Sight Words - An early reading & spelling adventure!

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Sight Words - An early reading & spelling adventure! App Poster Image
Quality, customizable content covers tricky words.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn to read and spell a sizable collection of the most commonly used sight words and also work on speed and fluency as they quickly identify the target word. When parents take an active role, kids can get extra practice with words they have particular difficulty with or learn to quickly read words that are especially relevant to their lives. 

Ease of Play

Activities include instructions but may require practice. Kids just beginning to learn sight words may find the games difficult at first.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sight Words - An early reading & spelling adventure! introduces kids to 320 sight words through a collection of kid-friendly games and activities that involve reading, writing, and identifying target words. The words are divided into five levels, which are supposed to roughly correspond to pre-K through third grade. Kids can play under their own accounts to save their own unique progress, and parents can review basic information about what their kids have accomplished, add custom words, or mark particular words to emphasize in the games for extra practice. A handbook explains the pedagogy behind the game, and the settings allow parents to choose the audio accent (American, British, or Australian) and dashboard language (available in 20 languages). Parents may need to be available at first to help kids who are new to reading, but kids should eventually be fine to play on their own. The developer's privacy policy clearly outlines how information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

There are 320 featured sight words that appear in the games in SIGHT WORDS - AN EARLY READING & SPELLING ADVENTURE! Activities include reading games, such as popping the balloon that holds the target word, writing games such as guiding a bear through a maze to collect letters in the correct order, and a hide-and-seek game with the host kangaroo. Kids start at Level 1 (which roughly corresponds to pre-K level words) and progress through up to Level 5 (roughly corresponding to third grade), though they can move to a different level at any time. Parents can create multiple kid profiles, keep track of progress, add words, and download the full curriculum.

Is it any good?

Sight words can be a tough bunch, but this varied content provides lots of repetition through a variety of games to help boost kids' familiarity with a sizable collection of words. In Sight Words - An early reading & spelling adventure!, kids get exposure to these tricky words both as a whole (in the reading games) and broken down letter by letter (in the spelling games). The games themselves may not be the most exciting things around and the narrator's delivery can be bland; however, most of the play experience is presented in a kid-friendly, appealing package, and there's enough variety to keep kids going. With words divided by levels, and games with varying levels of difficulty, kids of different ages should find something at the right challenge level. Being able to add your own words or emphasize certain words is a great touch for customization and real involvement in the learning process. The main thing missing here is context, such as using the words in a sentence, or seeing them in stories. Overall, however, there's a lot of bang for your buck in this thoughtfully constructed app.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about learning to read using Sight Words - An early reading & spelling adventure! and other materials. Help kids identify the words they don't know to get them started. Then point out whenever you see these words as you read books, signs, or wherever else you find print.

  • Help make learning sight words a fun experience on and off the screen. Include your own special custom words in the game. Read the in app curriculum guide, which has some nice suggestions for off-screen sight word activities.

  • Provide context for the target words to make them come alive. Help kids define the words, use them in sentences, or write and read stories using them.

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