I first heard about phonics through my son attending preschool. It get me wondering whether I really have to learn this. I come from Singapore and we did not use phonics during my school time. That was at least 20 over years ago. At that time, I had absolutely no clue what phonics was.
When my son came back from preschool, he would tell me about the phonics he learnt. In my mind, I kept asking myself, “where should I start and where can I get the best education materials for my children in order to get them ready?”. Before Mr K started his reception, I was on the lookout and bought him lot of assessment books and flash cards. As I begun to understand what phonics was, I realised I had no idea how to pronounce the letters, let alone teach Mr K.
I was so excited when Ladybird phonics app launched on 30 August, just in time for all those starting school this September. This app is only available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad at £4.99 on iTunes. I was lucky to get this app for review to prepare myself and both of my children who will be part of the UK curriculum for children learning to read.
The Ladybird I’m Ready for Phonics app will support your child’s phonics learning and is a useful tool to use both at home and at school.
With the help of Captain Comet, the app teaches all of the initial letter sounds, phonemes (sounds), graphemes (letters) and tricky words in the order children learn them at school, closely following the learning progression outlined in the Letters and Sounds document.
Letters and Sounds is the guidance used by most teachers in the UK in order that children learn the phonics skills they need to read fluently, spell accurately and write creatively.
This is our review:
There are 12 levels in all. Each level there are a few mini lessons to complete before you move up to the next level. As I was very excited to see what materials the rest of the levels will cover, I manually unlocked all of the levels. Plus there’s a glossary and Parent’s Guide To Phonics included. It was very simple to unlock. On the main screen, I click the Change or Edit player and tap on the lock button. Key in the profile password ‘Ladybird’ plus the username (without spaces).
To be honest, the introduction music on the main page is definitely not my type of music. It’s like a throwback to 80’s computer game. Also the volume is quite soft that I had to increase the volume.
Each level is carefully organised into a different level of standard. It gets harder the higher you go. In my opinion, I would not unlock the levels as you can hinder the progress of your child before they move up a level. Level one involves dragging objects (icons with words underneath) into a row of other objects starting with the current letter. Each time your child gets it right, they get a star, up to three per letter. Once they complete three stars for all 26 letters, they will unlock the next level. Mr K is so keen to unlock the first planet that he spent less than 25 minutes to complete the task.
In level two, there are four mini lessons and I had chosen to try out the funky phonemes. You tap on a series of letters to hear their sounds, watch short video clips of them being said, then record the sounds yourself by speaking into the microphone. I found that the video clip is very useful as you can see the mouth moving. It helps to mimic the sounds. For brilliant blending, you select the correct picture to the words on the display. As for super segmenting, you tap on the picture and drag the letter to form the word associated with the picture. The final lesson is tricky words where you tap on a series of letters to hear their sounds, then record the sounds yourself by speaking into the microphone. In other levels, there is phonics challenge where you answer the true or false answer. This is targeted towards for more advanced learners who able to recognise sentences.
I think Ladybird: I’m Ready for Phonics is great for all ages and all levels. The star system is a marvellous way to keep children’s sense of achievement and progress up. You can have 3 users registered within the app which works well for us. My 3.5 year old daughter was also learning and practising phonics from watching Mr K doing his lesson. What a great app to engage all children into learning and playing nicely together.
I give this app five stars out of five.
Disclosure: We received an online code to redeem the app on iTunes to do this honest review.