Talking Carl does literacy without kids realising it... by Guest Reviewer Jonathan Nalder
You’re 4 years old, you love bright red shiny things, and you have a parent with an iPhone. You might also be just starting to develop your oral literacy (don’t worry, you’ll understand what this is when you’re older). So is there an app for you? As of this week, and Awyse’ release of ‘Talking Carl’ ($0.99), there is.
When you first open Talking Carl, you see floating cartoon clouds, and a lovable, shiny red creature who likes to be interacted with in ways that all kids understand – tickles and pokes. But unlike your standard animated character, he also likes to be spoken to, and saves his best trick for when you do. When Carl hears your voice (microphone required for use with iPod touch) he immediatly opens up his big red mouth and repeats back what you have said in his own cartoon voice.
And thats it. Some reviews on the App Store so far point out that kids only use it for short bursts, and my own testing with a nearly 3 year old confirm this. But from a teacher’s perspective, it is exactly this kind of short-burst, repeated activity that reinforces a child’s sense of how sounds, words, and later sentences sound.
The voice of Carl could do with a bit of variation (again thats probably just an adult talking), but overall, as a cheap but fun aid to the development of oral literacy, its well worth the investment, wether for long car trips, or for classroom group activities. Perhaps a female character could be added? Apart from that, its simple and it seems to work. 4 Stars.
Classroom use? A. simply allow students to access Carl in their device 'playtime' - its fun enough that they will seek it out and even in short bursts, its all adding to their development of oral literacy - sound and speech development. B. Have students practice specific sounds or words by saying them to Carl. These can be recorded using Voice Memo (which being an Apple app can run in the background while you use Talking Carl) so that students can have further reinforcement by hearing the whole session played back.