Monday, March 26, 2012

App Review: Letter Tracking


As most of you may know, my daughter has had two surgeries to correct a lazy eye.
And with her alignment issue, we also found that she had a difficult time tracking print once we started to teach her to read.
Our private Occupational Therapist knew that we had an iPad and also knew that I was all about helping both of my kids with their myriad of issues.
So she let me in on this great little secret: a print-tracking iPad app!
This app has been written in conjunction with pediatric occupational therapists who work in schools and clinics with children who often struggle with reading.
One of their main difficulties is seen during reading or when they have to asnwer questions based on a passage they have read. It has been found that because they struggle with tracking they are unable to answer the questions or complete the task without fatigue to their eyes.

Tracking skills, or the ability to control the fine eye movements required to follow a line of print, are really important in reading. Children with tracking problems will often lose their place, skip or transpose words, and have difficulty understanding because of struggling to move their eyes accurately. Many are forced to use their fingers to follow the line because their eyes can't.


When we read, our eyes don’t move smoothly across the line. Instead, our eyes make a series of jumps and pauses as we read. The small jumps between words or groups of words are called saccades. The brief pause we make while looking at the words is called a fixation. After a fixation, we move our eyes to the next word or group of words—another saccade.
This very precise coordination of jumps and pauses is controlled by our central and peripheral visual systems. Our central vision processes what we’re seeing in clear detail and defines what we’re looking at. Our peripheral, or side vision, simultaneously locates surrounding objects and let’s us know where to look.
In reading, our central vision processes the word, while our side vision locates the following word and tells us where to aim our eyes next. The integration of these two systems allows us to efficiently move our eyes along a line of print without overshooting or undershooting, or mistakenly aiming our eyes at lines above or below. If there is not fluid integration between these two systems, reading will be jerky, loss of place will be common, and comprehension will be poor.


What I love about this app are the five levels (Entry, Beginners, Junior, Middle and Master) that you can use.
Of course, we began with "Entry" in which the app randomly chooses a letter for my child to track and find on the screen.
As she perfected this, we moved onto the second level, then third, and so on.

There is only one thing that I do not like.

The only thing that I do NOT like about this app is the voice of the woman that you will hear as your child touches the appropriate letter correctly.
To say that she sounds less-than-enthusiastic would be an understatement!
She sounds bored, bothered, and dull.
If your kids are like mine, they thrive on enthusiasm and excitement!
I was pleased to see that I could "mute" her voice and use my own to encourage my kids!
For only $1.99, you can get this app, too, by clicking here!

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