There are all sorts of apps that help children to work with phonics and beginning reading skills. But Phonics: Fun on Farm - Reading, Spelling and Tracing Educational Program for iOS (iPad/iPhone/iPod) devices puts many of them to shame. This app easily earns a TOP PICK from both the teacher and the mom in me. With twelve different activities, in six different groups, this app has something for every child just beginning to read.
Phonics: Fun on Farm by 22learn, LLC is an awesome app for any parent or teacher with an early reader on their hands.
Begin by setting up avatars for up to nine players. Students tap their avatar to begin. Next, select the letters you want to play with. These are split into groups based on word formation and frequency in words. Groups consist of: [s/a/t/p/m], [i/n/d/g/o], [u/c/k/ck/e], [f/r/h/b/l], [j/v/w/y/z], and [x/qu/ch/sh]. Each group is scaffolded on sounds and blends from the earlier groups.
After selecting a group of letters, children can then choose one of twelve different activities to practice. These skills are also scaffolded, with the easy skills at the beginning and more challenging tasks at the end. However, the game is not linear. Players can select any activity from the menu. Activities include:
- Matching Sounds – Drag sheep to the barn with the letter that matches their sound
- Initial Sounds – Drag pictures that begin with given sounds
- Flash Cards – Tap on flashcards to see images of words beginning with that sound
- Letter Sounds – Pop balloons with given sounds on them to build a train
- Tracing Letters – Green and red dots guide students as they trace letters
- Matching Letters – A memory style matching game
- Blending Sounds – Given the segmented sounds of word, blend the sounds to find the word
- Spelling – Spell given words
- Reading – Slide finger under a word as you read and record your voice reading the word
- Sight Words – Feed the frog by finding the flies with the correct word
- Fluent Reading – Tap on the clouds with a given word to water the plants
- Word Bingo – Tap on given words to make bingo
In addition to all of the student activities, teachers and parents can also monitor each player’s progress. Click on the trophy button to see the percentage of mastery or learning levels for each sound and skill covered in each letter level. In the settings menu, adults can turn off and on hints for each activity and for each player. This makes the app easy to differentiate in a classroom.
What Fun Educational Apps Liked (Loved)
This app is just awesome. The graphics are engaging for young readers and perfect for the preschool and kindergarten crowd. I love that the letters are split into groups based on word formation, instead of alphabetically. It’s obvious these developers researched best practices in reading instruction as they created this app.
The scaffolded activities are perfect for children at any level: from just beginning to learn letters sounds to reading sight words fluently. The differentiation options are a huge boon to teachers using a single iPad in a classroom. I loved that in all areas, a speaker button is located next to directions or words so that students can easily replay the directions, the sounds, or even get help if they can’t read a word. This makes the app an independent activity for children. I also really liked the blending sounds activity where children could record themselves reading the word. The only thing I would like to see is a parent gate on the settings menu so that my little one can’t turn the hints back on!
Overall, Phonics: Fun on Farm is an outstanding app and a TOP PICK as an educational reading app. Parents and teachers alike will find this hugely useful for children in the 3-7 age ranges. With so many different activities, and broken down into specific letter groups, this app quickly went to the top of my list of early reading apps. In fact, I’ve already written a group of teachers about it, before I even finished this review.
Phonics: Fun on Farm - Reading, Spelling and Tracing Educational Program is available for download via the iTunes app Store for iPad/iPhone/iPod - Coming soon on Google play and Amazon for Android Devices.
Launch Price - $1.99/£1.49/€1.79
At the time of this review, the app had no in-app purchases, ads, or external links.
This app was reviewed by Sarah Emerling, a mom, teacher, and technology coach. She is a self-proclaimed tech nerd and is passionate about technology in education. You can follow her ed. tech. blog at The iLesson Lady.
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Disclosure: This review was move up the waiting list priority-services. All opinions expressed are purely that of the author.