letter sounds & writing + first words
Appy Chat & Giveaway
Developer: Apps in My Pocket
1. When did you decide to develop this app?
September 2008. I won the first iPod touch in a newspaper competition just before Xmas 2007. When I returned to work in the new year at Fidelity Investments, I began to think was it time to make a change and perhaps do something with this new technology. I left work in May, I spent some time doing stuff to the house and wondering what I should do next. I looked at getting job, but began exploring options for iPhone development. I looked both at developing apps for other people and myself.
I decided to explore doing something in education, because my wife is a teacher and I could pick her brains. It also felt rather more useful than doing something in financial services.
2. When did you first release this app?
December 5 2008.
2. How long did it take you to develop this app?
The initial version was about 10 weeks. After that I spent until the following Easter improving PocketPhonics. I then started developing my next app, DotToDot numbers & letters. Once that was live in the autumn, I switched back to doing more work on PocketPhonics based on customer feedback.
Ever since then, the focus has been on further developing both apps. My goal is to maintain PocketPhonics as the best app for teaching kids the basics of reading and writing, and this means continuous improvement.
3. What is your favourite feature?
The follow-me arrow that helps children learn how to form correctly even cursive letters.
4. What is your favourite page in the app?
I think the screen that gives a child a star rating for each of the letter sounds they are working on. It’s important that both the child and parent can see evidence of learning, and also understand where more progress needs to be made.
5. What skills were you hoping to help the end user to develop? (eg fine motor, reasoning, education – maths, reading, social)?
PocketPhonics teaches the basics of reading and handwriting. My wife does a lot of 1-2-1 tutoring for children who are struggling, and the app works like a 1-2-1 tutor.
The app applies best teaching practice to help children learn their letter sounds and letter formation quickly. The app helps them learn to blend letter sounds together to spell words. It teaches a group of letter sounds at a time, so that children are not overwhelmed by choice and have structure to their learning.
The children are taught first the letter sounds that are used most often, and we avoid classic issues such as teaching ‘b’ and ‘d’ together, because a lot of children confuse these two letters at the start.
What age range would this app most suit?
3 to 7
6. Are any new updates coming soon?
We’re working on a big update now, and there will be further releases to come over the rest of the year.
Please highlight anything that you feel you would like people buying the app, to know about.
Over the four years, we’ve had a huge amount of feedback from teachers and parents. The app has been improved greatly on the basis of that feedback. Sometimes it can be a small thing, but it makes it a more effective learning tool. We’re always keen to hear what customers have to say.
Over a year ago, I was delighted when an independent researcher sent me a study that they had just done in school, where they found the children learnt nine times as fast using PocketPhonics compared to a traditional a classroom lesson.
Letter sounds. Handwriting. First words. PocketPhonics teaches all three. Kids, parents and teachers love it. That’s why it’s a best-seller.
Aimed at kids aged between 3 and 6, and using the best ‘phonics’ teaching techniques, PocketPhonics introduces kids to each of the key letter sounds. As they learn the sounds, the app guides them how to write each letter through its unique follow-me arrow. This makes it easy to learn how to correctly form letters. There’s nothing else like it in the app store.
★What experts say★
➜ Parents’ Choice Recommended Award Winner
➜ Editor’s Choice Award 2011 from Children’s Technology Review
➜“If you are working on phonics for your kids, this is the best application to have.” Technology in Education
➜“This app feels like you have a teacher or a tutor working with your child one on one.” pragmaticmom.com
➜“PocketPhonics is seriously educational and I think it’s a terrific tool for helping early readers. You can tell that a ton of thought and research was put into it and best of all, they talked and listened to teachers. It shows.” iPhoneMom.com
➜“When it comes to learning apps for young learners and early readers, there is no better choice than abc PocketPhonics.” ipad-applications.neiia.com
We’ve also had coverage in the Wall Street Journal, theweek.com and more than 20 other media outlets.
★Designed and tested by teachers★
Synthetic phonics was recommended by the Australian Federal Government’s Teaching Reading Report in 2005 and is recognised as the best method for teaching children how to read. PocketPhonics is designed and tested by teachers who use phonics in the classroom. It is primarily aimed at pre-school kids and those aged up to six or seven.
To understand the best educational practice underpinning PocketPhonics, order the FREE GUIDE to teaching kids to read from the app.
Simply put, phonics (letter sounds) help children learn to read by understanding the sounds that letters make. PocketPhonics teaches the letter sounds for all the letters in the alphabet.
Many apps teach the names of the letters in the alphabet, not their sound. Letter sounds (how we say the letters when we use them in words) are not the same as the letter names (what we call the letters). Experts recommend not including letter names when teaching letter sounds as it can confuse children by introducing too much information at once. For that reason PocketPhonics doesn’t teach letter names at the same time, so children can learn to read more quickly.
It also teaches over 30 letter sounds that come from combining letters together (like ‘sh’ and ‘ch’), because they are key to reading so many frequently-used words.
PocketPhonics visually demonstrates how to write each letter. Children enjoy practicing their writing by tracing the letter with their finger on the screen (similar to a Montessori classroom where children learn first to trace letters with their fingers). PocketPhonics works with iPhone-compatible styluses.
PocketPhonics will also check the accuracy of your child’s writing (can be switched off and the tolerance varied – using the settings in the Parentzone).
★170 First words★
Using a unique, “letter sounds make words” spelling game, children learn how to sound out and spell over 170 frequently used words.
★PocketPhonics puts you in control★
From within the app, you can:
✔ Customise the app to the needs of your child through its wide range of settings (e.g. lowercase, uppercase, or cursive letters)
✔ Get help or feedback
✔ Order our free guide on teaching kids to read
Updated: 28 December 2012
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Website: Apps in My Pocket Ltd
Facebook Page: Apps in My Pocket
You Tube: Apps in My Pocket Ltd
App: abc Pocketphonics: letter sounds & writing + first words
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