Alpha Writer, by Montessorium App Poster Image

Alpha Writer, by Montessorium



Clever, hands-on method for learning how to spell.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn essential literacy skills like letter sounds, letter combinations, spelling, and word recognition with this well-crafted app for emerging readers and writers. The four activities build on one another, giving kids a chance to first develop skills and then practice them in either the creative Storyboard activity or the fun Alpha Spy game. The app's careful and clear narration makes letter identification tasks understandable and accessible to young kids. With its focus on the building blocks of literacy, Alpha Writer, by Montessorium is a solid tool for helping young kids begin to read and write.

Ease of play

Once kids know what to do, it's simple for them to pull letters or phonograms (letter combinations) from a scrolling bar at the top of the screen and form words. It would have been helpful, though, to have some instructions up front, since it can take some trial and error to figure out exactly what to do.

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Sexy stuff
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Alpha Writer, by Montessorium is a Montessori-style learning app that helps kids learn letter sounds and teaches them how to form words. The app includes a tactile approach to learning, since kids can physically manipulate letters onscreen. Kids hear the sound of each letter as they touch it and drag it into position to form words. The app has four sections. The first two ask kids to spell words after seeing a picture of the word and hearing it spoken. The third section lets kids use letters and images to write their own stories. The fourth is a version of "I Spy" that incorporates letter sounds.

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What's it about?

Kids choose from two spelling activities, a free play area, and a game. In the spelling activities, the narrator pronounces a word and asks kids to choose the letters or letter combinations (phonograms) that make up that word. Kids drag letters or phonograms from the top of the screen to hear the letter sounds and place them in the spaces below an illustration of the word. Kids can also play with letters and spelling in the Storyboard area or practice listening and letter recognition skills with the Alpha Spy game.

Is it any good?


Alpha Writer, by Montessorium is an attractive and easy-to-use educational app. Although it could use some up-front instructions, once kids have figured out what to do, they can have a lot of fun sliding around talking letter tiles to form words -- learning a lot about spelling in the process.

The "Alpha Spy" game is a great way for kids to extend their learning as they practice letter-sound recognition. The app's "Storyboard" feature is basically a sandbox, in which kids can slap together letters and pictures. For older kids, who are already somewhat adept at reading and spelling, this can be a neat feature to play around with. But younger kids just learning the ropes will most likely treat it like a Colorforms set and just put together interesting scenes (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Families can talk about...

  • Help your kids get started with the app. Show them how to scroll through the letters and drag them onto the screen.

  • Play Alpha Spy with your kids using objects around your home. They can expand their vocabulary and connect learning to real-life experiences.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Subjects:Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, phonics, reading, spelling, vocabulary, writing
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, part-whole relationships
Communication: listening
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:December 19, 2013
Size:64.00 MB
Publisher:Montessorium, LLC
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

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Educator and Parent Written byHolliethedr December 31, 2015

Worked good with my first grader, but not as fun for my 4 year-old

This app runs smooth and has a lot of educational value, especially for kids who already know their letters and letter sounds. My first grader has a great time playing the various phonetics games. However, the only part of the app my 4-year old can really use is the "I Spy" in which the reader reads and shows three pictures, then asks which ones starts with a particular sound. She really liked that. However, there were a few confusing ones. For instance, in one simulation it showed a "rod," a "chin," and a "snail"- then asked which one started with the "k" sound. Technically, none did. Also, in the storybarding part of the app, my first grader worked so hard in building some sentences- but then there was nothing to do with it, except bring it to me to read. I would have thought that once a child finished they would click a button and it would be read to them. Some definite pros, but some serious cons as well. Don't feel it was worth my $4.99.


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