Teaching kids to read with the Speaktacular Sight Words reading app

Mobile applications can serve as valuable education tools for children, parents and teachers, with interactive features that automate the learning process. Nikita Kapoor, founder of Sprite Kids, discusses her motivations for creating Speaktacular Sight Words – an interactive children’s reading application that utilizes intelligent voice recognition technology from Nuance’s NDEV Mobile program.
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Five years ago, I was sitting with my daughter, helping her practice reading her sight words – the collection of words that young children are encouraged to learn and recognize by sight – by using a set of flash cards.

We would take things one flash card at a time – I’d read the word to her, if needed. Words which she needed to practice more were marked with a little pencil. We tried to practice frequently, but, because of my busy schedule at work, I could not do this daily. I remember wishing that there was a way that I could help her practice on days when I was busy and couldn’t sit with her to teach her, listen to her, and correct her, because I could see an improvement in her foundational reading abilities after we practiced and learned the sight words.

That’s when it struck me that smart devices could be the solution – an application could assist in my daughter’s learning process by using voice recognition technology. The app could display the word, ask her to read it, and understand what she says. It could correct her if she made a mistake, and automatically remember any words that were read incorrectly. Eureka! This app could empower parents, teachers and children with a sophisticated, yet simple, learning tool for building foundational reading skills in early readers.

I didn’t let the idea pass me by. I embarked on a mission to create such an application, and we now have Speaktacular Sight Words Edu – a revolutionary, voice-enabled application that allows children in grades kindergarten through third grade to use their own voice to properly pronounce words from three unique word lists critical to reading development.

Powered by intelligent voice recognition technology from Nuance’s NDEV Mobile, Speaktacular Sight Words teaches children to read and correctly annunciate their words in an interactive and enjoyable format. Children are encouraged to read words that appear on the screen, and, as they read more words correctly, they get to complete a number of puzzles and games.

This process allows children to not only familiarize themselves with new words, but to read and articulate them. Nuance’s technology enables the app to hear, correct and track the word read by the child, automating the learning process.

Speaktacular also makes reading development a collaborative effort between children, parents and teachers.  After a child has read through a series of words, parents and teachers can use the app to see which words were read correctly, and better understand which words a child needs to spend additional time on.

For more on Speaktacular Sight Words and its range of capabilities, go to http://www.spritekids.com.

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Nikita Kapoor

About Nikita Kapoor

Nikita Kapoor, founder of Sprite Kids, is dedicated to developing applications for children. Nikita earned a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a specialization in 3D Virtual Reality and Computer Graphics. Nikita loves combining technology and art to create beautiful experiences.