Categories Learning Center is a multi-level, multi-player application designed by Speech-Language Pathologists to improve language comprehension for individuals of all age groups. Categories Learning Center is based on research surrounding language development and language processing in children; however, categorization skills may prove useful for individuals of all ages with word finding, memory, and reading comprehension difficulties.
The ability to identify and categorize an object by associating common features is critical for building the semantic networks needed for reading comprehension (Partyka & Kresheck, 1983). Poor categorization skills can influence word finding, comprehension, and language processing. Children with language disorders often have difficulty explaining a relationship between items, forming word associations, and building the semantic networks needed for speaking and writing (Semel, Wiig, & Secord, 2003).
As an individual’s language grows, he or she typically uses categorization skills to aid memory storage and retrieval. If categorization skills are faulty, the individual may demonstrate poor expressive language, limited vocabulary, poor word retrieval, and memory difficulties (Richard & Hanner, 2005; Partyka & Kresheck, 1983).
Categories Learning Center can be used to:
•Help individuals sort items that belong to a certain category
•Increase receptive and expressive vocabulary through picture stimuli
•Measure treatment effectiveness and progress monitoring through reported data
•Help individuals name items belonging to various categories
•Increase reading comprehension through semantic knowledge gains
Categories Learning Center has the following features:
•Multi-player options – up to 4 players
•Multi-level Receptive (non-verbal) activity:
oLevel 1 - sorting dissimilar objects
oLevel 2 - sorting similar objects
oWhere does it go - placing an object in the correct category (of 3)
•Multi-level Expressive Activity
oCategory Naming - providing the correct category name for a group of objects without prompts
oCategory Selection - identifying which category name (of 4) a group of objects belongs
oInformally provide opportunities for naming additional items within a category
•Ability to customize receptive activities between 2 or 3 category choices
•Progress Monitoring for treatment effectiveness – a report is presented at the end of each session which may be emailed, printed, or stored for later use
We have updated the app to the latest iOS and improved the settings options
Ratings and Reviews
I love the different levels in this program. Great to be able to have students sort dissimilar items and also do the higher level task of similar items. This app is very customizable. Today I had a student work on all levels at once since he needs to work on responding to varied task demands. I also think the varying tasks held his attention and interest. For another student the consistency of a single task could be helpful. Similarly, the data is customizable. For the category naming task, it was good to have the option of correct, almost and incorrect. My student sometimes selected broader, but accurate categories (e.g. Food rather than breakfast food) and the almost category captured that!
Focused on Categories, but great for ALL Language!
This is a great tool to work on categories with my students who are older, with special needs. These students love the motivation and the sorting into various categories. This is a great tool working on expressive and receptive language as well. The user has the opportunity to sort items into their specific categories, but if you want to work on identifying vocabulary/labeling items, this app works on that, too! The data tracking component is an obvious plus for those of us who spend our lives focused on progress! :) Great tool, Smarty Ears!
Good but could be great
I was excited to see this app and the different ways one could work on categories with a group of up to 4 students. It tracks some data but it is not specific to the student. It is data for the group. The report card page lists the categories worked on but not where there were errors. I do like this app and will continue to use it, but unless I'm missing something, the data collection portion of it could be improved.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.