Smarty Pants School is available for the iPad

in Education (E)

[prMac.com] Santa Monica, California - Smarty Pants School LLC today is proud to announce the release of Smarty Pants School 1.0, their flagship application for the iPad. "Smarty Pants School" is the first and only application for the iPad that enables parents and teachers to assess children's early reading skills based on the official recommendations of the National Reading Panel. And with a hip, Pop Art look and a bevy of challenging activities, Smarty Pants School makes it fun to get smarty.

Researchers and teachers widely agree that the years from preschool to 2nd grade are crucial for putting children on the path to reading success. And everyone agrees that parents are an essential partner in this process. But it is often not obvious how well a child's reading skills are progressing or which skills might be holding a child back. And few parents have the expertise to thoroughly evaluate their children's reading skills on a regular basis at home. Smarty Pants School was designed to help solve this 21st century challenge.

Based on the best available evidence in reading research, including the recommendations of the National Reading Panel convened by the U.S. Department of Education, Smarty Pants School enables parents and teachers to evaluate children's proficiency in five foundational skills known to be the building blocks of reading success:

1. Letter knowledge
2. Phonemic awareness
3. Phonics
4. Deciphering regular 'phonetic' words
5. And decoding irregular 'sight' words

The entire assessment takes less than 10 minutes and is full of positive encouragement and animated activities designed to reduce children's test anxiety and bring out the smarty pants in budding readers. No prior knowledge or expertise is necessary to administer the assessment, allowing parents to monitor their children's reading progress without teacher involvement.

And at the end of the assessment, the Smarty Pants Assessment Report shows the child's performance in each basic skill area relative to standard grade-level expectations and suggests the Smarty Pants "classes" that are right for that child as well as links to more traditional, non-computer-based activities that parents can do with their children at home.

Children may retake the Smarty Pants assessment at periodic intervals (test items change on each iteration) and each child's progress is tracked individually over time (unlimited number of children). In addition to the assessment, Smarty Pants School includes five distinct "smarty classes", each one targeting a different set of early reading skills:

1. "My ABC's" introduces children to the letters of the alphabet in a fun, easygoing fashion and helps establish basic print concepts.

2. "Alphabet Games" helps children learn to quickly recognize the letters of the alphabet in a variety of contexts and fonts, reinforcing the alphabet principle and strengthening both fluency and generalization.

3. "Letter Sounds" strengthens phonemic awareness (i.e., how well the child can hear, identify and compare the sounds that make up words) and then teaches basic phonic relationships (i.e., understanding the relationship between letters and sounds).

4. "First Words" helps children learn to read and spell their first words, starting with simple, three-letter "CVC" words and moving up to words employing diphthongs and blends such as "boy", "saw" and "crown."

5. And "Sight Words" helps children learn to recognize and spell common words with quasi-regular or irregular spellings on "sight", ranging from three-letter words such "our" and "use" to multi-syllable words such as "because" and "pretty."

In short, Smarty Pants School is a serious, evidence-based tool for assessing and strengthening children's early reading skills.

But, as Derek Penn, founder and director of Smarty Pants School, puts it, "scientific research has never shown that reading instruction must be boring or drab in order to be effective." Indeed, the members of the National Reading Panel themselves suggested that reading instruction "should be as relevant and exciting as possible so that the instruction engages children's interest and attention in a way that promotes optimal learning."

With a hip, Pop Art look and a bevy of challenging, sometimes silly games, Smarty Pants School makes it fun to get smarty. Children collect shiny star stickers as they are cheered along by a noisy and friendly gang of smarty pants kids. And once they complete all the levels in a Smarty Pants class, each child receives a personalized, star-studded diploma to great pomp and fanfare (parents can send the diploma to family and friends or print it out and hang up on the child's wall).

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 3.2 or later (iOS 4.0 Tested)
* 148 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Smarty Pants School 1.0 is free and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category.

Smarty Pants School was created by a team of parents whose much easier day jobs include being a cognitive scientist, software developer, photographer, graphic designer, producer, marketing maven and copywriter. Copyright (C) 2011 Smarty Pants School LLC. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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