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Ricki B.

Status: Beta reviewer - Video Reviewer

Categories of apps she/he wants to review: Books - Education - Entertainment - Games - Lifestyle - Photography - Productivity - Other

iDevices she/he owns: - iPad3- iPhone4

Description: Ricki Block has been a Speech Pathologist since 1976. She also owned a School Supply/Toy Store for 22 years. Currently she is the administrator for 10 Speech Therapists in a preschool. She created a website, The Preschool Speech Source - loaded with helpful resources, the BEST APPS & REVIEWS, FREE handouts and speech materials.

Profile categories: Can test apps with kids ages 0-2 - Can test apps with kids ages 3-5 - Can test apps with kids ages 6-10 - Teaching kids ages 0-2 - Teaching kids ages 3-5 - SLP

Date when her/his profile was validated: 2012-08-09

User who invited him/her: Jean-Eudes L.

Total review Karma: + 12     ?

Each time a developer thinks a review from a reviewer is useful, he give to this reviewer +1 in review Karma. The more Karma a reviewer has, the better her/his reviews are assessed!


Her/His app reviews

Be a Buddy, Not a Bully -- A Tales of Midlandia Storybook v0.9 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Arrow at the bottom of screen is easy to find. 3 reading modes-option of turning on/off music.Storyline presented in simple manner for young child. Addresses pragmatic conversation- tap the animal to find out what they are thinking. I would use this app with children who need to practice responding to the question, “What is he thinking?” or “What is he going to say?” Addresses feelings: happy, sad, angry, surprised, being mean. Cute interactive movements and sounds to maintain child's attention.I like the birds flying out of the corn, woodchuck popping up, corn noises, leaves, eating.
Improvements 1. Discussion questions – since this a story geared towards young children 3-6, I would ask questions related to the story, e.g. Who was the bully? What did Buck do to Harvest which made him sad? Angry? Who did Harvest and Buck talk to? How did Harvest and Buck become friends?
2. Make the fire in the fireplace either get larger or go out – eliminate smoke
3. Have Harvest write, with a writing sound
4. Eliminate animal which says, “No one can see me”
5. When Buck is in the water, have the cork
General review Harvest is a friendly farmer who deals with bully Banker Buck who is digging on his land and refuses to leave. The storyline presents the subject of bullying in a very simple manner for the young child 3-7. It addresses pragmatic conversation -practice responding to the question, “What is he thinking?” or “What is he going to say?” Address feelings: happy,sad,angry, urprised, being mean. Children will enjoy the interactive movements & sounds

