Reading Comprehension Camp Application Review
I have a significant number of students on my caseload who either have auditory processing disorder, language processing disorder, or a learning disability. We work over and over again on their ability to recall information from a story in an organized, sequential manner. In our fourth grade classrooms, each student has an iPad, so whenever my students are able to bring theirs to therapy, they are extremely excited! I ended up installing Reading Comprehension Camp on two iPads for my fourth graders to use simultaneously and was able to choose the question types that they had the most difficulty on. It was a life-saver and a great motivator for them to be able to use this application! To learn more about how you can use it in therapy, continue reading!
The Main Page of the application has five buttons - background music, More Apps, Support, Student Lounge, and Read with a camp theme in the background. Press the speaker button to turn on/off the music on the Main Page. If on, the microphone will show sound waves but if off, an "x" will appear.
Press the "Support" question mark button for assistance or more information about the application:
- Backup iTunes - This will back up application data to iTunes for the ability to restore at any time.
- Restore From iTunes - This will offer the ability to restore previously backed up information from iTunes to the application.
- About the App - Pressing this will give you information about the application and how it is to be used.
- Request Support - Brings you to the Mail application so that you may e-mail Smarty Ears for support with the application
- More Apps - Pressing this will bring you to a list of Smarty Ears' iTunes applications to view which additional apps they have for sale and more information about them. Pressing on an application you are interested in will bring you to that app in the iTunes store.
- Facebook - Brings you to Smarty Ears' Facebook page.
- Video Tutorial - Allows the user to view a video tutorial of how to use the app. This is offered within the application. You can also view a YouTube video overview below:
Once you press the "Read" button, make sure to add a student to the application prior to application play by pressing the "Add Reader" button. Pressing on the blank square will allow the user to choose an avatar, take a photo, or choose a photo from the camera roll to associate with their profile. Then, press within the "Enter Name" rectangle to type via the keyboard. Press "Done" to add the user to the list of reader profiles. You can edit profiles later by double tapping on the user's photo.
Another way to add user profiles is through importing them via the free Therapy Report Center (TRC) application by Smarty Ears. By pressing this button in the lower left hand corner, you must have the Therapy Report Center application installed already on your iPad. You will be brought to the TRC app to choose a student profile to export into Reading Comprehension Camp. After it has begun importing, return to the Reading Comprehension Camp application. To learn more about Therapy Report Center, visit smartyearsapps.com.
Next, you may choose up to four players to use the application at a time. Tap on the profile image(s) of the student(s) you wish to play. A green check mark will appear in the right hand corner of those you choose. Once you have chosen the users to play the application, press "Choose Stories".
There are 50 stories in all broken down into five different levels. The level of each story can be seen in the top right hand corner of each story's preview image. Each level represents a different reading passage level (difficulty and paragraph length). You can browse through all of the stories or sort by level by pressing the corresponding button at the bottom of the screen.
To adjust the Settings for the story selection screen, press the "Settings" gears button in the lower left hand corner of the screen. There are three different options of items to display on the images:
- Display Awards on Stories - shows awards a student has received on a particular story
- Display Story Level Tab - displays the story levels at the bottom of the screen to choose between
- Display Story Level ID - displays the story level in the corner of the story images
Choose the story in which the level is appropriate for the student(s) to read. The story's image will show in the middle of the screen with the title at the top. Press the "Settings" button to adjust the font and/or image size. You can have the student(s) listen to a professional recording of the story, read it to himself/herself/themselves, or have him/her/them record their reading by pressing the red "Record" button in the top right hand corner with it played back by pressing the green "Play" triangular button.
Once the story has been read, press on the "Quiz" button on the left hand side of the application. Choose which type of questions you would like the user(s) to answer from the following:
- Cause & Effect
- Compare & Contrast
- Vocabulary/Context Clues
You can also choose to have all types of questions asked by pressing "All".
The Quiz has Settings as well:
- Number of Answer Choices - Choose between 2-4 answer choices on the sliding bar
- When Wrong - You can press a button to have an incorrect answer, if chosen, eliminated, crossed out, or a buzz to sound
- Display Hint Button - Show or hide the Hint button via the on/off switch
- Display Story Art - Show or hide story art via the on/off switch
- Enable Speak Function - Enable/disable the speak function when answering questions via the on/off switch
Once the Settings have been determined, press the "Start Quiz" button. You must tap the student whom you wish to answer each particular question as it appears. Only one child can answer each question in a group. If the speaking option is on, the user can press the microphone button to hear the question read aloud. Press the "Hint" or "Check" buttons, if on, to receive a hint or check your answer. You can also show/hide the text within the quiz if needed. Press the "Next" button to move on to the next question.
Following the Quiz, the user will be brought to the Student Lounge to view the results of the Quiz. This Student Lounge can also be accessed from the Main Page at any time. Choose the student whose scores you wish to view. Each date a story was practiced, you can view the progress on the right hand side of the screen. Scroll up and down by swiping with one finger over the text to view more dates/stories. Data shown by story via text includes:
- Number of Participants
- Story Title
- Duration of Activity
- Overall Percentage
- Results of each type of question on first attempt/if the question type was not practiced
- Hints Used
On the right hand side of the screen, a graph with the average performance on all stories will appear with performance shown for all question types in green. At the very top of the screen, the date of the first session, total number of questions answered, and total number of stories completed will appear.
