Duo ABC is an ap from the makers of Duolingo that is specifically geared towards helping young children learn their ABC’s. The app asks the parent to select their child’s level of familiarity with the alphabet and then provides activities that are developmentally appropriate. The app “gamifies” these lessons and includes opportunities for children to write, speak, identify, and listen, all while building on previous knowledge. For younger children, there are also activities designed to enhance motor skills, making it easier for them to start drawing the letters out on the phone/tablet. Short stories combined with cute and colorful illustrations also reiterate the letters being learned and provide an opportunity for children to hear and see words simultaneously.
The Settings portion of the app allows parents to change their child’s experience level, add or omit certain activities, set practice reminders, receive detailed progress reports, and to turn on or off the heart system which requires the child to repeat the lesson after several wrong answers.
Duo ABC is a free-to-use app that is currently available on iOS.
Being able to remember the shape of a letter while writing it or identifying it among others is a great way for young children to practice their working memory skills. The activities in Duo ABC require children to remember the letter they are currently working with and use it in a variety of ways; they might need to pick it out of a lineup of other letters, drag the lowercase letter to its capital, or click on images of words that start with that particular letter. All of these activities require the child to activate their knowledge of the letter while performing another task simultaneously.
Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
Even young children can practice their focusing skills and Duo ABC gives them short, sustained opportunities to do so. Each activity only lasts a few seconds before moving on to the next, requiring the child to pay attention and focus on what they need to do, but in shorter bursts. For example, the child may be asked to choose the pictures of words that start with “m” before being taken to a small story where they will hear those words repeated several times. These activities also build on previously learned letters, requiring the child to focus on multiple letters in the same activity for the same short, sustained period of time.
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