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From Amanda Lilly, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, a tip for parents:
PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) have developed some iPhone apps for kids.
An app called “Martha Speaks” is a part of “The Great Word Quest,” a free online literacy game that is also accessible on Flash-enabled smart phone browsers.
Based on favorite PBS KIDS’ television shows, the program offers literacy games that are designed to help strengthen critical reading skills: phonics, reading comprehension and vocabulary.
Their research found that vocabulary improved as much as 31 percent in children ages 3-7 when they played with the “Martha Speaks” app.
Playing “The Great Word Quest,” kids join one of three teams: the Aquanauts, Trailblazers or Skyscrapers. They advance through literacy-based scavenger hunts to earn words that they can then use to play games or create their own stories.
“Martha Speaks” focuses on building the oral vocabulary of 4- to 7-year-olds. It’s a compliment to the other two games: “Word Girl” and “The Electric Company,” which are more literacy-based.
Says Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice-president of Children’s Media at PBS,
Mobile apps can be a great learning tool in the hands of children. This research is important in helping to better understand and guide the development of new apps that improve the value of children’s screen time with significant educational outcomes.
The greatest difference between “traditional media” and the “Martha Speaks” app is the interaction the app provides. And where books focus on written comprehension, “Martha Speaks” focuses on oral comprehension.
Find “Martha Speaks” at Apple’s app store or at the PBS KIDS Mobile site PBSKIDS.org/mobile. Cost is $2.99.
my source for Amanda Lilly’s story was http://www.kentucky.com
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