A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Phonics Genius is a flash card style app designed to help kids learn words by letter sounds. It encourages kids to notice and think about the individual sounds in spoken words. Phonics Genius has over 6,000 words grouped into 225 categories, including single letter and letter combination sounds. There's also a listening game where kids match visual and spoken words, as well as pre-recorded audio playback to help kids hear each word clearly. The words in Phonics Genius are best for kids with previous reading experience, rather than beginning readers.
What's it about?
Kids begin by selecting a letter or letter combination from the app's home screen, then choose whether they want the sound at the beginning, middle, or end of a word set. In Learning Mode, kids view individual phonics flashcards and practice recognizing letter sounds and words. The app defaults to sounding out the word and highlights the letter sound in red face type on the flash card. In Game Mode, kids try to match a letter sound in a spoken word to as many as six different flash cards containing the same letter sound.
Is it any good?
Phonics Genius is a great app for kids with prior reading experience to improve their reading skills. It intelligently organizes words by letter or letter combination sounds and lets kids practice phonemic awareness and build sight words. Phonics Genius also boosts confidence and challenges kids to try reading new, more complex words.
Phonics Genius falls short, however, on two key fronts. First, the app doesn't have common letter combinations that are essential for beginning readers, such as -at, -et, and -it words. The app also lacks an easy way to customize flash card sets to a show a specific word length in a set. Beginning readers can handle three- and four- letter words ("ship," for example) but may get overwhelmed with larger words that, by default, are in the same set with the same letter sound (i.e. "sheepskin," for example). As is, Phonics Genius is best for kids who are emergent readers with previous reading experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Parents can help kids build word power by learning the definitions of the words they're reading.
Play a rhyming game with the word kids are learning. Rhyming helps kids develop phonemic awareness by recognizing letter and sound patterns. It also helps increase vocabulary and motivates learning.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, phonics, reading, spelling
- Price: Free
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: March 13, 2012
- Category: Education
- Size: 58.20 MB
- Publisher: Innovative Mobile Apps
- Version: 5.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later
For kids who love word games and reading
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.