Having a four year old son, my life is a constant battle between finding the right balance between educational and fun activities. I don’t want him to watch mindless “unboxing” videos on YouTube all day, and it’s hard to spend long periods of time running around outside with an infant in tow as well. When you find an educational app, you never know if it will hold your little one’s attention.
As a former educator, I know the process of learning to read and am a bit picky about the resources I utilize to help my son along this journey. I was thrilled when I found the “Read with Fonics” app. It focuses on learning the sounds that build words, and using that knowledge to build or sound out new words. Many of us learned to read using the “whole language” approach and memorized sight words, myself included. Learning the sounds that make up words is a better way to be able to decode new words on your own. And “Read with Fonics” allows kids to play while learning these sounds! Here’s a parent’s guide to phonics, in case you’re unsure of what phonics are, or you’d like a bit more info.
Albie the alien introduces the game, and continues to appear in each level:
Read with Fonics has 4 levels where children learn the 44 sounds that make up the English language. I know there’s only 26 letters, but there are hard and soft sounds, long and short vowels, and digraphs and trigraphs! It uses pictures and games to build them from learning the sounds to reading words. When kids are having fun, they want to keep playing and my son is no exception! He is asking to play this game every day! You have to complete each level before the next unlocks, ensuring their skills are building on one another.
I think I speak for all parents when I say that education is a huge priority in our house. It’s widely accepted that educational success leads to career success. Ask any elementary school teacher – reading is the key skill they’re focusing on with their students learning. Of course, other subjects are important as well, but you can’t read math word problems or history textbooks without a strong foundation in reading. Building a love of reading will set children up for future success. And of course, if they’re having fun, they’re more likely to want to come back and play again!
Children, like adults, learn in different ways. This app hits those with auditory, visual, and tactile styles, as well as fine motor skills. I love that they congratulate little learners when the pass a level as well. Then, they can watch the animated lock on the next level unlock and disappear.
I have seen a HUGE improvement in such a short time in my son’s interest in reading and ability to recognize sounds. He’s asking me to read what words say and attempting to sound them out on his own. He’s making up his own words to rhyme and match patterns of words he’s seeing in books. He wants to play Read with Fonics on my iPad (it’s also available on Amazon and Google Play Store). He loves the little green monster! Best of all: he’s excited to learn to read! I am so glad to have this app as a resource for my son, he is flourishing and I know I can thank Sophie and Read with Fonics for a being big part of that. Learning to read is not an overnight process, but I know we’re off to a great start and will continue to reinforce the skills he’s learned thus far.
The designer, Sophie, is a primary school teacher in England. Read more about how and why she created Read with Fonics here. And watch this quick video about it here. You can, of course, utilize this app for personal use, but they also have it available to use as a school. Find more info on how to create a school account here.
We were able to try the Read with Fonics app at no charge to perform this review. All opinions shared are my own.