With Mia being our first child, the run up to her starting school has been a tricky one. First there was the school application process which I had heard was a bit of a nightmare but we never really realised just how much of a minefield it actually is! Then there was the fact we recently found out Mia needed glasses which we weren’t really expecting and now, like thousands of other families, we are eagerly awaiting the announcement of which school we have been accepted to! As well as all of this, we have been thinking about how we can prepare Mia for learning at school and the things we made to give her a little nudge with. We are very lucky that she seems to pick up things very quickly and has a knack of teaching herself everyday things like the alphabet and counting however we would like her to understand more about phonics and would love her to be able to tell us all of the sounds her letters make, knowing that when she gets to school she will continue with her love of books and soon be able to read basic words herself! We were recently approached by Read With Fonics to see if we would like to access a Read With Fonics App in order for her to learn the 44 phonics sounds within 116 different phonics games. As Mia loves her iPad and as we are always trying to give her more educational games, we were more than happy to give this one a go!
The Read With Fonics App is a brand new, interactive game app that brings fun and education together. The people behind the app are very aware of just how important teaching phonics sounds in a fun way is and have created an app that is split over four worlds for children to explore and work through; water world, forest world, lava land, and jelly city. The main character is a really funny alien called Albee and he is always there through the game, supporting your child every step of the way, encouraging and celebrating every correct answer.
Through a series of 7 or 8 games that get progressively harder each time, your child starts at a 0 score, gaining points for each correct answer which adds up to more successes by unlocking another sound each time one is correctly completed. This means the focus is more on the child learning at their rate and their ability as opposed to being able to just jump ahead on the levels. Once sounds games are completed correctly, the next sound unlocks and your child can access the next level of games.
The games cover a range of different things including; matching sounds, dragging the correct sound onto the word, finding the correct word to match the picture on the screen, and the difference between real/made up words. All of the sounds are sounded out phonetically so your child can hear them within each word and understand which sound they are looking for and why it is correct. The repetition of the sound in every game is great as your child can see and hear the difference between letters and their sounds and this reinforces their learning. The alien indicates a correctly selected answer by making sounds which Mia really found funny! There is also an indicator at the top of the screen showing your child what game number they are on.
Mia really enjoyed working through the games for each sound within the Read With Fonics App and loved watching the bar fill up as she got the answers correct. The instructions are really clear and she knew exactly what she was being asked to do within each level and game. She struggled to spot the real words among the made up words and I feel she is slightly too young for that particular game. Your child loses a life when an answer is incorrect and they have to start the game again if they lose all 3 so Mia got quite frustrated when she couldn’t seem to progress any further. She definitely needed adult input and did understand better when I could give her clues. I really liked the fact that the App really slows her down in that she has to answer correctly to get to the next level, as she has a tendency to rush through other games and not really grasp them! As it stands, it’s a bit tricky for Mia’s age however it’s given her a great further understanding of phonics and I’m sure once she reaches school in September, she will begin to use the App even more! It’s great that you cannot move on until you have completed tasks and games however this did lead Mia to get slightly frustrated when she couldn’t get ‘passed’ certain parts of the game. I would definitely recommend the Read With Fonics App for children aged 5+ and it’s currently available on the App Store and Google Play for £7.99 which is more than good value!
Disclaimer: we were given full access to the app in order to write this however all opinions and views are honest and our own