Word Wall HD

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Word Wall HD App Poster Image
Creative games offer great practice in early reading skills.

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn word recognition and word building, as well as phonics-based letter sounds with Word Wall HD. Players practice these early reading skills through four colorful games that are easy enough for very young pre-readers to play, yet increasingly challenging for more advanced readers. Kids can build and try to recognize words through the use of word families (e.g., building words containing the -am or -ug combinations) and sight words. Parents must sign up for the free SmarTots service to get feedback about their child's progress. More complexity and interactivity would give Word Wall a boost in solidifying early reading concepts.

Ease of Play

Voice prompts lead players in what to do step-by-step, and there's a lot of drag-and-dropping of letters, which is typically very easy and intuitive for even the youngest app users who may not be familiar with individual letter combinations yet. Common games -- such as the memory games that use flip cards -- and puzzles help very young kids identify what's going on by association with games that they've likely already played in the real world.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

The main screen contains the app developer's logo and the SmarTots parents service logo, which links to a sign-up page for the service. In the middle of using the app, a drop down screen may pop up that says "Are you a mom or dad?" and moves the player out of the app to the SmarTots service if the "yes" button is pressed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Word Wall HD teaches early reading skills through four colorful, creative games that are easy enough for very young pre-readers to play, yet increasingly challenging enough for new readers further along the path to practice their skills in fun, engaging ways. Kids practice building and recognizing words through the use of word families (building many words containing the "am," "at," or "ug" combinations, for example) and sight words. There are also cute stickers and a "word wall" for kids to collect favorites.

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What's it about?

Word Wall HD has four basic games as well as two options to practice matching (via drag-and-drop) letters and words. The multisensory approach is based on the idea that kids should "see," "hear," "play," and "write" to learn pre-reading skills. The games "See and Find," "Hide a Word," "Bubble Words," and "Jigsaw Words" are all similar to other game concepts kids may have already encountered online or off. Kids get cute in-app stickers as rewards and a "word wall" on which to post the stickers and their favorite words.

Is it any good?

WORD WALL HD provides young kids a great place to practice word recognition and word building through simple, minimal-stress games. Kids who have different ways of processing language will probably find something on this app that appeals to them since it uses a combination of learning styles. The "Bubble Words" game, in which players have to choose from letters floating in bubbles to form the word that matches the picture on the screen, is probably the most challenging game. Other games on the app either allow you to set an "easy" or "hard" level or are simple enough for young learners to enjoy even if they cannot read the words presented in the game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Sign up for the free SmarTots service connected to this app to get learning reports and more ideas for further targeted activities.

  • Take some of these games -- such as the memory matching game or the puzzles -- offline and create your own versions with your kid's weekly school spelling list.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Language & Reading: letter or word recognition, reading
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: prediction, solving puzzles
  • Price: $1.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Release date: March 28, 2012
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 36.40 MB
  • Publisher: Emantras Inc
  • Version: 1.3
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.2 or later
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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