Okay…that’s a little cliche and I admit it…
Okay…that’s a LOT cliche…but there’s a reason.
I had the privilege of reviewing a new up-and-coming app prior to it being released and I’m here to share my thoughts with you regarding it.
The people at Complete Speech have created a new app called Speech Racer Lite. (For those who have read my reviews before, I reviewed another app of theirs called Vowel Viz a while ago.) Speech Racer provides biofeedback for each R word said.
Speech Racer Lite is designed to give students a “fun, interactive way to practice ‘RRR’ sounds.”
This is the Lite version – the full version will be released in August. The full version will have self-scoring, over 300 flashcards with visual cues, and the ability to customize R targets in different positions, including blends.
It looks as though the app is well thought out and full of detail. I wasn’t able to access some of the elements as they are reserved for the full version (which isn’t available yet). However, they seem to have thought about everything important.
Word lists include Initial, Medial, and Final R words (over 300 flashcards!) I REALLY like that they have the R Blends and post-vocalic /r/ separated into their own words (to me this is critical for a good /r/ app).
There will be four activities av available in the full version.
The Lite version has two activities available. These are both meters that show how accurate the R production was. The student is directed to prolong the R to make it a bit more noticeable (more on this later). The meter will then flash up to the “rating.”
In the first one, a poor /r/ sound will result in a red light…an approximate /r/ sound will result in a yellow light, and a good /r/ will result in the green light and running lights being illuminated. The lights stay illuminated until the record button is pushed again.
In the second meter, the meter goes from Red (empty) to Green (full) based on the quality of the R.
I can see the benefit of the biofeedback for R as it can be very tricky for kids to master self-monitoring. Having the immediate feedback helps with correct placement and recognizing what it is that the student had to do to get that /r/.
My only concern is that it doesn’t necessarily facilitate a “true” /r/ in that it does need to be slightly exaggerated to be picked up by the device. However, that is a minimal concern and similar to producing an exaggerated /s/ and then shaping it into a true /s/…an exaggerated /r/ is fairly easy to shape into a true /r/ once they get the feel for the position and develop the self-awareness.
Overall, I think this app has some potential. I’ve been a fan of Vowel Viz for a while now, but I can see many of the students on my caseload responding better to this than Vowel Viz. I know I’m excited to try it with them and I’m definitely looking forward to the full version.
So…let me know. Do you think you can see a need for Speech Racer Lite in your future?
Until then….Adventure on!
Disclaimer: I was provided with a code for Speech Racer Lite; however, the review and thoughts are entirely my own.