Monday, April 15, 2013

App Review: Syntax Workout

I was given the opportunity to try out another app from the Virtual Speech Center.  This one is called "Syntax Workout" and features a fun bowling theme.  Syntax workout was developed by a certified speech-language pathologist to assist students of preschool and elementary age who have difficulty with English grammar.

The screen above is the main screen you will see upon opening the app.  As you can see, from this screen, you can see the reports that the app generates from your sessions:

You can also see information on the app (a description and links to Virtual Speech Center's website, Twitter, and Facebook:

From the main screen, you can also modify the settings you wish to use during your session:

Once you tap the "Start" button, you will add/select your student(s) and then choose your targets.  There are so many options to choose from in this app!

The syntactical and grammatical constructs targeted in this app include:

  1. Third person singular vs. plural
  2. Is vs. Are
  3. Was vs. Were
  4. Do vs. Does
  5. Has vs. Have
  6. Subjective pronouns he vs. she
  7. Subjective pronouns he/she vs. it
  8. Subjective pronouns he/she vs. we/they
  9. Subjective pronouns mixed
  10. Objective pronouns me vs. you
  11. Objective pronouns him vs. her
  12. Objective pronouns him/her vs. them
  13. Objective pronouns mixed
  14. Possessive pronouns my vs. your
  15. Possessive pronouns his vs. her
  16. Possessive pronouns his/her vs. its
  17. Possessive pronouns his/her vs. our/their
  18. Possessive pronouns mixed
  19. Absolute possessive pronouns mine vs. your
  20. Absolute possessive pronouns his vs. hers
  21. Absolute possessive pronouns his/hers vs. its
  22. Absolute possessive pronouns his/hers vs. ours/theirs
  23. Absolute possessive pronouns mixed
  24. Demonstrative pronouns This vs. That
  25. Demonstrative pronouns These vs. Those
  26. Demonstrative pronouns mixed

Phew! I told you there were lots of options with this app!  Once you are finished selecting your targets, the bowling coach will give provide an introduction on using the app.

Here's an example of an "Is vs. Are" item:

If you have audio instructions on, the stimulus sentence and foils will be read.  The foils are highlighted as they are read and the student cannot make a selection until both have been read.  This task allows you to work on receptive understanding of the grammatical construct you are targeting.  On the left side of the screen there are record and play-back functions so that you can use the app to target expressive use of the grammatical constructs as well.

Here are some more examples of Syntax Workout targets:

Subjective pronouns he vs. she

Objective pronouns - mixed

Possessive pronouns mixed

3rd person singular vs. plural

Do vs. Does
After a predetermined number of correct responses (which you can change in the settings), the student is given a reinforcement activity - bowling!  They get six balls (or three frames) and have to swipe the ball to knock down the pins.

That's Syntax Workout in a nutshell!  Here are my thoughts...


  • Who doesn't have a child on their caseload working on syntax and grammar?  This app provides a fun way to target many different grammatical constructs.
  • The bowling theme is lots of fun!  Every child who has tried the app has requested using it again during the next therapy session.  They love the reinforcement activity!
  • The app uses real life photographs, which is always a plus in my book!
  • I love that you can't select an answer until both have been read (with the audio option on).  This is great for students with impulse control issues!
  • The option to target receptive/expressive syntax in one app is a huge plus as well!
Changes I'd like to see
  • I typically use my iPad as shown in the image below.  When it was in this position, the kids had a hard time getting the bowling ball to move.  It was easier for them when the iPad was lying flat on the table. 

(Amazon link)

And the bottom line...

Syntax Workout is a versatile app for targeting receptive/expressive syntax and grammar.  There are so many specific grammatical constructs included in this app as well and it's super motivating for students.  Syntax Workout is $16.99 in the App Store.

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