App Review


The other day, I was thinking about just how far we have come with technology. Back in September, I saw a video that demonstrated what Corning is doing. I wonder how soon those technologies will be commonplace in our homes.

I have seen computers start as room-sized behemoths. Now, their are itsy bitsy hold-in-your-hand size.

For the last twenty years, children started learning keyboarding skills in grade school.  (I didn’t learn how to type until I was in the 9th grade.) Now, with the advent of the iPad (and other technologies that are copying Apple), children learn touch and swipe skills.  Much easier than typing for wee fingers to learn, don’t you think?

And in today’s world, there are educational apps galore.  When my children were growing up, books, flashcards, and Sesame Street were the options.

These apps make learning way fun for children, parents, and grandparents.  For instance, take the app Pre-K Letters and Numbers by BrightStart.

With this app, pre-kindergarten children learn their upper case and lower case letters.  They learn common phonemes (letter combinations such as ‘ch’ and ‘sh’) and numbers.

As you can see by the picture to the left, the app displays numbers that give direction as to the correct way to ‘write’ it. Your grandchild simply follows the number and traces the letter with her finger.

When she successfully completes it, a corresponding picture is shown.  With the uppercase letters, the pictures are of fruit. Lower case letters show pictures of animals.

The app displays an assortment of items when your grandchild works on numbers and phonemes.

Here are two of my favorite pictures in the program. (That’s because I love elephants and I love cherries.)

This app teaches and reinforces visual recognition of letters and numbers. It helps children develop their fine motor skill. Their counting skill is reinforced.

I like the soft pastel colors of this app and the pictures for the numbers and the letters.

I do have a small concern. Some of the examples used are not common. How many children are familiar with xiguas or narwhales or wildebeests? (How many parents and grandparents are??)

Parents and grandparents are probably familiar with newts and huckleberries but these items are not common for children in the pre-k age group. I know how hard it is to find example of words for letters like q, x, and z. However, I would suggest that the developers see if they could replace their uncommon examples with something a little more familiar.

Another suggestion I have is that it would be nice to be able to choose different melodies. The same one over and over and over gets a tad annoying. (I wonder if children would get tired of hearing the same tune all of the time . . .)

You can have up to 5 users for this game. You can register (for free) and then see a report card for them. The report card tracks total plays and time spent on the game. It shows the rate that a child successfully ‘writes’ the letters or numbers. It identifies spots where children have struggled. (I have a problem keeping my fat fingers within the lines when going around curves…) It even shows how many tries it took to complete the letter/number.

I really like the report card. Parents and grandparents can see where a child is struggling and then have the child practice more on the problem spot.

There is a free version of this app but it only has a few numbers and letters.  For only $0.99, you can get the complete application.

I would give this app 4 stars out of 5.

This app works on an iPhone or an iPad. It would be a great little Christmas gift to give to your grandchild’s family.  Or put it on your own iPhone/iPad for your grandchildren to play when they come for a visit.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this application for reviewing purposes. However, that did not influence my opinion.


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3 thoughts on “App Review

  • Judy Stevens

    You may have reviewed the SAGOMini apps – they are gems. Best of all, in my opinion, is the absence of narration. This enables discussion with toddlers as the app progresses.

    I have the whole group. My grandchildren return to them over and over.