The Learn to Read, Learn to Write app uses images of Schleich's toy animal figures. It has three different levels of play. The first is drawing letters that has kids tracing letters with their fingers. The second and third levels use two different ways of phonetic spelling to help kids learn words. The second level uses letter recognition and phonetic spelling. In the third level, kids are asked to spell words using characters.
This is an app that will be best used with adult participation and guidance, but that's not necessarily how parents always want to use apps. However, at only $1.99, this is a lot less expensive than many electronic learning toys—if you subtract the cost of the iPad in the first place, of course. We think there a lot better and more engaging options out there for kids.
Learn to Read, Learn to Write is for ages 4 and up.
While it uses the touchscreen well, the app only recognizes that the tracing finger (in level one) gets from one point to the next. Also, by age 4, kids should really be starting to use a pencil or a crayon to write, so while the finger tracing may reinforce letters, shapes, and sounds, it's likely to get boring for kids who really want to write.
The second level may be a little difficult for younger kids, and the use of dipthongs can be confusing. The third level is also fairly complicated for the target age. There is also no way to hear the word again, and it's possible to build a word phonetically but not spelled correctly, such as "kactus" instead of "cactus." The app doesn't tell you that.
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