EdgeMates - US Capitals v1.3 [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked EdgeMates is so much more than meets the eye. It is an addictive game which provides the player with repetitive practice of learning the state capitals. I liked the brain teaser format. As a puzzle lover, this app maintained my attention and I did not want to stop playing until I solved the puzzle. I also liked: 1- the divisions of easy, normal & hard which extends age level from 7yrs-99yrs, 2- ability to rotate pieces - very challenging 3- lights & sounds when pieces matched correctly 4-simple instructions 5-Can easily move to different level with Options mode
Improvements I would like to see a hint button to help solve puzzles - I got to the end of a very difficulty puzzle and had one wrong connection. It was a bit frustrating. In my sudoku puzzle I can request a hint and the incorrect piece is highlighted. It would also be motivating to accumulate points and record the time it took to complete the puzzle. Replay button does not always work. Also, when I turned off the Rotate Mode, puzzle pieces didn't match up and I couldn't solve the puzzle.
General review EdgeMates is a brain teaser game which provides repetitive practice of learning state capitals and have fun solving puzzles at the same time. The challenge is to match all sides. There are 3 levels to this game which opens the playing field to all ages. Once you start playing, you may not want to stop, especially when you start rotating pieces!! Great for classroom and home. If you like games, e.g. Sudoku, I highly recommend EdgeMate!
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Sentence Builder [text] [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Pictures are a nice size. Most of the words can be found on the 100 first reading words list.Voice is very clear. You can record your own voice too. Words move around easily to the bottom board. I like that you can separate the words from the picture and create a sentence. Each word "talks" when you tap on it. Children can make sentences without being able to read. This app is a wonderful facilitator and motivator for reading. Think out of the box with this app too - can be used for teaching grammar - He, She, is, are, ing, etc. and sentence recall.
Improvements This app is practically flawless. Initially I did have difficulty with Create Your Own Lessons. It would be nice to have an explanation of how to use this section. You need to create the lesson first, then get out of the screen and then go into Self-Created Lessons. I thought this app was going to have more pictures for sequencing a story. I would not change this app at all, but would love to see a new app created with pictures (with words underneath) that move around and create sentence when you click on the picture - to teach sequencing, e.g. steps to waking up in the morning.
General review I love love love this Sentence Builder app. It's purpose is to teach children how to create sentences in a simple fashion. Each word talks as it easily moves with a tap of the finger. Child is learning to read and listen to the spoken word at the same time. Think out of the box with this app - can be used for teaching grammar, vocabulary and sentence recall. Create your own lessons and target speech sounds for practice too.
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Puss in Boots : Interactive 3D Pop-up Fairy Tale v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Puss in Boots app has been simplified so that non-readers can understand the storyline and young/struggling readers can follow along with the narrator or read alone. Love the table of contents, big print, and the ease of use and navigation of buttons. I especially liked the design of the pop-up page at the end of each chapter, the instructions which are displayed in a bubble and the interactive activity which is related to the part of the story just read .
Improvements Checked 3 times to note female gender of the cat. As much as I love the idea, it may confuse the younger child. Would like to see title for beginning each Chapter on left side of page. Activity on the last pop-up page had a cute concept but it was frustrating not having much control over hitting the animals with the boot. Also, the ogre was smiling and looked more like a big cat. ? Last page -NEED INSTRUCT, e.g. "Spin Wheel & Watch Surprise- surprised by connection of 2 pgs! Thought didn't work. Would love to see a final pop-up page with pics that move so you can retell story.
General review Puss in Boots app has been simplified so that non-readers can understand the storyline and young/struggling readers can follow along with the narrator or read alone. Print is enlarged for the early reader. Story has "chapters" and few pictures which helps child formulate pictures in their head. Attractive illustrations on fun interactive pop-ups are displayed after each chapter and reinforce key events from the story.

Cinderella : 3D Pop-up Fairy Tale v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked Cinderella has been simplified so that non-readers can understand the storyline and young/struggling readers can follow along with the narrator or read alone. Love the table of contents, big print, and the ease of use and navigation of buttons. I especially liked the appealing graphics, design of the pop-up page at the end of each chapter, the instructions which are displayed in a bubble and the interactive activity & sound effects which is related to the part of the story just read.
Improvements Would like to see title for beginning each Chapter on left side of page. Background music is overpowering while story is being narrated. In the pop-ups, Chapter 1 - Rather than sister jumping on table - have her jump next to her sisters. Chapter 3-movement of the Fairy Godmother and Chapter 4 - Prince and Cinderella have the look of a Cardboard Cutout and need more dimension.
General review Cinderella has been simplified so that non-readers can understand the storyline and young/struggling readers can follow along with the narrator or read alone. Print is enlarged for the early reader. Story has "chapters" which helps child formulate pictures in their head. Attractive illustrations and sound effects on fun interactive pop-ups are displayed after each chapter and reinforce key events from the story.

