App uses music to combat ‘summer slide’

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fresh off a big year in kindergarten, 6-year-old Nora Zoladz is anxious to keep learning.

“It’s a game, but it’s a learning game,” Nora said as she played the Mind Meets Music app.

Her mother Emily Zoladz said the app has become a favorite.

“She requests it by name. We have other silly games and this is the one she keeps going back to and it’s because she’s able to apply those skills she’s learning in kindergarten to something fun at home on mom’s phone,” Zoladz said.

Mind Meets Music founder Dr. Monique Salinas said the app, which was created in West Michigan, leverages the power of music.

“(Music) speaks to us in such a personal deep and human way,” Salinas said.

The people behind the app say it will help fight the “summer slide:” learning loss that happens when kids are away from the classroom.

When Mind Meets Music partnered with the U.S. Department of Education, it was looking for a unique way to reach kids. That’s how the app was born.

“Children are learning and don’t even realize they’re learning. It’s fun. It’s in a game format but yet it’s literacy, it’s learning, it’s educational. It’s something that will help them in school,” Salinas said.

The app is designed for young learners ages 4 to 9. The mascot character is an upside down eighth note cleverly disguised as Dello the Dinosaur. Dello guides kids through lessons on sight words and syllables.

“If a word has two of them (syllables) or one of them and that kind of tells us if the word is long or short,” Nora said, explaining what she learned.

“Even though it’s screen time, in moderation, we’re happy to let her play this one,” her mom said.

Salinas said the app is not only kid-friendly, but also family friendly. She encouraged parents and caregivers to use the app with their children.

“One of the top ways children can increase their academic achievement is, in fact, family engagement,” she said.

The Mind Meets Music app is a free download in the Apple app store and on Google Play.

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