Word Grab Phonetics is a delightful early phonics app for toddlers and preschool-aged children from the developers at Bellamon, known for their wonderfully stylized educational apps.
This app contains two section, ABC Words and Rhyme Time, each revolving around a friendly white abominable snowman-like monster who lives at the bottom of the screen.
In ABC Words, the monster holds an image of an object in question, such as a picture of a train, ice or van. Then look center screen to choose the letter that corresponds to the picture word, and then the picture word is used in a sentence.
Rhyme Time is similar, but instead of the use of single letters, one is looking to find the first letter of a short word, as the last letters are offered, along with a shaded hint of the letter one is looking for.
I find it charming that there are so many different ways of delivering the letter choices found center screen, such as floating through space, found on a moving train, being held up by prairie dogs, or found in birds' nests as letter eggs, which are now being warmed by a variety of birds.
It is also cute and fun how after three words are complete, players are given the treat of interacting with a fun, animated scene involving the monster and a treat that he pulls out of his hat as well as seeing how this monster feeds himself the correct letter choices.
I do love all of the artful touches found in Bellamon apps, as here textures are used throughout along with paper art-inspired objects or animals that here move around the screen to add richness to this colorful phonics application. Also included is appealing music that parents will not mind listening to as they explore letters with their children.
Word Grab Phonics contains a nice selection of options one will find in the setting section of their device including whether or not to include things like letter case choices, word order, or word difficulty such as simple words, blending constants or the use of a silent E, as well as all the different letter variations available - great for families or teachers who want to just focus on a few letters at a time.
I am happy to have found an app that can be made more advanced for children truly on the verge of reading, as the most basic phonics sounds have already been mastered by my five year old, yet it is mainly the beginner sounds that are the focus of most apps like this.
It would be nice, however, to include an image of the word one is trying to complete in the Rhyme Time section as well as to be able to tap the last letters of the word one is trying to finish to hear these sounds if needed as well. Without access to these types of hints is too easy to just copy the shaded letter hint that one is looking for instead of focusing on the word one is trying to complete.
It also would be appreciated if I could turn off the celebratory cheering of children after every word game is complete as this sound becomes grating very quickly. It is possible to fully turn off the sound effects to this app, but I adore the monster noises and other sounds found in the app and don’t want to mute them, so it would be great if there were a separate option to silence the cheering which I can personally do without.
Even with these notes, I am happy point out how quickly my son took to Word Grab Phonics, making this a great application for toddlers through preschool-aged children.