Thursday 1 August 2013

Kids' app review : Write To Read

Learning to read by writing may sound a bit like back-to-front logic but that's the concept behind the latest educational kids' app that we were asked to put through its paces. The app has been developed by a Danish primary school teacher called Janus Madsen who has more than 15 years of experience in teaching children to read and write, it has been tested in cooperation with leading scientific researchers and is co-financed by the Danish Agency for Research and Innovation. All sounds very serious - off to see how it works.

The idea is actually very simple and appealing to kids. They create mini e-books by uploading pictures - taking photos with the ipad makes this an absolute breeze - then writing a sentence underneath to describe what's happening in the picture. Then they pass it to the adult who retypes underneath in correct English the words that the child has tried (more or less successfully) to write. Sometimes you'll be able to work out what it's supposed to say and sometimes you won't, but either way it's a lovely bit of quality time spent with your child that is very rewarding for them - either they get the confidence boost of you being able to understand what they tried to type, or they get to sit and explain their innermost thoughts to you so that you can translate it into correct English. It's a win-win situation.

As the child sees the corrected sentences that you have written, they should start picking up the proper spellings along the way and, as their library of e-books grows, they can use it as a sort of personal dictionary, looking up words that they have seen before. 

The app features a specially designed keyboard with vowels and consonants marked in red and blue and it can show both lower and upper case letters to help the child recognize and learn all 52 different letters. It also has a record-and-play function that can help the child remember the written text and enable them to play back the audio version of the story at a later point. Books created by the child can be printed, e-mailed or posted to social media directly from the app, which is a lovely touch and makes it all really motivating.

The primary target group is children from 3-10 years of age, but younger as well as older children can benefit by using the app. 8-year-old Juliette has been having a lot of fun with it and has said several time "ohh I didn't know you spelt it like that" so it really is making her think about the way words are spelt.

It is quite a labour-intensive app for the parents though. If you like to use the ipad to keep the kids amused while you're busy cooking dinner or on the phone, this won't be much good because you need to be constantly present and actively involved to make it work. I also think it's quite expensive for what it is - the app usually costs £4.99 - but it's currently at 40% off for the summer sale so you can buy it for £2.99, making it much more reasonably priced.

If you're looking for a way to keep your kids practising their literary skills during the long summer holiday in a fun way, this is perfect. It's also a lovely way of making keepsakes for your child to look back on in years to come and offers some really rewarding opportunities for quality time between parent and child.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : usually £4.99, currently £2.99

Disclosure : We received the app for free in order to write an honest review.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kids' app review : PaddlePak Party App from Trunki

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really good - I am going to get it for my daughter!


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