THE FAT CAT is the 1st of seven TALKING SHAPES apps that teach 36 sounds of English, the letters that represent them, and words that can be built with them. The ongoing storyline is about two sisters (“long, long ago”) who invent letters in order to remember the stories they love. FAT CAT is FREE and teaches 6 letters, 6 phonemes, and four words: FAT, CAT, SAT, HAT with an interactive story and games. Talking Shapes 2-7 teach the rest of the 40 sounds of English and words that can be built with their letters. Each app is $1.99.
Letters are shapes that talk. They change the sounds in spoken words into shapes that we can see. Talking Shapes helps 4-6 year olds identify the sounds in the words they say, draw and name the letters that represent them, sound-out and spell 3-letter words, and read short rhymes that use the words they have built. The camera feature of the tablet shows in “selfies” how your child’s mouth moves to say the different sounds in words. Letters are embedded in pictures that call to mind both the sound and the shape of the letter. Children use their fingers to draw the letters on the touch-screen. A catchy Phoneme Song helps them remember the sounds of vowels.
Funded by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, the apps were developed by Dr. Jeannine Herron, a research neuropsychologist in consultation with Drs. Linnea Ehri, Carol Connor, and Leslie Grimm, (developer of “Reader Rabbit”). Independent research with pre-school children using Talking Shapes, carried out by Dr. Margie Gillis, affiliate of Haskins Laboratory at Yale University, showed they had gained significant superiority of reading skills compared to controls on entering kindergarten.
These evidence-based apps implement discoveries from recent brain research revealing how the brain develops efficient pathways for skilled reading.