Originally posted on the blog, Hireananny.org
Learning the alphabet is the first building block of reading. It is recommended that children have a working knowledge of their ABCs before entering kindergarten, as mastery of this crucial pre-reading skill will allow them to keep pace with their peers through the first year of school. When learning letters, it is key to make the lessons enjoyable. A perfect way to do this is through the use of the iPhone. Children love feeling grown up by using a smartphone, and the applications are so entertaining that the children often don’t even realize they are learning. Here are some of the best apps available to teach your little one the alphabet.
- Letter School – Winner of at least eight awards, including Best Younger Children’s App 2013, Letter School offers four games per letter. Children are taught both capital and lower case letters, as well as the letter shapes, sounds, how to write them and more. The graphics and animations are beautiful and exciting. There is also a lot of visual and auditory feedback to keep the child engaged.
- Little Writer- The Tracing App for Kids – This app teaches letter writing. As the child traces a letter, he will knock down pieces of fruit, which makes the act of writing fun, engaging and rewarding. Parents and caregivers can record everything in their own voices so that the child hears a loved one interacting with them throughout the game. You can also upload pictures of your family, and have the child trace their family members’ names. In addition to letters, this app includes three and four letter words to practice as well.
- ABC Go – Another award winner, ABC Go incorporates modes of transportation into the ABC lessons. This app will teach over 60 transportation themed vocabulary words, along with their spelling. It also shows videos that correspond with the letters, and your child can tap on letters to find more words that begin with that same letter.
- abc PocketPhonics – A winner of various awards, such as Parent’s Choice, abc PocketPhonics teaches letter sounds, handwriting and first words. In addition to teaching individual letter sounds, abc PocketPhonics also teaches the sounds of several blends. The words that are taught (there are over 170) are not just sight words to memorize. Rather, they are words the child will learn to sound out. This app is a tool not only for letter recognition, but also one that can serve as a means of teaching a child to read.
- Monkey Word School Adventure – Children will encounter letters, sight words, phonics and spelling when they enter the Monkey Word School. This school feels more like play in that it holds six different games that dole out rewards of animals to keep in a virtual terrarium. This app can provide hours of entertainment.
- Dr. Suess ABC – Awarded the Parent’s Choice Silver Medal in 2011, this app has turned this much loved book into an interactive application. As the book is read to the child, the words are highlighted. The book itself teaches letter recognition. The child can tap on letters, words or pictures to interact with the book. The voice of either the child or parent can be recorded and played back or shared.
- ABC Alphabet Phonics – Younger kids, even babies, can learn their letters by tapping on them in this app. Older children can play games to identify certain letters. Photographs are shown of items that begin with the letter. Parents can add their own photos to be used in the game, and can record their own voice as well.
- Laugh and Learn Learning Letters Monkey App – This app by Fisher Price teaches a few different subjects, but when you enter ABC mode it will show letters and pictures throughout the alphabet. Upon reaching the end, the app will sing The Alphabet Song. It may not sound like much, but babies and younger ones enjoy the animations and music immensely!
- iLearn with Boing: Iceland Adventures – Creatures from Iceland, like bears and penguins, collaborate to teach your little one all about letters! There are many games that teach letters, phonics and words. There are also over 27 rewards for hard work! There is a tracker that will report progress to parents, as well as assessments that let you know how your child is performing in comparison to others in her age group. Other skills such as matching, science and comprehension are also cultivated throughout this game.
- Word Wagon – Created by the award winning developers at Duck Duck Moose, Word Wagon includes over 100 words with sounds, animations and pictures. There are four levels of play that teach letter recognition, phonics and spelling. Children team up with Mozzarella the mouse and Coco the bird to play games like hide and go seek and dress up, and perform activities like talking on the phone and drawing. Children earn stars so that they can create virtual constellations and they are also rewarded with interactive stickers.