Intro to Letters, by Montessorium
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Intro to Letters, by Montessorium is an educational app designed to help children recognize, pronounce, and write lowercase letters, capital letters, and phonograms (letter combinations that make a single sound). The app includes three types of activities: 1) plays a letter sound or name aloud as kids trace it, 2) plays a letter sound followed by the letter name, and 3) allows kids to record and listen to themselves saying a letter sound or name (requires a microphone). Each activity includes a short description of the intended goal from a Montessori perspective, which can be helpful for parents who want to reinforce the skills beyond the app.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Health & Fitness
- fine motor skills
Engagement, Approach, Support
Kids who are just learning their letters may be excited about this app, but it's not one they'll pull out just for fun. Still, it has an appeal that pencil and paper may not hold, and allows kids to explore on their own.
With a hyper focus on pairing letter sounds with shapes, Intro to Letters shines in terms of content delivery but misses the mark on going beyond the interactive worksheet approach.
Directions are clear, but there's no way to track which letters kids have practiced or to see if they're struggling in any area.
What's it about?
Kids play with a digital version of sandpaper letters, a tool used for teaching early reading skills in Montessori settings. Activities include early literacy exercises designed to promote auditory, visual, and muscular memory. Kids trace letters with their fingers, hear letter sounds and letter names, and record themselves saying letter sounds and letter names. The app interactions feel like quiet, educational play with calm and clear narration, simple wooden letters, and no flashy animations or sounds.
Is it any good?
Intro to Letters, by Montessorium is a great looking, high quality educational app for toddlers and preschoolers. It's not a game, so kids may not beg to play with it, but it's colorful and interactive and makes excellent use of touch screen capabilities. Letter names and sounds are pronounced clearly, which is essential for learning apps. iPod Touch users should note that they'll need headphones with a built-in mic to be able to use that feature. The app is a bit pricey, but it's also well-designed.
Families can talk about...
Encourage kids to follow through with an entire activity before moving on to the next; some activities have multiple parts that build on one another.
Practice letter sounds, letter names, and tracing letters with your kids using real sandpaper letters.