App review by
Erin Wilkey Oh, Common Sense Media
LanguageBuilderDeluxe App Poster Image
Audio, visual prompts help boost kids' communication skills.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to communicate more effectively as they create sentences to describe the photo prompts in LanguageBuilderDeluxe. Kids practice speaking and listening by recording a sentence for each photo and playing back the recording. Kids using Level 3 hints or no hints at all have to analyze each photograph in order to construct a logical sentence. LanguageBuilderDeluxe is a useful tool for teaching and learning language skills, especially if adults are nearby to adjust app settings and provide feedback.

Ease of Play

LanguageBuilderDeluxe is very easy to set up and play. By default, it opens to the settings screen, where parents can set up profiles for multiple kids, choose a theme, and adjust hint level. Kids see a picture and hear a prompt to "Make a sentence about the picture." Simple screen options provide hints and allow kids to record and save their sentences.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that LanguageBuilderDeluxe is a learning tool designed to help kids build communication skills. It's more effective if a parent or teacher can monitor kids and give guiding feedback, but the app is simple enough for kids to play on their own. Kids see a photograph and are prompted to make a sentence about it. They tap a button to record their sentence and can play it back and save it. Parents can adjust the app to provide different levels of hints for kids (or none at all), based on kids' learning needs. The app supports custom profiles for multiple kids.

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What's it about?

Parents can set up profiles for multiple kids and adjust the hint difficulty level and photo theme. During app play, kids see a picture and hear the prompt "Make a sentence about the picture." If hints are turned on, kids can tap a hint button. For Level 1 hints, kids see a sentence with a couple of blanks to fill in. Level 2 hints are open-ended sentence starters such as "The boys..." For Level 3 hints, kids hear suggested vocabulary words to use. Kids record their sentence and must play it back before moving to the next picture.

Is it any good?

LANGUAGEBUILDERDELUXE is a solid learning tool for kids who need to improve receptive and expressive language skills. The audio and visual prompts along with the three levels of hints give kids appropriate support as they learn to build and produce sentences. In addition, the ability to playback and re-record sentences helps kids reflect on and revise their language.

The photographs are high quality and depict a range of settings and themes appropriate for young kids. Unfortunately, the photos lack diversity -- nearly all of the kids and adults in the photos are white. And for the price, it would be nice if the app provided parents with some guidance to help kids get the most out of this app. A parent/teacher center with suggestions for supporting language development and ideas for extension activities would be a nice addition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Provide support for your kids as they use the app. If they struggle with reading, read the hints aloud. Listen to the sentences your child records. Adjust hints level as needed.

  • Try to consciously model language expression for your kids. Use complete sentences to explain to them what you are doing. Encourage them to ask you questions.

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