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Which basic academic skills can my young child learn with tech?

Students are expected to have mastered a few academic and social skills when they arrive on the first day of kindergarten. That can be a challenge for kids with special needs. You can help boost foundational skills -- including basic letter and number recognition -- with specially designed apps that combine visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning. A multitude of apps for both Android and iOS devices encourage and reinforce preschool skills.

A few to try:

  • Reading apps:

Bob's Books 1 Reading Magic (iOS, Android). A phonics-based interactive book that helps kids make the connection between letters and sounds.

Leo's pad Preschool Kids Learning (iOS). An interactive, animated series of "appisodes" designed for preschoolers.

How Rocket Learned to Read - by Tad Hills (iOS). An interactive book app that includes two games to help kids with the alphabet and sight words.

  • Writing apps:

Dexteria Jr. (iOS). Offers lots of practice for several kinds of fine motor skills.

LetterSchool (iOS). Incorporates engaging animation to make writing letters fun.

iWriteWords (Handwriting Game) (iOS). Helps preschoolers practice writing the letters of the alphabet, numbers up to 20, and simple words.

  • Math apps:

Tiny Playroom – Toddler and Kids Toy (iOS). Offers a variety of games for cognitive skills, including a shape sorter, puzzles, and math games.

Teach Me: Toddler (iOS). Kids can learn numbers, counting, letters, letter sounds, shapes, and colors from a cute mouse dressed as a teacher.

Todo Math (iOS). Great for kids who have auditory- and visual-processing issues or language or math issues.

  • Visual apps:

Spot the Dot (iOS). Just as with a pop-up book, the reader must interact with the page to find the dot by tapping, sliding, and even combining the shapes on the page.

  • Auditory apps:

Fun With Directions HD (iOS). Prompts kids to follow directions as it strengthens spatial concepts, auditory memory, auditory processing, and more.

  • Oral skill apps:

First Phrases HD (iOS). Designed especially for kids with speech delay, this app helps build kids' expressive vocabulary as they practice putting two or three words together.

QuestionIt (iOS). Created to help people with autism and language issues develop and strengthen concepts of language.

Vicki Windman contributed to this article.

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