Licking Letters

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
Licking Letters App Poster Image
Bright colors and cute characters create a fun spelling app.

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn to recognize letters and basic words by choosing the correct letters for each word. Parents can set up the app so kids have to choose letters in order. That way, they can work on spelling and word recognition in addition to letter recognition. The game automatically adapts to kids' skill levels, but there's no consequence for choosing the wrong letter, which means kids can tap all the letters until they happen to spell the word. With parents nearby to reinforce learning, Licking Letters can be a great way for young kids to get more exposure to letters and words.

Ease of play

The game is fairly intuitive and easy to play. Hoppy the Frog talks kids through each step and provides visual aids.

Violence & scariness

A few of the costume elements relate to the military (camouflage) and pirates (a hat and shirt with skulls on them). There's an alligator in the bonus games that grunts menacingly, but never does anything scary.

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Licking Letters uses a cute and encouraging frog to help kids practice identifying letters and spelling three-letter words. At the beginning of each round, a short word is shown and read aloud, and each letter is introduced. The letters then float across the screen; when one of the target letters is above the frog, kids tap the screen to watch the frog lick the letter. This continues until all letters in the word have been selected. Parents can choose whether the letters appear randomly or only in the correct spelling order. The first few rounds use three-letter words and only include the target letters, but the game gradually increases in difficulty. Completing a round earns a coin, which can be used to buy costume items for the frog. Some of the costume items show skulls or camouflage. Coins can also be earned in frequent bonus rounds that involve quick response times and a grumpy alligator.

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What's it about?

In LICKING LETTERS, kids are shown a three-, four-, or five-letter word. Then, letters float across the screen and kids tap the screen when a letter in the target word appears. A frog licks the letter to add it to the word. Parents can adjust settings so letters appear in random order or only in the correct order. The game slowly increases in difficulty depending on performance, adding other distractor letters or increasing the length of the word. Kids earn coins to buy clothing for the frog, and fun bonus games appear every few rounds. Up to three players can save games on the device.

Is it any good?

Licking Letters is a fun app that mixes a straightforward and repetitive spelling game with flashy costumes, quick bonus rounds, and encouraging words to keep kids interested and engaged. The game progresses in difficulty, and it's cool to be able to control whether or not the target letters appear in the correct order. Instructions are generally spoken, although kids will need to be shown how to play at the beginning. Unless they get bored, kids can play a lot of different rounds, making this app a great bargain.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Watch as your child plays with the app and spell out the words together.

  • Try to use words from the app in everyday context; multiple exposure in different contexts helps kids retain new vocabulary.

App details

For kids who love learning to read and spell

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