Sight Words Hangman

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Sight Words Hangman App Poster Image
Good practice for kids unafraid of spooky main character.

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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 more than 300 of the most common sight words in the English language. Sight Words Hangman is crafted after the old paper-and-pencil hangman game, but in this app, kids don't solve words letter by letter. Instead, after a word is spoken, kids select the correct word from a list of four written words. The target group is kindergartners and first-graders, as they are building word-recognition skills. Some words on the higher lists may be a stretch for the younger kids in this target age range. This spooky but clever twist on a classic can help young kids become fluent readers.

Ease of Play

Once you choose the word list you'd like to practice, the game begins. It will even alert you if your volume settings aren't sufficiently set for the kids to hear the words.

Violence & Scariness

The little hangman figure that begins to hang from the gallows, piece by piece, as kids get words wrong is a little spooky.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sight Words Hangman is a good way for younger readers to practice sight words. In tandem with phonics, knowing lots of sight words can help new readers with reading flow and speed, so games like this can help new readers increase confidence. On this app, a word is spoken from one of 45 chosen lists and then four choices appear. Kids choose the word they think is correct from those choices (which typically vary quite a bit from one another; no attempts are made here to "trick" kids into choosing the wrong word). A score is kept in the upper right hand corner so kids can track it. If they choose incorrectly, a part of the hangman appears on the gallows. Kids who are bothered by mildly scary images may not like this hangman -- at all. He's definitely a step or two spookier than the traditional stick figure used on most paper-and-pencil hangman games. 

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What's it about?

In Sight Words Hangman, kids choose from one of 45 lists (10 words each) and hear a word. After the word is spoken, four choices appear. Kids select the word they think is correct from those choices (which typically vary quite a bit from one another; no attempts are made here to "trick" kids into picking the wrong word). The app keeps score in the upper right-hand corner so kids can track it. If kids choose incorrectly, a part of the hangman appears on the gallows.

Is it any good?

SIGHT WORDS HANGMAN is a straightforward, well-crafted word recognition practice game for new readers. The app developer indicates that it's particularly suitable for kindergarten and first-grade students as well as people learning the English language. As long as your kid isn't afraid of the rather spooky hangman image -- with big, beady black eyes and a bloated, blue body -- this game will be rewarding and fun. Sure, it's not expected that any game with a name like "Hangman" and that includes a gallows by virtue of the game itself would include sweet images of flowers or puppies. But it would be nice if the creators perhaps offered a choice on hangman images for parents to choose from based on their new readers' preferences: A simple stick figure for the more timid kids, perhaps a monster or space alien, and the current one for kids who wouldn't be bothered by it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Play the paper-and-pencil version of hangman with your kid for a different game experience. Use the sight words from the game.

  • Write sight words on index cards and make a memory match game out of them. Each time kids flip a card, they should say the word.

App details

For kids who love working with words

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