Word Wall HD

Common Sense Media says

Creative games offer great practice in early reading skills.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
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11
12
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Voice prompts lead players in what to do step-by-step, and there's a lot of drag-and-dropping of letters, which is typically very easy and intuitive for even the youngest app users who may not be familiar with individual letter combinations yet. Common games -- such as the memory games that use flip cards -- and puzzles help very young kids identify what's going on by association with games that they've likely already played in the real world.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The main screen contains the app developer's logo and the SmarTots parents service logo, which links to a sign-up page for the service. In the middle of using the app, a drop down screen may pop up that says "Are you a mom or dad?" and moves the player out of the app to the SmarTots service if the "yes" button is pressed.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Word Wall HD teaches early reading skills through four colorful, creative games that are easy enough for very young pre-readers to play, yet increasingly challenging enough for new readers further along the path to practice their skills in fun, engaging ways. Kids practice building and recognizing words through the use of word families (building many words containing the "am," "at," or "ug" combinations, for example) and sight words. There are also cute stickers and a "word wall" for kids to collect favorites.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • prediction

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Charming, colorful graphics should engage young players. Plus, the app should appeal to kids who have different ways of processing language; it uses a nice combination of learning approaches. 

Learning Approach

The multisensory approach is based on the idea that kids should see, hear, play, and write to learn pre-reading skills. By mixing it up here, kids of all learning types should find success.

Support

Kids are awarded stars for each round of a game they complete, so they can track their own progress. Teachers or parents can sign up for SmarTots to track kids' progress.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • reading

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • prediction

Kids can learn word recognition and word building, as well as phonics-based letter sounds with Word Wall HD. Players practice these early reading skills through four colorful games that are easy enough for very young pre-readers to play, yet increasingly challenging for more advanced readers. Kids can build and try to recognize words through the use of word families (e.g., building words containing the -am or -ug combinations) and sight words. Parents must sign up for the free SmarTots service to get feedback about their child's progress. More complexity and interactivity would give Word Wall a boost in solidifying early reading concepts.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

Word Wall HD has four basic games as well as two options to practice matching (via drag-and-drop) letters and words. The multisensory approach is based on the idea that kids should "see," "hear," "play," and "write" to learn pre-reading skills. The games "See and Find," "Hide a Word," "Bubble Words," and "Jigsaw Words" are all similar to other game concepts kids may have already encountered online or off. Kids get cute in-app stickers as rewards and a "word wall" on which to post the stickers and their favorite words.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

WORD WALL HD provides young kids a great place to practice word recognition and word building through simple, minimal-stress games. Kids who have different ways of processing language will probably find something on this app that appeals to them since it uses a combination of learning styles. The "Bubble Words" game, in which players have to choose from letters floating in bubbles to form the word that matches the picture on the screen, is probably the most challenging game. Other games on the app either allow you to set an "easy" or "hard" level or are simple enough for young learners to enjoy even if they cannot read the words presented in the game.

Families can talk about...

  • Sign up for the free SmarTots service connected to this app to get learning reports and more ideas for further targeted activities.

  • Take some of these games -- such as the memory matching game or the puzzles -- offline and create your own versions with your kid's weekly school spelling list.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$1.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:March 28, 2012
Category:Education
Size:36.40 MB
Publisher:Emantras Inc
Version:1.3
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.2 or later

This review of Word Wall HD was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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