Dora Hops into Phonics! (a preschool learning game by Nickelodeon)

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Dora Hops into Phonics! (a preschool learning game by Nickelodeon) App Poster Image
TV fave teaches early reading skills; pace feels a bit slow.

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The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Most of the aspects of the game are simple to use. If a child makes three mistakes, the game prompts him or her to choose the correct answer. The game ramps up in difficult slowly over time.

Violence & Scariness
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The game is based on the popular Dora the Explorer franchise. 

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dora Hops into Phonics! (a preschool learning game by Nickelodeon) is an app designed to help kids learn early reading skills. Dora needs to cross a river to get to the frog fiesta on the other side. Each round has a set of lily pads that spells out a word. Kids need to read the word and choose the picture that matches. They can touch each letter to sound out the word, and the game will say the name of each picture, as well. Next, they have to choose which letter will change the old word into a new one that matches the provided picture. For example, they might change dog into log. Once again, they can get help by touching the letters and pictures. In between each round is a different frog mini-game. Parents can see a report of how their child is progressing through the different difficulty levels, which include first letter sounds, ending letter sounds, and middle letter sounds with three-letter words. Kids eventually move on to four- and five-letter words.

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Is it any good?

DORA HOPS INTO PHONICS! is a solid way of getting kids to understand basic letter sounds, how words come together, and other early reading skills. It leaves room for kids to explore the sounds, make guesses, and receive coaching if necessary. Dora cheers the kids on when they find the right answer and gently redirects them with the wrong answer. The game could use a bit more variety in the actual learning activity. It's easy to become bored with the same formula, and the difficulty ramps up too slowly for early readers who are ready for more advanced skills. The mini-games are OK, but not enough to spice up the repetition of the learning levels.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
  • Price: $1.99
  • Release date: October 22, 2011
  • Category: Kids' Games
  • Size: 65.60 MB
  • Publisher: Nickelodeon
  • Version: 1.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.0 or later
  • Last updated: November 15, 2019

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