Find more Phonics & ABCs apps suggested by our growing community of teachers and parents.
About the Apps
The iPad (among other touchscreen devices) is an ideal tool to teach toddlers and early elementary school-aged kids phonetic awareness and spelling.
Tablets allow children and their parents to easily manipulate letters and words that appear on the screen, as well as listen (over and over again) to the proper pronunciation of what will soon become everyday words. Accordingly, there are several apps in this category that are worthy downloads. The best offer a constellation of tutorial and game-oriented features that will appeal to both kindergartners and slightly older students.
Our two favorites offer new and creative takes on classic games that are reimagined specifically for touchscreen consumption. Word Wizard - Talking Movable Alphabet & Spelling Tests for Kids offers two distinct modes that are comprehensive, entertaining and challenging. Billed by The New York Times as a "Speak 'N Spell for the iPad Generation," Word Wizard lets kids practice the spelling and pronunciation of common words and phrases, and also quizzes their ability to spell more than 1,000 frequently spoken words. Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe Interactive Game is designed for more advanced students, and integrates phonetic challenges within the old-school pencil-and-paper game.
The best two apps to teach phonetic concepts to younger elementary students are ABC Phonics and ABC Magic 3 Line Match. With separate modes for listening, speaking, and writing, ABC Phonics has kids working through smaller groups of letters to get a better feel as to how letters are connected and words are constructed. ABC Magic 3 is a very basic and accessible matching game, where lines are drawn between letters and illustrations of words that begin with the same sound.
For younger learners, abc PocketPhonics: letter sounds & writing + first words is effective in that it only focuses on small groups of letters, making it accessible to kids just learning how to read.
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How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.