Alpha Writer, by Montessorium
What parents need to know
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.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- applying information
Engagement, Approach, Support
This attractive and easy-to-use app is in line with the Montessori method, which emphasizes learning through play and exploration. Once kids have figured out what to do, they can have a lot of fun learning about spelling.
Kids build literacy concepts as they listen to the narrator carefully pronounce each word, emphasizing letter sounds. Kids can reflect as they choose letters by listening to each sound and comparing it to the sounds of the target word.
Although the app doesn't track learning data, kids can save images of their Storyboard creations. Clear narration makes letter identification tasks accessible to young kids.
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.