The Ladybird ‘I’m ready for phonics’ app is, in my opinion, an absolute gem that captures a child’s imagination and make learning so much fun. This app, which is available for iPads through the App Store, can be used as a standalone resource or works as a wonderful complementary tool alongside the other ‘I’m ready for phonics’ products that Ladybird offers, including Big Books and flashcards.
When you launch the App, it’s very bright and engaging and immediately catches children’s interest. I used this with my 2 year old toddler, my 3 year pre-school niece and also with a class of very excitable Year 1’s, who all were eager to find out more!
The initial screen allows you to create several individual accounts so that children of different abilities can work at their own rate and their progress will be saved.
The app is extensively packed with interactive activities that are organised into twelve levels, each represented by their own planet. Captain Comet zooms around in his spaceship (which the younger children seem to particularly enjoy) and gives out stars as each task is accomplished. The app is designed so that children work through the levels systematically, with the next level only unlocking when the child is ready. There is an ability to unlock all levels, but I would stick to having them locked for secure, steady progression.
At the very start of the app, the Level 1 task is for children to ‘Say the Sounds’. There are three activities for each letter of the alphabet and each phoneme is modelled before children can choose a word that starts with that sound. As each letter can be revisited as many times as needed, there are many opportunities for working on tricky sounds to build confidence.
As children move onto the other levels, more varied tasks become available. In most of the levels there are the following tasks: Funky Phonemes, Brilliant Blending, Super Segmenting and Tricky Words. In the right hand corner of the screen, Captain Comet is always present to click on for information on the various available tasks. He also explains clearly what the different terminology (phoneme, grapheme, blending etc.) means, which is very helpful for parents who are new to phonics.
Funky Phonemes focuses on individual phonemes and how they are pronounced. Children can tap on the grapheme to hear the phoneme out loud and also have the option to watch a video where you can see how this sound is made. Younger children are fascinated by the videos and thoroughly enjoy copying and recording their own sounds via the in-app record function to aid their enunciation.
In the Brilliant Blending section, there are words based on the phonemes the child will have encountered in the previous levels. They are encouraged to blend the phonemes and click on the picture that matches. Super Segmenting focuses on reorganising jumbled up phonemes to make words that match pictures and Tricky Words introduces high frequency words.
As the app progresses, blends are introduced and tasks get progressively more difficult. Towards the very end of the levels, there are various challenges and the ‘Perfect Pronunciation’ and ‘Supersonic Spellings’ focus on more complex blends that reflect work covered towards the end of Key Stage 1.
This is a brilliant app that is bursting at the seams with so many activities. It captured the attention of every child I have used it with and the star reward system is a wonderful way to register achievements and children love to see their progress. I would highly recommend this to anyone with a preschool/ KS1 child as something that can be done little and often at home to supplement their learning.