SUPER WHY Phonics Fair App Poster Image

SUPER WHY Phonics Fair



Kids learn word families in games with fun carnival theme.

What parents need to know

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.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
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A package of advanced word families can be purchased for $.99. A link, accessible through a swipe-lock, is featured on the start page.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Fire phone, 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
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Superheroes, Numbers and letters
Size:205.00 MB
Publisher:PBS KIDS
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of SUPER WHY Phonics Fair was written by

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