A network for all who teach languages to children
Here is a list of my favourite apps for children to help teach and learn languages - and most of them are FREE!
The screenshot here is from 'My First Book of French Alphabets' by Ilmasoft which is abbreviated on download to Mon premier ABC/Mein erstes ABC (etc) - available in French, German, Spanish etc - click to hear letter and then 5 common nouns beginning with letter - good to get students to use the phonic knowledge to decode these words and predict how they will be pronounced before pressing them. Great as a pronounciation aide-memoire. (Pay £1.99 to upgrade for whole alphabet as the free version gives you up to the letter h)
For something completely free try 'Lectura mágica Spanish reading Magic' - an app with instructions for blending, segmenting and eventually reading the syllabic sounds of Spanish using a menu of animals, colours, numbers, verbs, body, house, fruits, clothes, or veg. Lots of teacher control over single or blended sounds and how long the words should be to use. Preview on youtube.
Similarly for French try 'Jeux Pour Lire Avec Sami et Julie - Hachette Education' (free version) 4 Fairground-themed games to learn & practise phoneme/grapheme correspondance in French. Very stylish - 1st game you click on objects to hear them & then drag the words into a box if it contains a target phoneme; 2nd game you decide which character is correctly combining 2 letters (eg t + u is written and child must choose between animals saying pu / lu / mu); 3rd game is a coconut shy to find the missing grapheme in simple nouns & the 4th game re-order rollercoaster graphemes to make a simple word. Plenty in the free version but you could upgrade €2.99 to get more sounds and a progressive learning path.
There are many free animated childrens books available - my favourites are El Libro Mostroso Lite by Kumquat essentially a series of pages each describing a new monster read by 'Leo' (young male voice) great for language detective style work and for extending with a class to create their own monsters and descriptions. In French try Bientot Je Lis (free version) 'Albert le poussin qui fait tout de t...' with key words (oeuf, poussin etc.) in the story to learn & 3 games to identify the nouns, spelling (missing letter) and remember (pairs) & a farmyard song with lyrics. And for German try the Pixi series beginning with Ritter Bodobert und der Yeti about a Knight read by a male 'grandfatherly' voice - usual options to switch sounds/story on/off, a puzzle game and a class game which involves drawing a yeti. Even an option to record yourself or the children reading the story. All free.
Linguascope has plenty of quality language-learning apps for children in french, German, Italian and Spanish all priced around £2.99, but they offer a multilingual FREE app Newshound which links to simplified news stories for children.
Tell Time Little Matchups by Grasshopper Apps completely FREE, teaches children to link analogue and digital clocks with sound. It's in English but you can EASILY tweak settings and record your own voice so could be in any language...
There are plenty of Karaoke style apps but I also like Mes Comptines with 4 free songs (L'araignée Gypsy, ABC, le vieux Macdonald, Elle descend de la montagne), which is more about keeping time to the rhythm rather than listing the lyrics so useful if you are able to plug your device into a projector.
Similarly there are lots of free dictionaries and my favourite to date is Free French English Dictionary by Ascendo Inc - with sound to help pronunciation and available in Spanish, German etc too.
Of course there are plenty of freebies available for other languages too and my daughter adores Katakane - free App to learn how to write Japanese katakana for some simple high frequency words.
I could go on, and will definitely list more favourites as I discover them on this blog. However I'll end this list with an app that costs 69p Alphabet Cursif by SCM Consulting - As well as alphabet pronounciation this APP teaches you exactly how to write letters of alphabet in the cursive style just as French children do, tracing over the dotted lines before trying freestyle & all without needing lots of paper. I've found that English children are fascinated by this and even the most reluctant writers are desperate to have a go!
Got an App you'd like to recommend? Please share!
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