Ride a Pony with Kate and Harry v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. Adorable boy and girl characters which giggle & say "yahoo" when tapped.
2. I like the interactive movement of the pony galloping and the hoof sounds when you tap the pony.
3. Pleasant background music
4. Simple activity for a very young child, especially if teaching cause & effect - I played this app with a 3 year old with language delays and she loved it. The activity was modeled for her one time & she independently dressed the ponies. She liked making the pony gallop, the child laugh, and repetitively chose the same 2 ponies to dress up. She repeated the activity at least 6 times.
Improvements Visual instructions not necessary because it's simple.Would like child to be able to slide picture to the pony rather than tapping the picture since there are only 4 pics to add. It would give them more to do. My 3 yr old could not match the similar horse attire and missed most of the pop-ups. Would like to see interactive items w/ "glow" around them so children know to press it. With modeling she tapped pop-ups- but did not relate to fairy tales. This is a simple cause & effect activity combined with a theme of random fairy tales pop-ups which is too complex. App is expensive.
General review Kate and Harry are two adorable characters who giggle and say "yahoo" while they are riding a pony. My 3 year old with language delays loved this app. She liked making the pony gallop, the child laugh, and repetitively chose the same 2 ponies to dress up. With help, she tapped the pop-ups but did not relate to fairy tale figures. This is a simple cause & effect activity with purposeful play & geared for very young children

Meet the Insects: Forest Edition [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This app has so much potential. Search button is key to understanding how to navigate. I like the the : ability to sort bugs by color, Insect story & insect trivia, kids can write in their observation journal, & the quiz. The ease of viewing beautiful videos & photos is flawless. It took a minute to figure out that I had to click on the circles below the photos to move to a different set of insects. Guided arrows did help in moving from 1 section to the next.. I like the explanations of the insects and that every insect has a printed description.
Improvements This app offers so much to the young scientist, but there are no directions on how to use this app. The search button is such an important part of this app and needs a little bubble explaining so. It provides some order to what is included which is mainly beetles (17), butterflies & moths (9) and cicadas/stink bugs (7). Once I figured this out, some of the most common and favorite bugs were missing in this set.
General review A child 5-10 yrs old would love this app. Love the ability to navigate through a variety of activities, e.g. Insect story & insect trivia, observation journal, & the quiz. The ease of viewing beautiful videos & photos is flawless. Love all the details about 33 different insects, but types are limited. Many of the favorites are not in this series. Directions for using this app would be helpful. Well worth new price of .99 cents !

Playground HD1 - 12 games for kids aged 2-6 in 1 App v3.0.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. 12 different games to play- star system is nice reward and helps child know how many items to look for on screen, "Pairs" game - clever progression, "Erase" , "Catch" , "Roll" and "Collect - very unique and great for fine-motor and visual motor for OT's , love the simplicity of "Remember" and "Piano"- excellent for listening/memory warm-up
2. Choice of 15 languages
3. Has a built in timer - for teachers- can keep track of improved time to complete an activity
4. No glitches - back button easily brings you back to the Home screen
Improvements 1. Instructions and hints for "Search", "Slide" and "Colors" game would be helpful - e.g. "Search" - child could confuse same vs. different, couldn't always find pic. -
2. "Draw" and "Puzzle" are very common apps - not sure they are a necessity
3. Would like to see a lower price for this app - $4.99 is high - you can create 2 apps from this one!
4. Provide levels of difficulty - would be helpful for the user
General review Playground HD offers 12 different early childhood games to play at varied levels of difficulty. Occupational Therapists will love this app! It offers cute games (Erase, Catch, Roll and Collect) which gives child repetitive practice for fine motor &visual motor skills. There are also 2 adorable music games(Remember & Piano) for listening & memory. Child is rewarded when task is completed. There is a built in timer to track the time.

Word Scout Sight Word Finder v1.0 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Wubbzy's The Night Before Christmas [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. Child friendly pictures with engaging interactive visuals/sound effects
2. App has detailed instructions,easy to navigate and you can return Home in the midst of an activity
3. Love the story line with catchy adjectives, e.g. clattery clatter, flashity flash - a nice feature for teachers and therapists introducing 3 syllable words
4. Love the added features (games, coloring) - age appropriate and simple - creates independent activity for child
Improvements I would suggest putting the games at the end of the story. Storyline is simple, yet challenging for the child to remember. Inserting a game in the middle of the story disrupts the flow of thought.
One of the videos froze. I had to delete the app and re-install. Otherwise, this app is seamless!
General review Wubbzy & his friends are the cutes little characters who engage the reader with interactive visuals/sound effects. This app has detailed instructions,is easy to navigate and has a flexible return Home button on every page. I love this Christmas story line with catchy adjectives, e.g. clattery clatter & highlighted words when read. The added features (games, coloring) are age appropriate and simple for a young child to do independently. LOVE IT!

