Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read App Poster Image
Super, step-by-step reading journey starts with the basics.

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Educational Value

Kids can learn to identify uppercase and lowercase letters and what sound each letter makes. They'll learn the sounds that different letter combinations make and how those sounds make words. They'll work with rhyming words and sight words. And then they'll put it all together to read simple books.

Ease of Play

Learning path guides kids and games have clear instructions.

Violence & Scariness
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read is a subscription-based program that progresses from teaching letter recognition to reading full words and simple stories. Kids follow a set path that introduces letters or letter combinations step-by-step through songs and mini-games. There's also a library with original stories that showcase new reading content. Kids can start at one of two places along the learning path. Early readers start with Pre-reader World, whereas kids with basic letter recognition skills can start in the Learn to Read World. Parents can create individual user accounts for multiple kids. The free download includes some content but users will need a subscription to unlock everything. For an additional fee, parents can sign up to receive monthly shipments of a workbook and hard copy books that match the app's content. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

After choosing to use the limited content available with the free download or sign up for a subscription, start HOOKED ON PHONICS LEARN & READ by indicating whether your kid knows all upper and lower case letters. If you answer no, kids start their journey in Pre-Reader World where they'll work on identifying letters and the sounds they make. Each mini-lesson starts with a song and continues with a couple of interactive games. If kids already know letters, they start in Learn to Read World, which covers letter combinations such as -at, -an, or sh-. Games ask kids to construct words, match words to sounds, read simple books and so on. Kids move sequentially along a learning path, but can access any of the songs, games, or books in a separate section. With a subscription, parents can create multiple user accounts and track their kid's progress.

Is it any good?

This sequential learning path combines catchy songs, funny videos, and interactive games to engage kids and seamlessly guide them towards independent reading. Hooked on Phonics is a well-known phonics-based curriculum whose approach lends itself easily to an app format. While Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read could begin to feel tedious because it has lots of repetition in activity type, the songs and books add a bit of variety. Kids must follow a step-by-step path and complete each level before they can unlock the next so they build knowledge according to a logical progression. But kids can also access the material outside that learning path, which can help them customize to meet their unique needs. Response times for incorrect answers can be a bit long, which may confuse kids eager to try a different choice. The focus here is strictly on decoding words, and the included books are matched specifically to help kids practice each mini-step. For fuller reading fluency and comprehension, parents will want to supplement with other material such as full-fledged storybooks.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what kids are learning as they progress through the levels in Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read. Ask what letters they know and see how many words you can come up. Point out the letters and sounds in common words such as names, favorite toys, or beloved animals.

  • Encourage a love of reading. Take frequent trips to the library, read books together, and help kids sound out words.

  • Play with letter cards. Make a card for each letter of your kid's name and rearrange them to come up with real and made-up words. Make simple words, and change the first letter of your kid's name and talk about rhyming.

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love letter recognition and learning to read

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