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Parents' Guide to

Learn to Read : Mario Alphabet Apps Phonetic ABCD

By Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Cute, simple letter games don't deliver on big promises.

Learn to Read :  Mario Alphabet Apps Phonetic ABCD Poster Image

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These leveled games offer some basic letter-sound practice, but they don't have enough depth to make it a stellar learning tool. The basic premise is fun with appealing graphics and some fun challenges. And, since the rolling creatures never "die" or fail in their journey to reach the end of a level, it's entirely age-appropriate. Yet, despite matching letters over and over again through the levels, kids will only ever hear one word with that letter sound. It would be nice to have some variety to start applying initial letter sounds beyond a single word. Also, controlling the creature can be a bit awkward at times, which may frustrate some kids. And the words are not always spoken very clearly, which can make it hard to understand what the audio is saying. Though having several languages available is a great addition, it's disappointing to see that the graphics and word choice don't always match up for the non-English choices. The developer's strong claims of how the app is inspired by Montessori and Piaget seem only concretely fulfilled by the order in which the app introduces the letters. Also, they promise the app will help kids read faster, but there's no evidence to support those claims; if parents aren't satisfied, however, the developers offer a refund. Overall, it's a fun concept but could use quite a few tweaks to make it stand out among all the letter-learning apps out there.

App Details

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