Phonics and Reading Lite: iPhone Video App Review
Some of the most amazing applications we see here at The iPhone App Review are educational apps. And we’re especially fond of educational apps designed to help children learn foundation skills in a whole new way. This week we had the pleasure of reviewing a high quality educational app from Software For a Better World called Phonics and Reading Lite. This app is designed to introduce children to phonics and sight words in a structured setting that can go anywhere.
Phonics and Reading Lite is basically a digital version of the popular McGuffey Primer. The McGuffey educational series began as books in the 1830s, although it has clearly evolved over time. The latest incarnation organizes lessons into interactive scenes that feature audio reinforcement, fun animations and plenty of written examples of letters and words. The free lite version of this application comes with ten free lessons, and that’s a lot of information. Buying the full version of the app for $2.99 unlocks 40 additional lessons and much more content.
Frankly, the content and educational approaches in this app are amazing. This is very useful information, and it’s structured a lot like a traditional class on phonics would be, making it a great resource for homeschoolers. We also love the testing features that pop up in each lesson and the app’s word builder lesson pages.
However, the app isn’t really fun. Sure, there are some images and animations, but they aren’t what we’ve come to expect from kids apps these days. Where’s the sparkle? Where’s the polish? Some of the phonetic instructional sections have several long-winded explanations, although the app has an option to turn them off which is much appreciated.
We’re a bit torn about the Phonics and Reading Lite iPhone app. It’s full of great information, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
Layout & Design:
One of the areas where a little improvement could go a long way? The app’s design. If you listen closely to the app’s narrator you may find it easier to navigate the application, otherwise kids could end up a bit lost. A set of red and blue arrows navigate users through the series of lessons and the pages in each lesson. These arrows aren’t labeled, and it’s a bit unclear what to do exactly. A quick user tutorial might be helpful. Although, it just seems like it would be easier to label them “next page” and “next lesson.”
Phonics and Reading Lite is a truly universal application. It looks lovely on the iPad’s larger screen, as you can tell from our video review. We have no complaints about the app’s functionality. We just wish it featured more of the beautiful graphics we know this platform is designed to handle.
It’s hard to argue with free. Phonics and Reading Lite is an exceptional value and is full of vital educational information. If you homeschool, this app is going to be a big help. It’s also great for any child interested in improving her reading level and language skills. After all, it’s free. Download Phonics and Reading Lite and see if it makes a difference with your little learner.
Phonics and Reading Lite iPhone app requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.
The iPhone App Review’s rating: