Gappy Learns Reading - Teach Kids Spelling and Reading With Letters & Sounds - Educational Sight Word Games for Kindergarten

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Gappy Learns Reading - Teach Kids Spelling and Reading With Letters & Sounds - Educational Sight Word Games for Kindergarten App Poster Image
Simple, cute spelling app is fun but can get tedious.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to match letters with their names, or to the sounds they make, in simple three-letter words. These foundational skills are important in supporting kids' further reading education. Although its word lists are limited, as kids use Gappy's First Words they'll improve their reading, spelling, and word-recognition skills.

Ease of Play

Graphics are simple; navigation and play options are clear and intuitive, even for younger kids.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The app includes a link to buy more apps from the developer, although users must press and hold the link for five seconds to activate it. Kids aren't very likely to end up in the app store by accident, but they might.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Gappy Learns Reading is a simple, clean-cut spelling app that allows kids to learn how to spell basic words. Kids start by filling in one missing letter and progress to spelling three-letter words on their own. The design is simple and uncluttered -- it isn't likely to over-stimulate.

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What's it about?

Kids are asked to spell three-letter words to help the character, a cute bunny named Gappy, construct bridges during a long walk home. There are four levels of play, and activities range from finding one missing letter in a word to spelling a whole word upon hearing it spoken aloud. When kids reach 10 correctly spelled words, they earn part of a house they can use to customize Gappy's house. In the app's alphabet area, kids can review letter names and their sounds. Kids or parents can choose to include spelling words from three preloaded lists (with a total of more than 200 words), and kids can play using lower-case or capital letters.

Is it any good?

GAPPY LEARNS READING boasts clean and simple graphics, a user-friendly interface, and a likable character named Gappy. As an app that helps kids learn how to spell and construct words, it's a relative success. However, the options for customization and the range of potential learning are somewhat limited. Some kids may get bored with the preloaded word lists, and play can be somewhat repetitive and tedious. Because words are preloaded, and all have only three letters, it isn't as extensive as it could be. What’s more, some of the words may be odd choices for beginning readers. Progress is hidden as kids play, and there's no option to save and exit mid-round. This can be a lot to ask for the app's young audience.

Gappy Learns Reading works best as a tool that pre-readers and emerging readers can use for extra practice. Its gentle, clean approach and repetitive play also could make it a helpful tool for kids with language delays.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Monitor kids as they play to make sure they're on an appropriate level.

  • Talk to your kids about letters and their sounds, especially letters in words they're already familiar with.

  • Expand your kids' active vocabulary by talking to them about the meanings of the words they encounter in the app.

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