Hideout, showcases phonemic awareness fun, it's by Brigham Young University, and is a playful app designed to help children gain mastery of word families. Word families, a skill that when mastered, helps students learn to read both individual words and long multisyllabic words with fluency. The music in this app stands out. As an iPad Lab teacher, I dread listening to the background music in most apps. Often, the rhythms app makers describe as “wonderful” and “entertaining” are more often, “annoying” and “grating.” The music in Hideout is front and center and is something I would listen to in the car on my own time. The beat has a jazz undertone and makes you want to snap your fingers and jam along.
The home screen boasts approximately 10 different word families (ie op, at, ock). When students choose a word family, a song immediately begins. The song states the individual letter sounds and then blends them together. As the music continues, the screen lists a variety of initial sounds next to the word family. Students are asked to drag the initial sound to the word family to create a new word. Once all the words have been created, students are directed to a game. In the game, students interact with objects whose names include the specific word family. Each time students touch or move an object, the app says the word and shows the word on the screen (ie socks, rocks, and blocks). In order to return to the home screen, children must interact with the objects and their associated word families over fifty times. Repetition is a strength of this app. Typically, repetition is boring, however, in this app, the repetition never gets old or boring and students are having so much fun that they forget they are learning.
The only drawback of this app is that many of the objects begin with blends (bl, str, st, etc). Beginning readers may find the addition of blends a bit challenging. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this app. It is a fantastic find for students just beginning to read as well as older struggling readers. This app is a precious gem that should not be ignored.