Fun with Phonetics
Every student of communication disorders learns the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) at some point in her education. I recently found two outstanding free apps that are unique amongst IPA apps for using North American English and games to encourage learning. Both focus only on vowels, but let's be honest - the consonants are the easy part. If you're in school or need a refresher for transcription, check out these 2 apps:
EAC Vowels 1 Lite - English Accent Coach (EAC) gives users near-full functionality in this free lite app ($0.99 full version). This iPhone app offers a chance to hear American English vowel sounds - pronounced after /h/ - when you tap the phonetic symbol in the practice mode. Once you feel ready, there's a game to play! The app plays one of the vowel sounds, and you have to touch the symbol on the vowel chart that matches it. Turn on "Extra Vowels" in the settings to practice diphthongs as well.
EAC Echo Lite - This app offers the same vowel practice mode as Vowels 1, but the game is different. Just like the Simon memory game, players press each of 4 vowel sounds in the same evolving sequence as they are played. The full version offers more settings and difficulty for $2.99. Personally, I prefer the game in Vowels, but download them both to see which you prefer. Both apps are sized for iPhone but work on iPad.
These apps remind us that games make learning even dry materials fun and give us increased tolerance for more repetitions. We should be incorporating game-like challenges into therapy for all ages to keep up motivation and interest when the material may be boring.