Eat Salad! - Episode 1 of Pen Nochio looks like a story app, and it is, but it’s also a practice app for phonemic awareness. It was designed to be fun and engaging for preschoolers ages 2-4. This brand new app joins a growing trend among app developers to create products that cross over from one category to another.
Eat Salad is designed for all IOS devices by Mofables. There are three options on the opening screen from which to choose.
- In the first option, there is a story that centers on a picky eater by the name of Pen Nocchio. Pen is reluctant to eat the nourishing food set before her at the restaurant. It takes cajoling, bribing, and a stern warning from Mom, but eventually Pen finishes her food. Eat Salad is an original story, drawing on the familiar theme of getting children to eat dinner without a fuss. There are mini-games and animations that the child can activate throughout the story.
- The second option is a short lesson that introduces phonemic awareness skills using familiar three letter words (consonant, short vowel, consonant). Researchers agree that this is the most effective way to teach beginning readers.
- The third option is a seven day quiz that reinforces the words taught in the previous section.
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In Eat Salad, children have both an animated story and a word practice set combined into one app. The Word Machine is a cute contraption that spits out the answer after pressing the button. It’s a clever device that encourages children to make a choice. Eat Salad addresses a common situation for parents of preschoolers.
Overall, I find it meets basic expectations for a story app, with average graphics and animations. If I had one suggestion, it would be to take out the “scary doctor” page. It doesn’t really have any context in the story, and his angry face and big needle may be too intense for a preschooler.
The phonemic awareness practice is quite limited, although the developers indicate they plan to expand this portion. From a developmental standpoint, children this young may not be ready for phonemic awareness practice. It doesn’t hurt them to try it, but if they can’t seem to remember the sounds, don’t force it.
Eat Salad! - Episode 1 of Pen Nochio is available for download via the iTunes App Store - Universal app
RRP - $1.99/#1.49/€1.79
See it in action:
At the time of this review, Eat Salad does not contain ads. It does, however, have links to the web and to social media. It also sends unsolicited notifications to your device.
Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.