An important rule in implementing comprehensive literacy instruction is that children need to be presented with multiple opportunities to write for multiple purposes (click here to read a great post from Caroline on the 3 T’s of Writing). When I reflect on my own day, I can include communication through text message and social media as two of my main forms of written expression. I made a Facebook Status Writing Activity a few months ago, and wanted to explore text messaging apps for kids next. I downloaded Roo Kids and PlayKids Talk, but will only be sharing information about Roo Kids, due to the security features of PlayKids Talk preventing Amanda and I from trying it (PlayKids Talk uses a photo of the user’s parent to determine if they are old enough to use the app and apparently Amanda does not pass for over 21).
Roo Kids requires you to create a screen name and verify it using email. Once you log in, you will need to connect with another user to chat. You could have multiple users in the same classroom or have a fellow SLP or teacher set up another account. Once you add a “friend” you can begin texting.
The app allows for you to send pictures, text, emojis, and doodles.
There are also Parental Settings that can set times the app is available for use.
Another wonderful use for this app is texting using a SGD. Simply press the microphone image on the keyboard and use the SGD to write a text message. This could be a great motivating activity for older students who use AAC.
Let us know if you use Roo Kids in your lessons or therapy sessions!