First Phrases HD

App review by
Ashley Kemper, Common Sense Media
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Powerful and focused language-development tool.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn how to connect verbs, nouns, articles, and prepositional phrases correctly by using First Phrases HD. In easy mode, kids gain visual and auditory input of a wide variety of phrases, which is especially helpful for younger users or for kids who need receptive language support. In challenge mode, kids practice dragging and dropping verbs, articles, and phrases. Kids also can record the phrases they construct to reinforce language development. For kids learning and practicing basic English-language skills, First Phrases HD provides simple and effective auditory, verbal, and visual practice.

Ease of Play

First Phrases HD is a simple, clutter-free, visual game. Help features are easily accessible.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that First Phrases HD is an easy-to-use, language-development tool. It provides effective practice for two- and three-word phrases and lets kids practice saying and recording the phrases with visual support. Kids also can practice sliding the phrase parts in the correct order for more of a challenge. The simple but entertaining graphics are perfect for kids who need a clutter-free screen. It's definitely pricey, but it's especially worth it for kids with expressive or receptive language delays who might need speech-therapy reinforcement.

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What's it about?

FIRST PHRASES HD opens to a white background screen where kids can press play to begin or adjust the settings. On the first level, kids tap on the screen to hear an entire phrase read aloud while a short animation illustrates the phrase. On the next level, kids can tap on each part of the phrase (in order) to complete the phrase. This causes the character (bear, cat, mouse, dog, girl, or boy) to do that action. First Phrases HD also provides a challenge stage where kids place each part of the phrase in the correct order and record themselves saying the words in sequence.

Is it any good?

Though the graphics are purposefully simple, First Phrases HD packs powerful language practice for kids who need reinforcement in multiple word phrases. The leveled approach and numerous verb combinations give kids infinite opportunities to hear two- and three-word phrases, see them in action, and practice speaking them. First Phrases HD seems especially helpful for kids with receptive or expressive language delays or kids who might benefit from limited sensory input.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the character animations as cause-and-effect practice. Say: "You told the cat to turn off the light. What did he do?" Help kids respond in full phrases: "He turned off the light!" This will give kids an opportunity to practice what they've learned.

  • Help kids draw pictures of other short phrases. Start by adding kids' favorite animals and using similar phrases provided by First Phrases HD. For more of a challenge, include prepositions (above, below, around, behind, next to) as kids grow in their language abilities.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love language practice

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