Lately, the blogosphere has been paying a lot of attention to summer learning loss. It seems that when school lets out, kids hit the summer slide. Some even experience a loss of two to three months in reading skill over the summer months (See Get Ready to Read).

Since summer’s half way over, you might want to consider giving your pre-schooler or grade-schooler a fun little nudge back into scholarship with Imagine Speech. Although designed for children with communication disorders and challenges (autism, down syndrome, developmental delays, etc.), these educational games will teach and entertain children of ALL learning backgrounds and needs.
Participants are led through a series of language exercises by Imagine, the title character based on founder Anne Coady’s six-year-old Portuguese Water Dog (Talk about trendsetter – – Anne forecasted the water dog phenomenon WAY before the Obama’s made it popular!). I’ve never personally met Anne’s dog, but I hear he has a lot of character…
The game that I previewed on the Imagine Speech website centered around teaching the participant about Who, What, When and Where. I especially liked the positive reinforcement the learner received, as well as the visual and auditory teaching strategies the game employed. The Bug is still too young for these activities, but I tutored several children in graduate school while I pursued my MSEd who would have benefited tremendously from these games!
What do I love most about Imagine Speech? The story behind it’s creative process. Some amazing local young people lent their voices to the game’s characters Brainy Ben, Cool Katie and Noble Nick. Their collective background includes an autism spectrum diagnosis, learning challenges and gifted/talented classes. And Anne, the founder and ‘brains’ behind the games’ instructional design, is a local speech pathologist and mom to an adorable toddler.
Anne developed Imagine Speech as a way of integrating gaming into the classroom learning experience, rather than having teachers use computer time as merely a reward. The push to systematically integrate educational games into the classroom is gaining momentum. Just check out the Game Culturalist Blog or the Digital Media and Learning Competition’s Manifesto on Reimagining Learning. Once again, she was ahead of the curve!
You can find Anne and the Imagine Speech Games at several local events. She was most recently at the Kids Creativity Workshop at Greenspring Station. We’ll keep you posted on her next local appearances, too!
Games are available for download from the Imagine Speech website (for both PC and MAC), or you can have a CD Rom shipped FREE.
(cool) tip: Become a friend of Imagine Speech on Facebook and get periodic language learning tips sent your wall!