SUPER WHY Phonics Fair
By Amanda Bindel,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Kids learn word families in games with fun carnival theme.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn phonics, including letter sounds and word families. They'll work with both uppercase and lowercase letters to recognize words. Kids can learn hundreds of words using the 30 word families included -- from -ab and -an to -ick and -unk. They'll use their creativity when creating scenes from their prize pictures and develop fine motor skills dragging the letters and carnival rides into place. SUPER WHY Phonics Fair is a fun way for kids to develop early reading skills.
Ease of Play
Tap-and-drag gestures on mini-games are easy to use, but the matching in the bumper car game is a bit tricky for preschoolers. Word clues are given verbally, so kids have to focus to hear the instructions.
Products & Purchases
A package of advanced word families can be purchased for $.99. A link, accessible through a swipe-lock, is featured on the start page.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that SUPER WHY Phonics Fair uses five mini-games featuring Super Why characters to teach phonics using word families. Kids collect prizes after completing the games and can use them as stickers to decorate a scene. Parents can check kids' progress through 30 word families (like -at, -an, -ock) in the progress tracker, and they can also purchase the advanced word family pack of 30 words that use silent e and more advanced phonics for $.99. The app also includes eight short video clips with songs from the PBS TV show.
Where to Download
Videos and Photos
SUPER WHY Phonics Fair
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What’s It About?
The Super Readers join kids at the fair to teach them about rhyming word families. Each character leads a different carnival ride that has kids put together letters and word families to create words -- like f and -an to make fan. Kids can choose to work with upper- or lowercase letters. Woofster takes kids on a roller coaster ride to create words, starting with the word ending, like -op, and then adding a beginning sound, like c to make the word cop. Kids will see a picture of the word and hear it pronounced. In Alpha Pig's Whack-a-Word, kids get a word ending and must tap on all the words that pop up with that ending. In Wonder Red's Wonder Words Ball Toss, kids match the word on the ball with the right picture and throw the ball at the corresponding word. Princess Presto's Spectacular Spelling Wheel has kids create words by choosing the sounds indicated from the Ferris wheel. In Super Why's Bumper Words, kids choose the correct beginning sound from a bumper car and the correct ending sound from a different bumper car and bump them together to form the given word.
Is It Any Good?
The word family strategy for learning to read is very effective, making SUPER WHY PHONICS FAIR a worthwhile tool for early reading. There's quite a bit of content with the 30 word families, plus both upper- and lowercase words, and the eight videos, so this is quite a bit of bang for the buck.
It would be nice if parents could choose which word family to focus on. The start screen is a bit busy, with the five characters and game selections for kids to choose from. The background music can be over-stimulating for some kids, but can turned off in the settings. The word sounds are given verbally and can sometimes be hard to recognize, especially subtle sounds of word blends like sn- and cl-. Still, SUPER WHY fans, especially, will find this a fun way to learn and practice word families.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Play rhyming games together, going through the alphabet trying to make words with word families (like -an, -at, -ap).
Extend the prize play by having your child tell you the story of what is happening in the scene he or she creates with the stickers.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
- Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, phonics
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: memorization, part-whole relationships, Self-Direction: academic development, Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Release date: December 19, 2013
- Category: Education
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Superheroes, Numbers and Letters
- Publisher: PBS KIDS
- Version: 1.0
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.1 or later
- Last updated: July 9, 2020
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