App: Fill The Gap
Developer: Magmentis, Ltd.
Platform: iPad, Android (English)
Category: Reading and Writing
Fill The Gap Makes Spelling Fun
Fill the Gap is an excellent vocabulary building, spelling reinforcement, and iPad phonics app that is a useful tool for older kids on the spectrum. This iPad app requires the child to have requisite knowledge of phoneme sounds and blends as well as primary level vocabulary and spelling skills. Therefore, it is most useful for children on a second to third grade reading level.
Pictures and Sounds Reinforce Skills
This app takes advantage of pictures, sounds, and movement to reinforce common vocabulary words that the child should be somewhat familiar with before playing the game. Once the child is shown a picture and a partial word he is expected to guess the missing letter or letter blend. He has the option of choosing from five single letters or five letter blends.
If the incorrect answer is chosen the correct answer flashes in red; however when the correct answer is selected the word is announced. The child is then rewarded as the dog, Smudge, plays in the background on a swing, slide, or see-saw with a buddy. These elements simultaneously take advantage of the strengths of the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learner.
Fill the Gap Learning Levels
One of the main features of this app is that it allows the teacher, parent, or child to choose from four different word lengths: four, six, eight, and any. This allows for the app to be customized based on the child’s vocabulary and spelling level. This feature helps to build the child’s confidence as he works within his comfort zone while giving him the opportunity to increase his vocabulary as he masters more challenging words.
iPad Phonics App Includes Common Blends
Once the word length is selected, there are eight additional activities to choose from. Players can choose to fill in the missing first or last letter or the missing vowel from the words in each learning level. There are also five categories for filling in common phoneme blends such as “ck”, “er”, and “sh”, which makes this a great adjunct to phonics lessons.
Fill the Gap-Hidden Benefits
One limitation of the game is that the child can only see the picture of the word before he gives the correct answer. If the child is unfamiliar with the picture he doesn’t have the option of hearing it and then trying to phonetically decode the word based on the pronunciation. This in turn creates a need for moderate supervision or assistance depending on the child’s reading level.
On the other hand, this also creates an opportunity for language acquisition. The unfamiliar pictures without verbal cues present a natural opportunity for the child to practice asking “wh” questions. For instance, the child can be prompted to ask “what is that?” when presented with unknown images. This can help improve expressive language proficiency, which is vital for individuals on the spectrum.
Overall, Fill the Gap is a wonderful resource for helping young learners develop fundamental reading skills. The app offers features that can enhance the learning experience for individuals with various learning modalities. Additionally, it presents an unexpected opportunity to work with ASD kids on expressive language skills, which is always a plus!
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Another great review written by Teri T., an Autism Plugged In guest author, homeschool mom of two kids on the spectrum, and daily iPad user. Thanks, Teri!