Kid Awesome Kindergarten English Premium – Master the First Year of Language Learning!

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Kid Awesome Kindergarten English Premium – Master the First Year of Language Learning! App Poster Image
Early literacy journey has great coverage but poor delivery.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn and reinforce the mechanics of reading, from the beginning stages of recognizing letters to more advanced stages of spelling, punctuation, sight words, and English language conventions. An initial assessment places kids according to their personal literacy level, and material adapts as they progress. Kids can practice skills they already know or are in the process of learning, but with the multiple-choice, trial-and-error format, they won't learn much new material. Though the overall coverage of concepts is broad and adaptive, Kid Awesome Kindergarten English Premium – Master the First Year of Language Learning! is relatively disjointed, and the most exciting parts of the game are separate from the parts that involve learning. 

Ease of Play

Knowing when and where to swipe or tap may take practice for some, and navigation and coin collecting is not immediately intuitive. Yet, with a video-game-like setup, kids will eventually get the hang of it.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Tapping on a "subscribe now" button on the home screen takes kids to see icons for other apps from the same developer; parental gate prevents purchases. Kids play to earn points with which they can buy items to enhance and dress up their avatars.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kid Awesome Kindergarten English Premium – Master the First Year of Language Learning! covers a wide variety of beginning reading topics from letter recognition to sight reading, rhyming, and counting syllables. Kids' performance in the first games form an initial assessment of where they are, and the difficulty level adjusts as they play. All reading activities are housed in an arcade-style game in which kids help rescue kittens that have escaped to chase giant mice. Along the way, kids answer multiple-choice early literacy questions and collect coins, which they can use to buy performance boosters (super resistant uniforms, a jet pack, and the like) and personalize their avatar. A free version that covers reading and math offers a taste of the same game material with more for purchase in-app.

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What's it about?

KID AWESOME KINDERGARTEN ENGLISH PREMIUM – MASTER THE FIRST YEAR OF LANGUAGE LEARNING! presents a wealth of early reading concepts aligned with Common Core State Standards in a video game format. Each level includes five multiple-choice early literacy questions; each correct answer saves a kitten. When finished, kids run through a coin-collecting obstacle course. Use the coins to customize the kitten-saving hero, and level up as you save more kittens. Kids play in order of increasing difficulty based on an initial assessment but can try any topic level at any time.

Is it any good?

The frenetic pace, an exaggerated video game feel, and repetitive gameplay all distract from a carefully designed early literacy journey that includes 17 early reading topics, each with multiple mastery levels. The premise is great: Assess where kids are in learning to read with a set of initial placement games. Then, take them on a comprehensive journey through the nitty-gritty details of becoming literate and adapt as kids learn and grow. And, there's enough material to accompany kids through a long-term learning path. Unfortunately, the package that delivers this content is totally unrelated to the literacy theme and is complicated and difficult to navigate. In gameplay, tapping and swiping do very different things, and kids must move quickly, which makes the game potentially difficult for young kids to maneuver. There's a fast-paced soundtrack, lots of "power-ups," and an emphasis on collecting coins and buying/earning items for the avatar. Yet, the literacy games have little to no variation and end up feeling like an afterthought or a boring chore to get to the really exciting stuff. The learning material is great, but with such a poor delivery it doesn't seem worth the high price tag.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how words are all around us. Point out words and letters from stop signs to cereal boxes.

  • Help kids pick out the letter sounds in common words, such as favorite foods and toys.

  • Read with your kids as much as you can. When they're ready, encourage them to sound out simple words on their own.

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