SUPER WHY Phonics Fair

Common Sense Media says

Kids learn word families in games with fun carnival theme.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

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
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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
Privacy & safety

You're not required to enter any personal information to play, but the privacy policy is not readily available in the app to explain what, if any, information is collected automatically from your device. At the time of this review, the privacy policy on the PBS website only applies to the PBS websites or online services that link to the policy.

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids will enjoy the characters and carnival theme, but some games may get repetitive after several plays. With five games to choose from, they can move on to a different game.

Learning Approach

Rhyming word family recognition will transfer to reading and word-decoding, making kids stronger readers. The different mini-games and prizes repeat the word families, helping kids remember them.

Support

A progress tracker shows which word families kids have worked on. An advanced word family expansion pack is available for $.99.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • memorization
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • academic development

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

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.

This Learning Rating review was written by Amanda Bindel

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?

QUALITY
 

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
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:December 19, 2013
Category:Education
Topics:Princesses and fairies, Superheroes, Numbers and letters
Size:205.00 MB
Publisher:PBS KIDS
Version:1.0
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.1 or later

This review of SUPER WHY Phonics Fair was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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