Hedgehog Book v1.0 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. A teachers dream - three creative stories and catchy visuals-sound effects which embed similes and prose into the context. This app is best used with direction from an adult in order to utilize the potential of the content, although a young reader can handle this app independently. Really like perks of creating a lesson for sentence recall, open-ended questions &following directions
2. Storyline has an unexpected beginning - very cool-it requires thinking right away - the question button is a life saver, as first round with the stories elicits doubt as to what is expected of the reader
Improvements 1. Would like video with English subtitles.
2. Why is story called Hedgehog Book? - no hedgehogs hidden - maybe you need to add some
3. Hedgehog button too small - and need forward backward arrow button
4. Interactives didn't always work first time - roots, mop,peel banana, shake
5. Almond rhyme didn't make sense to me- sugg - create backward sequence - e.g. WHOLE PLUM , then UNALMONDED flower & then GREEN BANANA - create additional buttons to take off almonds, plum and close banana
General review Teachers - Hedgehog Book (3 stories) is a MUST HAVE app for the elementary classroom engaged in creative literacy activities. Pictures & sd effects are delightful. All interactions are manual, which provide time for asking open-ended questions to elicit creative thinking. Children can delve into the whimsical similes and prose, while at the same time develop skills in following directions and sentence recall. Question (hint) button is helpful.

The Meeting App 1.1.2 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. I could create a different notebook for each meeting category and could add as many notebooks as I needed
2. I liked being able to create a new meeting under the main notebook
3. In the meeting section I liked having 3 areas to write - one for notes, one for decisions and one for delegating. I used the writing & adding text tool. I liked being able to leave myself a big note to call a colleague. When I clicked on a specific meeting date that information came right up.
4. Instant email to colleague after a meeting is a great feature

Improvements 1. Video tutorial is helpful, but it would be nice to have hint buttons on screen. When I pressed on buttons, the screen would just disappear and I would have to start over. Seems to be some gliches in the program.
2. I had much difficulty getting started - when I added names, keyboard would pop up then disappear before I had a chance to enter name. I could not connect to my iPad calendar, even with the help of my "techie" husband.
3. Want me to switch from what I have now (FREE) to yours?? fix gliches, reduce price, & add calendar & task list
4. App is expensive for what you get
General review The Meeting app has so much potential. Set up of meetings & contacts was challenging & wished there were "hint" buttons to simplify the process. In meeting screen I liked having 3 areas to write - 1 for notes, 1 for decisions and 1 for delegating. I was able to quickly write myself a big note to call a colleague. The instant email from the note screen to a colleague is its best feature. Calendar & summary task list needed. App is expensive.

Wubbzy's Fire Engine Adventure [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked What didn't I like??
Graphics are simple and adorable
Interactive sound, voice and visuals are placed in the story in appropriate locations - the sparkly stars are perfect - helps child tap the right spot
The storyline captures a child's attention
Love the 3 different options for reading the story and that the words are highlighted when read
The games are at the end - love that - child focuses on the story- and love the simplicity of the ABC and Number game - just right for little fingers to manipulate
Love the Parent's Corner and discussion of the story
Love the tie in to Core Curriculum
Improvements Writing at least 250 characters on improvements is going to be tough - the app runs seamless, has a well organized front page with characterized topics, with ease and flexibility. One thing - you could list the goals listed in the Core Curriculum - pulling at strings here!! One other - the kids didn't appear to be interested in the kite scene,
General review I read this absolutely adorable story containing colorful graphics with 2 children with varied special needs, one verbal and one non-verbal. Both children loved this app. I read the story so I could change it according to the needs of the child. The interactive sound, voice and visuals are placed in the story in convenient locations and the sparkly stars are positioned perfectly - they help child tap the right spot. The game

