter he wants to watch the video for. The video/songs are lively, set to different types of music, and full of words and sounds that begin with the letter selected. The colorful cartoon graphics are just right for the typical 3-year-old child or any-aged child beginning alphabet work.


Here is a shot of some of the video; notice the kids will be getting the sounds of the letters as well as the words on the screen – a great combo for early literacy.

The best part? Definately all the opportunities for Noah to imitate the silly little sounds on the videos that get him practicing different phoenemes. It does this momma good to hear silly sounds coming from the other room that I didn’t have to conjole out of Noah.

A close runner up to the best part would be the fact that the entire app is free. Your child starts off only being able to access the first few letter videos, but he collects “tickets” from each video he watches which he can then redeem for more videos. If your impatient and want it all and want it now, you can purchase the additional videos, but my kids have actually been having fun “buying them” with what they’ve earned using the app.

I don’t know if this app is going to remain free, so drop everything (except your iPad) and download today!

Until next time . . .


Free Printable Interractive Book – Bath Time

Since I’m taking a PROMPT-induced hiatus from working on articulation with Noah, I finally have the time to make some of the materials I’ve been creating in my head. One of the things we want to make sure Noah (6 with Down syndrome) is always moving forward on is receptive language, in other words, vocabulary.

One of the skills children start to work on in kindergarten is analogies, which require an understanding between the relationships of objects. For example, bathe is to bathtub as sleep is to bed.

Here’s a free DIY PEC Book – Bath Routine that uses PECs to complete the following sentences:
I take a bath in a (bathtub).
I wash my hair with (shampoo).
I wash my body with (soap).
The bathtub is filled with (water).
I dry off with a (towel).


You’ll find in addition to the story pages and the PECs, I have also included word-only flashcards to accompany the PECs. If you are using See and Learn, Reading Language Intensive (Sue Buckley), Patricia Oelwein’s methodology as set out in Teaching Reading to Children With Down Syndrome or another reading program that uses matching, you’ll be able to use the materials in this download using those techniques.  Make two copies of the PEC/flashcard page, and  you can use those cards to create a memory (concentration) game or to practice matching picture to picture, picture to word and word to word.

We store these stories by putting each page in a page protector and then putting them in a binder.
The bottom of the inside of the back cover of the binder has a strip of Velcro (hook side) that I lay out all the PECs on, and Noah picks the correct PEC to put in the empty box on the story page we are working on. (You’ll have to put a Velcro loop dot on the back of each PEC and a Velcro hook dot in the middle of each empty box.)

Our kiddos are so used to going with the flow, it’s easy for us to assume they have basic bath time vocabulary, but in doing this activity with Noah, I found he needed some help.   If your child doesn’t quite grasp this on the first go-round, quietly point to the correct card as you work through the book.  By the second or third go-round, they will probably be able to do it without any help at all.

Don’t forget to learn the sign language for these words.  Once you know the signs, you’ll be able to practice them over and over again as bath time seems to keep popping up.  www.lifeprint.com and www.aslpro.com are great sources for free ASL video and pictorial dictionaries.

Free Printables – Bob Books, Set 1 Book 5, Dot and Mit

Both Bella (4) and Noah (6 with Down syndrome) have been enjoying Bob Books lately.  I had some ideas I wanted to put to the test, and the results are I have some free printable flashcards to go with Dot and Mit.


This is what we did (^).  And here are the free printable flashcards in plain black ink:  Dot and Mit – Collection 1, Book 5 Text Flash Cards.  Print, laminate and cut the flash cards.

By the way, have you ever considered teaching basic punctuation to your children at the same time they learn to read?  These activities are your chance.  Most children learn to read and write long before they understand what a period is, and it is difficult for them to remember that suddenly they have to add something to the end of a sentence.  As your child recreates these sentences, make sure they insert the commas and periods.  Don’t go overboard in your explanations, just point out the way it is in the book and that the sentence ends with a period.  If they build the sentence without the period and seem finished, prompt them with, “What goes at the end?”

Capitalization can also be taught easily here.  Again, don’t go overboard with global rules or try to explain what a proper noun is.  Show your child that the first word of the sentence in the book starts with a capital letter because it is the first letter of the first word.  In instances where they have both the uppercase letter and the lowercase letter to choose from, have them compare the two cards and choose which one to use.  Tell them the reason the letter is capitalized, i.e. it is a person’s name or it is the first letter of the first word of the sentence.

Here are some ways to use the flash cards:

(Concepts practiced:  Word recognition, matching, capitalization, punctuation, reading, working memory, short-term memory)

  1. Place small magnets on the back of one copy of the following words:  Dot, has, a, cat, (.), (,), Sit, mat, End, is, not, nap, did, on, Mit, The, and, sit.  (These are all the words used in the book.  If you want to recreate the book one sentence at a time, these cards will allow you to do that.)  Using an oil drip pan, metal door or refrigerator, open the book up to page 1.  Have your child recreate the sentence on the page by using the magnetic flashcards.  For the next page, have him identify which words he will need to reuse from the first sentence to create the second sentence, and then have him choose from the remaining cards to complete the sentence.  (If you are in a classroom or don’t have a metal surface available, skip the magnets and let the children build the sentences on the floor.)
  2. Choose 4 words and make multiple flashcards for each of those words.  Create a stack containing all copies of each of the four words.  Create four columns by placing a different word at the top of each column in a pocket chart or on the floor.   Now have your child place the remaining cards in the matching column.
  3. Make two copies of  the flashcards, and create a memory (concentration) game using two cards per word.  You can play this game with the words face up or face down.
  4. For a simpler version of the first idea mentioned above, make two copies of the listed words instead of one.  Follow the steps through putting the magnet on the back.  Create the first sentence in the book using the flashcards.  Have your child take the second copy of the words and place them under the identical matching cards you laid out.
  5. Another way to simplify Idea No. 1 is to lay out the flash cards for only the page the child is currently working on.  This means that instead of having to search through 18 cards to find a word, they will only have to search through 5 or 6.

I really enjoyed doing these activities with Bella, and I saw there is a big difference between reading a word in a book and searching for a word among others.  Recreating each sentence word by word required Bella to read the word in the book and then remember it while searching for the matching word.  The use of working and short-term memory combines to make this an effective cognitive-building exercise.

Stay tuned for a free printable writing exercise using the words out of Dot and Mit – Bob Books, Set 1- Book 5.