If you would like to share the information from the graph and sessions as a report, you can open it in the Therapy Report Center from Smarty Ears or Skitch, Mail, Print, Copy, iBooks, or Google Drive. Just make sure you have the application you choose to open it in installed with the appropriate permissions and WiFi/3G/4G enabled if needed. Follow the directions of the other application to share the data.
Creating Your Own Story
To create your own story for a particular reader/group of readers, press the "Read" button followed by at least one user, then press the "Create Your Own Story" hammer button in the lower left hand corner of the "Select the Story" screen. You will see "Custom Stories" as the title of the next screen as well as an "Add New" button. Press this "+" button to begin creating a new story. A template will show that looks like the layout from the other stories.
Add a story title by pressing the "Tap to Add Story Title" text and type via the keyboard. Then, tap below that text to add an image to your story. You can either choose an image from the camp options (pre-created images installed within the application) or from your own iPad's Photos Library. Next, you can write the story in the large rectangle below where it states "Tap Here to Write a Story". After that, press the "Record Audio" button to read the story's text aloud. You can pick a level for your story within the "Story Settings" so that your story will appear categorized at that specific level when searching within the app. Make sure to show yourself as the author of the story by tapping on the line next to "Created by" and typing your name onto the keyboard. Finally, add questions to your story's Quiz by pressing the "Add Questions To Story" button. Each question type will appear for you to type the questions within the long rectangle and answers within the short rectangles. Make sure you show which answer is correct by pressing the circle next to the correct answer (an apple will appear next to the answer you chose as the correct one). Once you have completed all of these tasks, press the "Save Story" button for it to be saved to be read with the others.
What I Like About This Application:
- There are Settings every step of the way within the application to take vision impairments, distractability, age, and more into account.
- The fact that you are able to share progress in ways other than through e-mail takes into account different therapists' ways of using the data given following use of the application. It's even better with multiple profiles being saved as well as the use of Therapy Report Center.
- There are over 50 pre-installed stories, but if you need more or a story tailored to a particular student, you can create your own.
- This application can be used not only with students in the speech classroom, but it is great for RtI as well for students to practice reading and recalling what they just read.
- It is great that this application has professional audio recording of each story do to the fact that this can then be used for both auditory and/or reading comprehension.
- Being able to choose which question types is great for my upper elementary students who are working on inferences and vocabulary, but also for my younger students who are working on "WH" questions.
- Having multiple students play at a time makes data collection easy for those working on the same goals. The ability to press on a student who is to answer a question on the quiz is great as well.
- Having the video tutorial within the application makes it so that the user can learn visually and auditorily how to use it, plus the user does not have to search for the video or tutorial online.
- Every aspect of the application is camp related from the Main Page to the image associated with the Student Lounge.
What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:
- Even though some of the stories have more than one paragraph, there is not much space between the paragraphs within the stories. I would like to see at least a little bit of space between paragraphs so that it all does not run together, or at least an indent.
- I would like to know more about each story's level and what it means within the "About" section rather than just levels 1 and 5.
- Within the "About" section, it is difficult to differentiate between the headers and the paragraphs below. Also, there are a couple of spacing issues and it would be great to have the footnote numbers smaller after the text. This is a bit picky, I know, but I am all about readability for both the SLP and the user.
- The orientation of a photo I used from my Photo Library was switched from vertical to horizontal after I published it. I would love for the ability to either rotate/resize the photo on my own to fit the specifications or for it just to stay the way it was.
- In the settings for the stories themselves, it would be great to have the option to show/hide the bar to play the story (due to the fact that if the student is only working on reading comprehension and should not have the audio, I can choose to hide it) as well as the recording buttons.
- It might be interesting if the recordings of the student reading aloud could be saved to the application for the therapist to go back and use for assessment.
- It would be great to see more detailed information on each individual session if pressed as well as the ability to send data to yourself for an individual session. Also, it might be neat to have a plot graph to view progress over time.
- Articulation/Fluency/Voice - Have the student read the paragraphs aloud and/or record himself/herself reading the paragraph to play it back and self-assess. Make sure to choose the level appropriate to both the students' reading level and speech sound/fluency level of practice.
- Auditory Comprehension - Have the student listen to the paragraphs read aloud by the narrator or the therapist with or without the text/image as cues. Then, have the student answer questions following the story with or without visual or verbal cues depending on their level.
- Question Answering - Have the student read or listen to a story and answer questions following it. You can work on just "WH" questions, higher-level thinking questions, or both.
- Question Asking - Have the student come up with questions for a given story. Students can practice asking "WH" questions as well as higher-level ones. They can use the story and/or image for cues.
- Writing - Have a student write their own story using the "Create Your Own Story" portion of the application. Make sure they think about story grammar along the way. You can even pull up the Quiz question section to prompt them as to what types of questions the story needs to answer.
- Vocabulary - Each story has a question which discusses vocabulary/context clues. You can even create a story specifically to work on a vocabulary term.
- Inferencing - Have the child make inferences about what will happen next in the story or answer the inference question about the story.
- Sequencing - Have the child retell the story in order. You can use the story's image as a cue or hide it if needed. There is also a question for each story which provides a question about where an event occurred within the story.
- Reading Comprehension - This application is all about reading comprehension. Have the child read a story and take the quiz without auditory or visual cues to get a true picture of his or her reading comprehension.
Reading Comprehension Camp is available for the iPad for $19.99.
The author of Consonantly Speaking was offered an application code of this application for review. No other form of compensation was received.