Teach Children to Read with the abc PocketPhonics App for iPad

The abc PocketPhonics app for iPad is based on a teaching method called synthetic phonics, which teaches children to associate letters with sounds and then learn how to combine those sounds (and therefore letters) into words. Parents looking for an app that will engage their young children and teach them something at the same time will like this app.

PocketPhonics offers two learning games for kids. One is called Letter Sounds and Writing, and the other is simply Word Game. Starting with Letter Sounds and Writing, the app displays six letters (s, a, t, p, i, and n). Tap one of those letters, and the game starts. After pronouncing the letter and asking you to say it (note that the app does not actually listen and grade the user's pronunciation), the app asks you to write the letters. If you can properly trace the letter, two pencil characters pop up, and you're rewarded with kids applauding and cheering. Complete all six, and you're taken to the next set of letters and sounds.

The second game is more complex in that it challenges children to match these newly learned sounds and letters with actual words. The narrator makes a sound and asks the child to pick the letter or letter combo that the sound represents. If you pick correctly, it is filled into one of the hangman-like slots on the screen for each syllable in the word. Once you fill in all of the syllables, the narrator puts the pieces together for you, pronouncing each sound individually, and then the completed word.

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Kids can repeat any of the games they want, or repeatedly go through them all as often as they need to.

Most words have an image that appears as the narrator pronounces the word, after an exercise is completed. This should further help the child associate the sounds, letters, and word with the concept it represents.

While there are 64 sounds in the Letters game, there are only eight games in the Word Game portion. Still, this is a good app if you want your children to learn the synthetic phonic method, which is singled out in the No Child Left Behind Act, for what that's worth. PocketPhonics will keep kids engaged, and they can go through the games with or without your help.

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