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When I saw the Wordsters app, I thought this would be perfect to try out with my 7 year old beginning reader and 5 year old who is just learning the very basics of phonics. This is a cute and nicely put together app, with a lot of visual appeal for kids. My kids are both really enjoying it. The phonics element is very basic – each “level” or section has a single word, and it’s basically like a drag and drop puzzle to put the letters into the outline of the word. Each letter (or sometimes a group of letters) repeats its own phonic sound while it is being dragged. This does have some learning benefit, but I had been hoping that there would be more in depth activities with respect to learning the phonics or spelling of the words. Since the word is already spelled out on the screen, it’s really just a matching exercise.
With that said, I feel that the charm of the app is in the fun little games and activites that accompany many of the words. For example, once the word “cat” is spelled out, it lets my kids access a cute activity with a cat that can be brushed, washed, fed, and dressed up in wacky outfits. There is also a music box, which when turned on makes the cat start dancing. You can see some of this in this video:
Some of the special “racetrack” levels have more complicated words, which I would not really expect a young kid to be able to read or even be familiar with (like “prototype”), although it is nice that I was seeing that my 7 year old was picking up some of the vocabulary, since it does give a spoken definition for each word.
In order to get the full featured version of the app, you have to go into the parent’s screen to do the purchase. As part of a promotion, I was given the code to enter, but I’m assuming that when you pay you get a similar code. One thing I feel the need to mention is that unlike many games in which you sign in via e-mail or Google Play Games in order to save your account, there doesn’t seem to currently be any such feature here. Usually if I pay for an unlocked version of an app, I can install it on both of our tablets (so both of my kids can use it at the same time), but here I’ve only been able to get the full version on one device. I’m a bit concerned that we’re hoping to get a new tablet with upcoming holiday sales and I’m not sure how I can get the full version onto the new device!
All in all I’d say that this is a nicely done app with a bit of learning value and a lot of fun. My kids are really enjoying it, and that is obviously a huge plus.
I’m very glad that I was able to receive the full version of this app as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.