|gdiplus (all apps)|
|iWriteWords Lite (Tracing Game) (Age 3+)|
|iWriteWords Uppercase (Age 3+)|
|iWriteWords Lowercase (Age 3+)|
|iWriteWords (Tracing Game) (Age 3+)|
Big-T (3yo boy) can read letters, and is starting to recognize words. He can recognize “and”, “the”, “engine”, and a few more words. He can also recognize quite a few names – “Thomas”, “Edward”, “Henry”, “Gordon”, “James”, “Percy”… in fact a total of 50 names so far(!). We have all the books in one of the Thomas the Tank Engine series and read at least one every night before bed, spelling out the name before reading the book. End result, he can recognize the names of all the engines we have the book for. So he cannot read much in the way of sentences, but he can identify every name in the book as we read them.
So I went looking for apps to teach reading and came across this one – iWriteWords. It’s superb.
Its put together well, making it fun to learn to write. Timothy enjoys it. He enjoys some other apps more from a pure fun aspect, but this app is great if you want to teach your child how to write. It uses a particular system of writing which may or may not be the same as your local school uses, but if you want to get your child off to a good start, I strongly recommend this app.
The physics behind the letters and how they interact with other controls on the page really does add to the app. The letters at the top of the page for the word you are spelling are on a little square. The squares tilt as the phone tilts, and they bounce off other objects on the screen realistically. Its really nicely done.
The different apps have different modes. The lite app for example gives you the choice of upper or lower case letters (and music for the “ABC” song). (Then there are paid versions with upper case only, lower case only, or a mix.) You then are shown a word at the top of the screen and the first letter to trace out. A little red dot (its “Mr Crab”) appears followed by a series of numbers in order. You put your finger on Mr Crab and drag him over the numbers one by one. This writes onto a background faint image of the letter you are writing. A single letter may require several strokes, where you take your finger off the screen between strokes.
Once you finish writing a letter, the letter of the word at the top of the page is replaced by the letter you wrote. (The letters actually fall down and bounce around, obeying the law of gravity based on how you have the device tilted.) When you finish the word you see a child’s drawing of what the word described. A little circle appears in the bottom right corner and you then have to tilt the device so all the letters end up in the corner, where they disappear (sort of like being sucked down the drain). This is like a mini game (as a reward) for every word you complete.
- The user interface is put together extremely well.
- Its has lots of little glitzy features, such as the letters falling down and bouncing around a bit. This adds a real fun factor to the learning experience.
- The lite version gives you the chance to try before you buy.
- It teaches how to write – an important, even critical, skill for children. Why not get them started early?
- When you complete a word you get a little reward of getting to try and get all the letters into the corner. Gives those little neurons a break before the next letter.
The negatives are minor – but I will point them out anyway.
- The “ABC” song feels a little out of place. Its a bit of variety perhaps, but Big-T never uses it when in this app.
- Tracing the lower case ‘o’ annoys Big-T a bit as it draws Mr Crab, then the numbers 1 to 5, where number 5 appears on top of Mr Crab, hiding him. Big-T does not like this and always wants me to get Mr Crab out from under number 5 before he will draw the letter.
- Tracing the lower case ‘e’ for Big-T always comes out wrong. To do the letter ‘e’, it starts with a horizontal left-to-right stroke and then stops. You then take your finger off and start again for the second circular stroke. Big-T however always misses the start point leaving a gab. The end result is the letter drawn comes out more like a crude capital ‘E’ (the horizontal middle bar does not join up with the start of the circular stroke).
The educational value for learning to write is clear. It teaches writing individual letters, shows words made up from letters (which pictures when you get it right), and displays numbers to trace over in order. The physics behind parts of the user interface also adds some value.
5 stars. It does a great job of teaching to write letters, which make up words. It has little rewards for doing well. Its got an intuitive interface for young children. It has high quality graphics and effects. I have no hesitation in recommending this app for children ready to start learning to write. To me, this is exactly the sort of app I am looking for in my quest to have apps that are fun, but teach my kids something really useful in the real world.
Get it in iTunes
More information, screen shots, and user reviews can be found in the iTunes store.
- iWriteWords Lite (Tracing Game)
- iWriteWords Uppercase
- iWriteWords Lowercase
- iWriteWords (Tracing Game)
- Coordination: Alphabetic, Animal SNAP!, Drum Kit, BubbleWrap
- Letters: ABC Match, Alphabetic, ABCs
- Numbers: Preschool Adventure
- Physics: Paper Toss
- Words: MPB: Spaghetti