English Club

Common Sense Media says

Rigid English-language-learning app fails to excite.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Despite sitting through lengthy tutorials on how to play, kids may still find some components of the game confusing. An extremely slow response time also can frustrate kids, especially if they don't know what they should be doing.

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

Only two levels come with the free version, but you can purchase additional levels individually or as a pack. Parents may want to password-protect purchases to keep kids from buying additional levels in the bright, colorful store.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Encourages kids to connect to and track achievements through the Game Center app, as well as share them through social media, but no privacy policy is available through the app or on the developer's website to address any concerns that come with sharing this information. Parents who fail to protect against in-app purchases also may find it easy for kids to purchase new levels without permission.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although English Club uses a detailed, phonics-based approach to teaching language, it somewhat fails in its approach. Before they even get to the lessons, kids must sit through a lengthy set of instructions read by the animated narrator. Once in the lessons, kids must complete each component before moving on to the next even if they already know the content or find the lesson repetitive. This could leave them feeling frustrated and bored.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • reading comprehension
  • speaking
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • personal growth

Communication

  • speaking

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Colorful, comic book-style characters draw learners in. However, lengthy instructions and a complicated interface could make navigation a challenge -- especially for new English learners or young kids.

Learning Approach

Developers put a lot of thought into the process behind the content and cover many dimensions of language learning. Unfortunately, the approach limits the types of learners who will benefit from the app.

Support

Step-by-step instructions and an animated narrator guide kids as they go through the activities. Data tracks kids' achievements, but much of the data tracking is only available when a user is logged in to Game Center.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • reading comprehension
  • speaking
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • personal growth

Communication

  • speaking

Kids can learn how to speak English by breaking the language down into its individual letters and sounds. The phonics-based approach combines writing, spelling, speaking, and reading. However, there are times when kids may not find themselves learning anything at all. Each level focuses on a specific set of letters and sounds. Even if kids already know those particular letters and sounds, they must finish the lesson to unlock the next lesson. This can lead to a lot of wasted time that could be spent building new skills. Kids could benefit from breaking the language down into its individual letters and sounds, but they may be turned off by English Club's rigid lesson structure.

This Learning Rating review was written by Stacy Zeiger

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What's it about?

ENGLISH CLUB features a step-by-step method to help kids learn English. First, they go through a tutorial that introduces them to the concepts discussed in the lesson through flashcards and writing practice. Then they go through a learning process that incorporates flashcards and short descriptive videos. Finally, kids complete practice activities that involve reading a story, writing words, and playing a short multiple-choice game. They must complete all activities in each stage of a lesson before moving to the next stage, even if they already know the content. Successfully completing activities and entire lessons earns kids medals and positive praise.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Although the general design makes it seem like English Club is for older kids and teens, the actual content will appeal more to younger English-language learners. The structured activities break down the content well, but English Club also limits how kids can learn. Yes, they'll find multiple ways to learn and practice new letters, sounds, and words, but they can only do it in a specific order. There's no skipping ahead or even skipping over a lesson to get to more challenging content. Instead, kids must successfully complete all the activities in a lesson to move ahead. Additionally, the design of the app and the lengthy tutorial videos feel cumbersome and potentially confusing to those new to English.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the challenges that come with learning a new language. Can chatting with friends, playing games, and watching movies in the language of your choice help? 

  • Talk to your kids about the benefits of being bilingual. How does the world change once you can speak another language? 

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free, Free to Try
Release date:July 16, 2013
Category:Education
Size:17.10 MB
Publisher:shani hajbi
Version:1.1
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of English Club 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.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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