ABC Pocket Phonics
To begin with a confession: I have not used iPads with Young Learners as much as I could have or possibly should have. The idea of using them with a class of 6-7 year-old absolute beginners was not one I would have entertained until I recently started to make a more concerted effort to become ‘digitally engaged’.
ABC Pocket Phonics is an app I found that teaches YLs to identify, form, say, and blend phonics to form short words. I was attracted to this partly because teaching phonics is something that some people find challenging and partly because I wanted to try out a different kind of classroom resource.
In ABC Pocket Phonics children are taught to write each phonic by touching the screen before learning to blend by listening to prompts and choosing the right letter to form words.
You can choose between American and British voices, you can decide to focus solely on sounds or words or both together, and you can choose different writing styles
How can it be used in class?
The first thing to say is that it doesn’t have to be used in class as the app seems to be designed for parents at home. When I used it with a class of fourteen YLs recently, we focused on review and blending as the students had met the sounds before. The children took turns to write and blend using the app before repeating the same activity with paper and a pencil and my own verbal prompts.
Variety – it’s good to have another resource to choose from – especially a multi-sensory one such as this
Responsibility – the children I taught took turns to use the iPad and behaved very responsibly as they did so
Motivation – the children enjoyed forming letters on the touch-screen and interacting with the sounds and pictures
Things to consider
Longevity – I haven’t used this app in its entirety but it seems that the phonic blends tend to be the same each time even if the order can vary
Groupings – the order of the phonics presented may vary from the order you have taught them in which means it may be most useful for students who have already encountered most of the phonics in class.
I won’t use ABC Pocket Phonics in every lesson but I will use it from time to time and recommend others to try it out. If anyone knows of any other useful phonics apps out there, it’d be great to hear about them.
Using iPads with 6 year olds? Why not give it a try?