Our thoughts on the app
Children usually show an interest between 4-6 for learning to read and write. Our 5 year old son is now at that point, he also loves the ipad and we found this application that combines both of his interests. The app is called ‘Alphabet Fun’. When you click on the app the starting page pops up which consists of beautiful artwork and four choices; Read, Your Score, Draw, and ‘I’ (which is the information button and when clicked it explains who the application is created by and other applications from the same creator)
So the first option is ‘Read’, after clicking it it’s best to turn the ipad so it’s horizontal. It shoes a capital A and then says ‘A like airplane’. It then shows different ways to write the letter ‘a’ in block lettering, cursive, ect. In the background is the sound of an airplane engine, and a picture of an airplane. To go to the next letter one simply swipes a finger across the screen.
The next option is Your Score, this is a smart move on the creator’s part because most children LOVE ‘winning’ or keeping score. Especially boys I’ve noticed! The child receives points when they ‘Draw’ and can try and beat that score at a later date.
‘Draw’ is the third option, and the one that our son most enjoyed. It begins with a very large ‘A’ in the middle of the screen and dots throughout the A so that the child can trace it with their finger. Now this in theory is good and fun, however it can become at times frustrating for both the adult and child as it does not always work as it’s supposed to. When the child traces correctly within the letter it turns green, if they go out of the tracing line it turns red. They can simply start again tracing and try to turn the red into green, however even when they trace correctly it at times does not show it’s correct. You can press the ‘delete’ button and start over, but this became very frustrating at times. When it worked correctly however it was really fun. There’s a small box at the top left of the screen that says ‘Best score letter’…and then the top score for this letter. The goal is to get a better score each time. Scoring is based on how close to the tracing lines one stays when writing the letter. No matter how low the score it tells the child *Great!* before going to the next letter which is encouraging, however when the child is tracing outside the line and it turns red there’s an abrupt beeping sound to show they are ‘wrong’. If the child must start tracing a portion of the letter over again there’s an arrow which shows which way to trace and where to begin which is helpful. To go to the next letter you simply press ‘Next’.
Our son thought this was very fun, and the first time he used this app he did all the letters twice. Sometimes he got frustrated when he traced correctly but the program showed it was wrong but it was not with every letter. The illustrations are really beautiful and full of color, and the sounds make it interesting as well. I thought that it was a good idea how under the ‘Read’ section it teaches the child not only uppercase and lowercase letters but different styles that letters can be written in such as cursive, etc. Definitely a good hands on tool for teaching children their letters and reading. I’d suggest this app for children between 4-7 years old.