We review a lot of family-friendly apps that kids can discover on their own, but I’d like to share a useful one that is intended for therapists, teachers, and parents who want to help students of all ages with Spanish pronunciation. Spanish Artik from Smarty Ears is a thorough app whose structure is based on the science of phonemes, a linguistic term referring to the smallest units (sounds) of a language.
This app allows you to add multiple students and have them participate one at a time or alternate turns. The instructor or parent can select the particular phonemes (for example the two “r” sounds, r-trill and r-flap) for each student and the placement of those sounds within the word. The app then generates a list of words that meet the criteria. Once you begin practicing, each word shows up with a picture, and you can click to hear it pronounced and even record the student’s voice. Indicate whether the student pronounced the word correctly, and the app will keep track of the results, which can be emailed or printed.
With over 450 words and customizable settings including rotating images (for group use), this app is a long-term investment in keeping Spanish skills fresh. It would be an excellent refresher for a nonnative speaker like myself and a great way to record a child’s speech progress, but can also be used in a formal classroom setting.
If you know anything about phonemes or are interested in finding out how breaking down words can help with fluency, visit the Smarty Ears list of resources about language learning and technology.
Find Spanish Artik in iTunes
Available for iPhone and iPad
Recommendedfor speech therapists and parents