Alphabet Car, by Baby Cortex, is available for the iPhone, and the iPod touch. It is designed to take children from the very early stages of letter identification and matching, up to spelling simple 4-6 letter words. The main screen follows a never-ending road on which the bus travels. The voice of the cartoon bus describes how to tip the device back and forth to gobble the letters and spell the words. Points are awarded that unlock the higher levels. Also, the speed of the bus can be adjusted to each child’s skill level.
Be aware that there is an unprotected parent portal that connects to the iTunes store, so it is important to set your parental controls before allowing any unsupervised playing time.
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Alphabet Car is cute. It is a simple, well-designed app that can be used to reinforce the concepts of letter identification and spelling. I also like the way it uses familiar words that all children know (ant, dog, baby, and fish, for example). Two suggestions I would make for improving this app would be: (1) improve the quality of some the letter sounds. I listened very carefully, and I think the letter ”g” sounds more like “d”; that could be because the audio file of “g” was clipped too short; and (2) be consistent in using either upper case letters (like the letters on the road) or lower case letters (like the letters on the picture cards). While this might not matter to a five year old, to a three year old, it could be confusing.
Your child’s kindergarten teacher will thank you for teaching your child the alphabet and the letter sounds. Alphabet Car doesn’t work on sounds, so you’ll need another app for that skill, but it does a nice job of providing lots of alphabet practice. Even if your child can’t spell the words from memory after using Alphabet Car, he or she will recognize that words are made up of letters that have to be in a certain order. That’s important, too.
At the time of this review, Alphabet Car contains no ads or in-app purchases, and it does not link to social media. It does contain a link to the iTunes store, however, through an unprotected parent portal.
Review by Julie Peterson, a speech/language pathologist (SLP) currently working in a school setting, serving children with special needs ages 6-14. She finds the iPad to be a phenomenal tool for teaching kids a wide range of subjects, including the alphabet.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.