Matryoshka! deluxe [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. Cute graphics, sound effects of animals, kids clap & say hurray, and varied background scenes
2. 10 Puzzles with different themes – like that the top goes to the top of the screen and you can move the pieces around. Like that piece bounces back if it is not the right one.
3. Like the price .99
4. Popping reward at end of each puzzle
5. Teach early skills - Critical thinking – ability to sequence in the proper size order , concepts in & out, top & bottom. Child can learn to self-correct
6. Back button
Improvements 1. Would like to be able to turn off the music
2. Help button does not have any info except for email address
3. Would like to have 2 settings an “easy” button- have a “hint” button when child doesn’t complete puzzle correctly and “difficult” button- to make the puzzle more challenging give the user an option to move all of the pieces either to the top or the bottom to make the puzzle harder
4. On the reward screen, would like to see back button too. Would like to be able to access all the reward screens – always looking for activities to work on cause & effect.
General review This app consists of 10 unique nesting puzzles that contain graphics and sound effects which attract a young child’s attention. It provides opportunities for learning size sequencing and basic concepts such as in,out, top, bottom. It also engages the child in simple critical thinking skills of how pieces fit together and what comes next. This app rewards the child with clapping and horray’s and popping balloons,etc. Lot's of fun & only .99!

Shiny Party 1.0 [video]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
First 5 minutes video review
Video review once the app was mastered

Sound Tap Quiz 1.0.5 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked 1. Extensive selection of attractive pictures nicely organized into 6 categories (72 pics) of farm animals, musical instruments, birds, transportation, wild animals and household. I like addition of 2 categories - mixed animals and all. This app will appeal to the typically developing young child those with special needs. Perfect for teaching sound association and modeling beginning sounds. Has data tracker.
2. A+ for ease of use. Main screen has 3 buttons- settings, sounds and quiz (like choice of 1 or other)- love the simplicity of this app - it's self explanatory. App runs seamlessly.
Improvements 1.Settings - Would like to know what is purpose of having 7 choices for background colors. Don't see the need. I like the fact that you can keep track of data but I would like to see an accurate score based on actual responses.
2. Not sure of the purpose of 4 sds for each pic
3. Correct & incorrect response button - sounds too similar in quiz. Can't skip a picture without finding the pic first.
4. Need smaller board of 3, 6 pics too
General review I love Sound Tap Quiz! It has an extensive selection of attractive pictures nicely organized into 6 categories (72 pics) of farm animals, musical instruments, birds, transportation, wild animals and household. This app contains all the sounds I typically teach & more. It gets an A+ for organization and ease of use. Having 9 pics on a board for the quiz may be too hard for some - would like to see smaller boards of 3 and 6 pics too.

The Tiger Who Wasn't! version 1.0.1 [text]

Link to the App Store

Rating  
What I liked This story at first had a lot of potential with the theme of being "different." Hatty the tiger is such a gentle tiger and was perceived as a sneaky tiger trying to trick the animals. There are cute sounds and movement on each page. It is easy to swipe forward and backward. I liked parts of the story which rhymed - this is always a nice skill to incorporate in a book. I liked Hatty's Hide & Seek Game the best out of all the games - there were partial visual hints to find the animals.
Improvements 1. Story line needs some tweeking - it went from animals being scared to not being scared....and ending with a word rhyming game with Boo. There are 2 different stories going on
2. Hatty's "hat" looks more like a pumpkin stem
3. Swipe could use a sound of a page swiping
4. Hatty's voice is an adult voice - needs to be a child voice
5. Some of the phrases could be substituted, e.g. "It's a freak" are not words I would like to see my kids repeat
6. Games need a refresh - avocado game did not work
6. The tapping of pictures and swiping of pages did not always work - some
technical issue
General review This story at first had a lot of potential with the theme of being "different." Hatty the tiger is such a gentle tiger and was perceived as a sneaky tiger trying to trick the animals. I would review the story again & decide what your theme is going to be. Be mindful of wording. Sound and visual interactions worked inconsistently and require revision. Games need revisions, except for Hatty Hide & Seek.