Touch and Write Phonics

 

Learning(i)

Cool app with animated lessons, playful tracing elements.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

It's easy to play, once an adult guides a kid to the section appropriate to his or her current level of phonics knowledge. From the main page, tap "Vowels," "Blends," "Digraphs," or "My Own Word Lists." Next, choose an appropriate subsection.Tracing the letters is as easy as following the cupcake lines with the monster and your finger.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

Tap the information tab on the main screen, and you're moved to a page including a "More from FizzBrain" section that promotes the developer's other apps through a kid-protected parent gate feature that requires users to answer a math problem before entering the iTunes store.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

No personal information is required to play Touch and Write Phonics. It's optional to enter an email address to send a copy of players' progress reports to a parent or teacher. The app is COPPA-compliant, and its privacy policy is posted under the "info" link on the app.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Touch and Write Phonics is a beginning phonics and letter-tracing app that includes 18 fun "writing textures" -- pudding, pumpkin pie, pink chalk, and more -- as well as 35 writing-paper styles for backgrounds. Players can listen to a brief, animated lesson for each main phonics concept ("Vowels," "Blends," and "Digraphs"), then trace letters as they first hear a voice speak the phonetic sound and then the letter name. A little monster guides kids by following cupcakes along the tracing path. Parents can create tracing word lists, too, but only from a pre-chosen, alphabetized group of words. Options exist for kids who need more traditional pencil-and-paper choices to minimize distraction, and there's darker paper for kids who are visually impaired.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • effort

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids can choose from 18 fun writing textures and 35 writing-paper backgrounds. The animated lessons are brief and kid-friendly. Monster-and-cupcake guides and rewards continue the engagement through practice sessions.

Learning Approach

Lessons help kids learn phonics concepts and hear examples in conjunction with tracing practice. The monster-and-cupcakes guides won't allow kids to trace letters incorrectly.

Support

Kids get helpful in-app directions, as well as color-coded letters for phonics clues. Practice reports list the date, the number of the practice session, and the percentage of letters formed correctly. Dark paper is available for kids who are visually impaired.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • letter or word recognition
  • phonics
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • part-whole relationships

Self-Direction

  • effort

Health & Fitness

  • fine motor skills

Kids can learn the basic phonetic rules related to vowels, blends, and digraphs. Kids can practice tracing letters and words, as well as learn the sound of each letter's name and its phonetic pronunciation. As kids trace, they develop fine-motor skills and practice academic effort, especially when they don't trace a letter correctly; it erases, and then they must trace it again. Touch and Write Phonics supplies fun, colorful tracing and phonics practice.

This Learning Rating review was written by Dana Villamagna

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What's it about?

Enter a username for each kid's progress profile. Then choose a main practice area by tapping "Vowels," "Blends," or "Digraphs," or create a pre-made word list. Listen to the animated lesson or begin a practice sessions. Choose the tracing texture as well as paper with a simple tap. Arrow keys allow players to skip or repeat letters or words. Kids can play on the reward page after completing practice pages. Progress reporting is easily accessible from the "info" page.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

TOUCH AND WRITE PHONICS artfully combines tracing and basic phonics practice in one app. This happy, colorful practice experience includes helpful features, such as animated phonics lessons, cute monster-and-cupcake letter-tracing guides, color-coded letters for phonics clues, and engaging writing textures and paper. Progress tracking and in-app email sharing can be useful for parents, therapists, and teachers working together to support a kid's language and writing growth. The beginning lesson for each main phonics section need not be repeated before each practice session. Parents can access settings, directions, and practice reports from the information page.

On the downside, there's potential for confusion when finding the right place to start, based on a kid's current letter-formation skills and level of phonics awareness. This likely requires an adult's help to avoid frustration for at least the first few play sessions. Also, some of the writing textures and paper combinations can get a bit busy to the eye. Nevertheless, Touch and Write Phonics can be a unique, useful way for kids to practice phonics and tracing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about and try some of the writing textures -- chalk, shaving cream, ketchup -- at home for fun, sensory-based tracing.

  • Use the reporting to check on your kid's progress, and, if you have concerns, you have the in-app option to share the report via email with your kid's teacher.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$2.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:November 5, 2013
Category:Education
Size:68.90 MB
Publisher:FizzBrain
Version:1.2
Minimum software requirements:iOS 4.3 or later

This review of Touch and Write Phonics was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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