uKloo

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
uKloo App Poster Image
Scavenger hunt makes reading fun; user can customize levels.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to read independently and follow written instructions. They can review the words included, if necessary, by tapping the book, and then test their knowledge through the game. Beginning with level 1, kids learn words such as look, on, it, the, and ball. Each level adds a few more words, advancing to words such as beside, under, search, check, and find on level 10. Kids also will learn vocabulary related to fruits, vegetables, and animals. uKloo takes the decoding practice from leveled early readers and blends it with a simple, interactive scavenger hunt that gets kids reading for a purpose.

Ease of Play

Video tutorial shows how to play, but interface is intuitive and directions are delivered verbally.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

Information section includes logo image of board game of the same name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that uKloo is based on a board game of the same name. Kids choose a scene and then read written clues. The whole experience is customizable, from setting the reading level from 1 to 10 to selecting how many clues to give in a round. Selecting the book icon on-screen shows the words covered in the chosen level, so kids can review or learn those words before playing. There are no ads, in-app purchases, or privacy issues to distract from the reading exercises.

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What's it about?

After selecting a starting scene -- a farm or a farmer's market, with more scenes coming soon -- kids follow written clues to find the UKLOO card hidden in the scene. When they find the card, they'll see a fun little animation and then receive their next clue. The challenge can be customized by tapping one of the scene selections and then choosing the number of clues per round and the reading level: Choose three to 10 clues and the reading level from 1 ("look on the sun") to 10 ("check behind the white bucket"). By tapping the book icon, parents and kids can see a list of the sight words included in the clues grouped by parts of speech and shown with a picture.

Is it any good?

uKloo is simple but both engaging as well as effective for getting kids to read. The bright scenes look like something out of an early-reader picture book, and the animations provide a fun little surprise. There's nothing slick or commercial: It feels almost wholesome, especially with the farm and farmer's market scenes. Kids can play a quick round or two to review sight words, and parents -- or kids themselves, since there's no parent gate -- can increase the challenge as needed. Since the words are always there to reference, kids can associate the word with a picture as a voice says the word. There's no wrong answer, so kids simply explore until they tap the right item. However, if kids tap the wrong item, the scene sometimes zooms in and shows only the whole picture after you tap the arrow. Though kids can reference the words whenever they want, there are no hints within the scene itself, so parents will want to make sure the challenge is set appropriately. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about reading -- and then do it! Read aloud to kids of all ages and have kids read aloud to you to develop fluency. Ask questions about what you've read to build comprehension skills.

  • Create a scavenger hunt for kids with clues written at their reading level (get ideas from the book icon in-app or buy the uKloo cards).

App details

For kids who love hidden objects and reading

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