Smart4Kids English is an instructional app with a wealth of activities focusing on essential reading skills. From phonemic awareness to comprehension and fluency, this app has a multitude of games and stories focused on helping your child learn to read.
Smart4Kids English by Smart4Kids opens to a menu to input player names. This allows parents to check how students are doing on each activity. Once registered, users choose which Unit they are going to play. With 36 different units, there are many options to choose from. Only a handful are free, with the rest being available as in-app purchases. Each unit focuses on a different skill, so parents and teachers can customize which lessons their child needs to work on. Units focus on various consonant sounds, vowel sounds, letter blends, vowel combinations, and digraphs. Each unit has a lesson, three mini-games, and a short story.
The app features 18 different styles of game to reinforce reading skills. Activities focus on word reading, word comprehension, English language arts skills (like rhyming), and vocabulary building. Additionally, each unit has sight word activities to help students become more fluent readers.
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I really like the huge variety of skills covered by this app. Most of the skills are strictly phonics based, which is such an important skill for early readers. With the ability to customize the experience by choosing the unit that players should focus on, this app gives extra practice where practice is needed. I also really like that while some of the units focus on single sounds, there are many units that focus on vowel sounds and combinations, letter blends, and sound combinations that don't necessarily follow any conventional phonics rules. The fact that each unit has several different activities is also really nice. It gives students a variety of ways to practice a skill without becoming bored. Additionally the app has six stories that are simple read-alouds, focused on heroes from around the world. This gives even more reading practice.
The only issue I had with the app was that I was unable to return to the menu once I began a unit, game, or book. No matter what I did, I had to complete the activity before accessing the menu pages again. I'd love to see a menu button within the activities for access to the main menu pages.
Overall, this app has a lot to offer. Parents can access the list of units and skills on the app's iTunes page, allowing them to purchase the units most appropriate for their child. Customizable for up to five users, this app will give families a way to have multiple children practice essential reading skills in a setting where boredom won't be an issue.
Free to try - Additional content available via in-app-purchase -
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, a special education teacher, and a technology coach. She is a self proclaimed nerd with a passion for incorporating technology into education and you read her findings at The iLesson Lady.
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