The Joy of Reading is the latest educational app Seven Academy, developers of Busy Shapes, Tic Toc Time, Count up to Ten, and Discover Paris. The Joy of Reading was developed in conjunction with Dr. Robert Savage, an early reading specialist from McGill University. It is designed for children from 3-6 years old and includes 9 multi-level games to encourage early reading skills. A series of friendly animals guides them through each of the games.
It starts by working on phonics and phonemic awareness skills and progresses to tracing and recognizing letters (upper and lowercase), rhyming, blending, recognizing short and long vowel sounds, compound words, sight words and eventually reading. It has locked parents area where you can create individual child accounts and monitor their progress in each of the 9 areas. It also includes a parents handbook, which is worth downloading and reading.
1. Sounds and Letters
A squirrel is the child’s guide in this game. In the first level they have to listen to a sound and place apples with that sound in a basket. In level 2 they listen to a word and then feed the squirrel with apples labelled with the initial sound of that word. In the 3rd level they see pictures representing 3 words, tapping the pictures lets them hear the word, they then discard the picture whose word does not begin with their target sound.
2. Tracing Letters
In level 1 & 2 a mole guides the child as they use the correct stroke order to trace first an uppercase and then a lowercase of the same letter. In the 3rd level they identify upper and lowercase versions of the letter.
3. Initial Consonants
In levels 1&2 the child must match the initial sound first to a picture representing a word then to the written word (both have audio if tapped). In 3 & 4 the child must first identify words which don’t begin with the target sound and feed them to a paper shredder, then pick one word starting with the target sound from 4 choices.
4. Words That Rhyme
The child works on rhyme recognition by picking out words and pictures representing rhyming words, then they pick out non-rhyming words to feed to the shredder. Finally they pick out the correct initial sound for each of a series of rhyming words.
5. Learn to Blend
In level 1 & 2 a butterfly sounds out a word then changes the initial sound and asks the child to identify the new word, next the butterfly presents a word with one missing letter which the child must replace. Next the child has to pick out which words have the correct ending and discard those that don’t, and finally the child practices changing consonants in words to create new words.
6. Short to Long Vowels
First, the child learns to recognize short vs long vowel sounds when they feed letters to the snail to change a word. Next they hear words associated with pictures and need to pick out the words with long vowel sounds, finally they pick the long vowel words from a list.
7. Words Factory
Here they learn about compound words, first by chopping a word into 2 smaller words, then reconstructing it using pictures and words.
8. Sight Words
This section lets the child play with sight words and words added by a parent. They match 2 copies of the word, listen to the word being read and pick out its written version, and finally play a word matching game
9. Starting To Read
Here the child is given a sentence and a series of picture icons to choose from, they then select the right sequence of pictures to represent the sentence and attempt to read it.
The unique part of the Joy of Reading is that instead of working on each of these skills in isolation it uses simple words to link all the various games and skills together. The child starts in the Word House here they see a selection of pictures on the wall and they choose a familiar one to embark on their journey. For instance if they choose “Cap”, they will play games 1& 2 working on “c”,”a” and “p”. Once they have completed 1& 2 for all 3 sounds they earn a coin, which they can use in the word house to buy a new word to work on. The next word is one that rhymes with “cap” in this case they can choose “tap” or “sap”. They then work on “t” and ‘s”, which then unlocks games 3 & 4 where they can work on initial sounds and rhymes, using the sounds they have already worked on.
As they work through games 1-4 with more words they collect words until they have enough to unlock game 5 where they can work on blending and letter substitution using the words they have collected. Then they work on recognizing short and long vowel sounds.
After the child has collected a large enough collection of words they will unlock games 7, 8 & 9where they can learn about compound words, play with sight words and start to recognize sentences to read them.
At any time the child can return to the home screen and choose to replay any of the games they have already unlocked or look at the alphabet book. In the alphabet book they can hear sounds and words for each letter of the alphabet and they can also view the list of words they have unlocked. From their unlocked word list they can choose to replay any of the games associated with that word. Parents can also add words via the mailbox – these are treated as sight words and they can play sight word games with them. If common words are entered in to the custom word list the app recognizes them and automatically adds audio, for less common words e.g. the child’s name you can add your own audio.
There are a few things I would like to see changed in a future update: I noticed one place where there was an error- picking rhyming pictures for “leg” the choices were “sip”, “hip” and “pat”, obviously none were right so I was unable to complete that game. I did also find that the positioning of the words to put them in the shredder could be a little finicky- which may be frustrating for kids with poor fine motor skills. I found the praise after every correct response a little irritating, so it would be nice to have the option to switch this off, some kids respond well to this but others may do better without the constant praise.
Overall this is a great introduction to the basic building blocks of learning to read. I really like how it links the various skills together, and builds on what has been learned so that children can work on reading simple words and sentences relatively quickly.
The Joy of Reading
by EDOKI ACADEMY
Price: $3.99 USD
The Joy of Reading is a comprehensive collection of 9 multi-level games that are designed to encourage early reading. An array of colourful animals supports the child according to their readiness as they.
NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.