I watched in amazement as my 4 year old daughter whizzed through level after level of her Kindle app called Kids Learn to Sort by Intellijoy (Android version here). Within a short time, she completed 35 levels, doing most of them multiple times – gleefully. One of the more interesting activities has the child sort vikings into ships that are different sizes and colors. It was fun to watch her learn as she tried the wrong combination at first, then figured out the right one.
It was surprising to me just how fast she was completing the activities, and how easy it seemed for her to remember activities that she had already done, and figure out how to do new ones. As her auditory processing skills are definitely impaired – we don’t always know what she has understood – and it was a little like watching her mind at work, in a way she can’t normally express.
So in my quest to develop a visual based reading system – one of my first goals was to harness the power of sorting as a learning tool. I looked all through as many IOS apps as I could, as well as through the Kindle and Play stores – and I couldn’t find anything advertising to teach letters through sorting of any kind.
I think it may be in part because the idea that phonics is necessary and/or the only valid approach for teaching letters is so widespread, that few app developers have attempted to create anything different. I found a few autism related apps that said they taught through a more visual method, but that seemed limited to pictures (which are phonetically linked to the letter, lol) – and tracing of the letter, as well as the presentation of whole words.
I’ll be detailing each step of my app here – but for now I wanted to add the graphic of the 1st shape sorting one. As the sub animates in, and shoots out the letters – my daughter has responded with laughter and smiles whenever the activity comes on – and easily sorts the letters into their shaped port holes… so far so good 🙂