Monday, May 6, 2013

TOS Crew Review- Phonics and Reading with McGuffey App

 photo literacysoftlogo_zpse50d3f3c.jpg MINE MINE MINE!  Yes, that is sometimes what I want to yell at the top of my lungs about my iPad. There, it is out.  I bought it for me, and I want to use it for me.  I also once said I would not let my kids play games on it.

Well, that was before I knew about educational apps.  It was certainly before I knew about the Phonics and Reading with McGuffey app by LiteracySoft.  Yes, THAT McGuffey Readers, the ones that have been successfully teaching children to read for years.  Well now they offer this wonderful app for your iPad and iPhone.  Let's just cut to the chase...
 You. Need. This!

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In 52 lessons your child will learn letters, sounds, spelling and reading up to a first grade level.  And can do so all on their own.  Really.  It is that simple to use.

How we used this-
Daily!  And then some.  CJ loves my iPad, so getting him on there is not usually an issue.  Getting him to stick with one app sometimes is.  Not with this one.  He asks for it every morning like clockwork, so using it five days a week was a no brainer.  He was able to pull it up by himself and go through the lessons by himself.  Can I hear a yay from all the moms?  The only problem we had was limiting it to just one lesson a day.  Can't say that we were very successful with that; he often did several.

Each lesson of McGuffey consists of several parts.  The first part introduces a few new letters and the sounds they make with cute little animations.

Then you will be shown words and taught how to sound them out when you tap on them.

Next comes a lesson quiz to make sure your child knows each of those letter sounds and any from previous lessons.  The sounds are said and you touch the corresponding letters that make that sound.  The light bulbs at the top light up to show you got it correct.

Then the fun really begins.  The following activity allows the child to use any of the letters sounds learned so far and put together their own words.  It took CJ a few times to get the hang of it, but once he did this was one of his favorite parts.  He loved making up words at first, but then began to say a word and then try to spell it.  The only thing that held him back sometimes was that the letters he needed for the word he wanted to spell were not always available.

The following activity is a reading one. A sentence is shown and you read it. By touching each word you can see if you are reading the sentences correctly or not. There are several sentences your child will read in each lesson.
Another quick quiz follows to ensure your child has the lesson sounds down pat.
Next you will find two activities that are as game-like as it gets.  One involves rearranging letters on a truck to spell a word dictated to you and then the truck drives away, and the other involves tapping a word said while in a race to beat your past time on the clock.  The faster you tap the words, the faster the train goes.  If you get a word incorrect, the train will come to a stop.

One of the strengths of this program- at any time, your child can repeat an activity or entire lesson if they are not ready to move on to new sounds.  There are also phonics rules explained when new, more complicated sounds  are introduced that can be turned off once you have heard them and feel comfortable doing so. 
If you want to try it out there is a free lite version to get you started or you can try the first 10 lessons for free at any time.  Give it a try and see what you think!
Also offered on the website is a free reader in color to print out.  CJ loves to read this on his own.
The bottom line-  We have invested in several reading apps and this one is by far my favorite!  It is user friendly, clear to understand and very thorough.  If you have a child learning to read or struggling and needing some extra work, this is one you will not want to pass up.  It is worth every penny!
Cost-  $19.99
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  1. As a kid reading came easy to me. I don't really remember not being able to read, and it always seemed odd to hear other kids struggling to sound out words. Reading has been a lifelong love. My older brother, on the other hand, was the opposite. He never did well in school, no doubt in part due to hating to read. This was because it didn't come naturally to him, and nobody ever took the time and effort to teach him phonics.

    How do I make that statement? Perhaps he was just not bright enough to be a good reader, no matter how hard he might try to learn. I can make the assertion that the problem stemmed not from his intellect, but from his schooling, because as an adult he was tired of struggling to read, so he bought "Hooked on Phonics". Yes, it is primarily intended for a much younger audience, but it worked just as well for him. He said it was like a light came on.

    My point in all of this is that I would highly recommend anything that helps youngsters learn to read phonetically, and if it is fun and only costs 20 bucks, it doesn't get any better. (I know, some people will think "$20 for an app, that's crazy!" I would counter "$20 to learn to read, that's awesome!")

    In fact, this app sounds like it would be very useful for folks who struggle to read at any age, assuming you can get past the design which is obviously intended for a younger audience. It's never too late to become a proficient reader, and phonics is really the key to that happening. If it doesn't come naturally, a program like this is worth it's weight in gold.

    1. Honestly, I would have been one of those people who would have said $20.00 for an app, Brad, until I used it. Now I will say that if you only buy one a year, this would be the one to get. I like it that much! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. We really enjoyed this app as well!! I loved how it taught phonics. My kids did great with it! This is a worthwhile app!

  3. Purchased! Thanks for the review! :)


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