Apps We Love! Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics

I’ve been on the hunt for a decent Phonics App for quite some time and if I’m honest the ones I’ve found have been crap.  Being Canadian I can overlook American accents, but many of them use the wrong font, wrong pronunciation, wrong level and don’t reflect how kids are being taught Phonics in school.

Phonics AppThanks to the lovely Geek Mummy, I finally found a good one, Ladybird:  I’m Ready for Phonics.  It’s not cheap at £4.99 but I personally feel it’s worth it.  There are 12 Spaced Themed levels that the children can progress through and it is in line with the Letters and Sounds documents that schools in the UK follow.  I love the fact that they can record themselves pronouncing the letters.

It also contains and easy to understand Parent’s Guide to Phonics.  Even as an ex-teacher, I trained pre-phonics and it’s all new to me.  So I’m glad I have some guidance so I don’t contradict what the school is doing.

My 5-year old loves it and have to drag her off it!

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Apps we love! Doodlecast

I absolutely love this app, bar the music at the beginning.  At first, Doodlecast (£1.99)  just looks like another drawing app which we have many, but if I’m honest we prefer paper and crayons for that.  What I really love about this one is that the children can record their own narrations whilst drawing the pictures.  It comes with a selection of templates for inspiration (shopping trolley, park, dinner late, faces etc) or you can start from a blank canvas.

In addition, if you set it up, it will automatically upload the final product to YouTube which makes it incredibly easy to share with friends and family!

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iPad App Review: Eurotalk Maths Age 3-5

I have to say I tutted when I was first asked to review this app as the first Topic is free and then you have to pay for the others.  However, my daughter is loving it and keeps going back to it again and again.  She only has the Sorting and Matching Topic. I think the most motivating thing for her is the certificate we can email to ourselves when she completes each section.  I’m tempted to purchase the other modules but do think they are a bit pricey.  All ten topics are £9.99.

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Scribble Press: Kids Ipad App

I’m absolutely loving this iPad App ‘Scribble Press’ and the best thing of all it’s FREE! Scribble Pad allows children to write, illustrate and share their own stories. They can use a story template as a starting point (e.g. If I were a Fairy, All about my Dad, If I ruled the World or The Craziest Day) or they can make their own from scratch.

There is a huge bank of drawing tools; everything from markers, to stamps and to stickers. All of which are very easy to use. My daughter is only 4. The Ipad’s camera is also integrated so your child can transport themselves into the story.

It’s entirely up to you whether you want to share their work, but there’s also a public gallery, which is great for checking out other children’s stories and giving your child inspiration for their own masterpiece. My favourite is ‘The Loin King’ and that isn’t a typo.

I also read somewhere that it may be possible to get your children’s work printed but I haven’t investigated closely.

The possibilities are endless.

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Kid’s Ipad App Review: Word Wall HD

When I was at school we learned the alphabet by singing the alphabet song but this  a major ‘no-no’ now, as it is all done by phonics. Even though I’m a former teacher the whole phonemes, word families and CVC words is all a bit of a mystery to me, as I taught slightly older children and they tended to be able to read when they got to me. However, now that I have a four year old I really need to get my head around all of this.

About the App
I was sent Word Wall HD (.69p) by Punflay which was designed to develop early reading skills. To start there are two sections that introduce children to the letters and their sounds individually and then the children are introduced to word families (am, an, ig, un) and are asked to drag and drop any letter to create a word, which is then supported by the pronunciation and picture of the object.

After they have explored the writing sections there are then 4 activities to consolidate their learning; see and find, hide a word, bubble words and jigsaw. The matching game is pretty straight forward; children have to match the picture to the word.

My four year old really likes the Seek and Find where you have to swipe your finger over the screen until you find the hidden object. Once they find the object it reads the word to them supported with a picture to reinforce the meaning.

The Bubble Words, where you have to look at the picture and drag and drop the letters to spell the word that matches the picture, was too advanced my daughter as she is at the really early stages of reading.

The Jigsaw does pretty much what it says on the tin.

What we thought

Overall, I thought the app was okay and helped me, to some degree, better understand word families. My only worry is the American accents, as we’re based in the UK and the way they teach phonics is ‘unique’. I’m Canadian so I have no problem with this but I know parents who have removed some Ipad apps as they felt it was confusing for their children. However, many others have stated that they grew up on Sesame Street here in the UK and it’s not a problem.

Come to think of it there are huge differences between accents in the North and South in the UK. Would this put you off buying an app for your kids?

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Disclosure: I received a free promo code for this app.