What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that FIRSTWORDS: DELUXE is a very straightforward word-building game. Words are either said letter by letter as they are dragged into the appropriate gray boxes or, if chosen in the settings, a smaller set of words can be sounded out with phonics. This makes this game a treat for both pre-readers and early spellers. The $4.99 app price buys you words in the categories of Animals, At Home, Colors, Shapes, and Vehicles. Tap "Get More Words" on the menu screen and more sets appear: holiday-themed words, Food Words, Clothes, and Numbers for $.99-$1.99 each (under 50 words each) or Spanish, German, and Japanese word sets (around 115 words each) for $4.99, or a French word set (36 words) for $1.99.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
- academic development
Engagement, Approach, Support
Drag-and-drop letter games like this are a treat for both prereaders and early spellers. Add-on word packages can keep it fresh.
Kids learn through trial and error, dragging letters to spell three- to 10-letter words. Not adaptive, but difficulty can increase. Phonics feature can help develop listening skills; kids may encounter new vocab by tapping unfamilar objects.
Word packs are available in multiple languages. Phonics feature helps game advance with players.
What's it about?
Each page of FirstWords: Deluxe has an object and a word to spell. Click on the object to hear the name, then drag and drop letters into the right slots to spell the word. When the word is complete a voice says "b-a-g, bag!" the object spins around, and the next page appears with a new word to spell. The app includes five categories: Animals, At Home, Colors, Shapes, and Vehicles; you can buy more via in-app purchase. Parents get a lot of options so they can tailor the experience to match their kids' skills.
Is it any good?
The best thing FIRSTWORDS: DELUXE for parents is definitely the different levels. Kids over 2 can drag and drop letters and build vocab and letter recognition pressing on objects featured and hearing what they are. As they get older, switch on the phonics every once in a while and help them sound out words. Once they're early readers and budding spellers, change the "Letter Order" setting from "Any Order" to "Left to Right." The only complaint here is the price tag of adding new words. When you add up what you could spend on all the different sets you may be tempted to scrap it all in favor of homemade flash cards at the kitchen table.
Families can talk about...
Place letter magnets on your fridge so kids get more exposure to letters and word-building.
Take the spelling party outside with sidewalk chalk.
Point out words kids may know on signs when you're out and about.