Happy Homemaker: Phonics and Reading with McGuffey for Android/Kindle Fire

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey for Android/Kindle Fire

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

   photo literacysoftlogo_zpse50d3f3c.jpg

   Learning to read is one of the most important milestones in our journey to learn. We use reading to do just about everything in life from driving to ordering what food we want to eat while we are out. We read labels on food, item names on price tags, store signs when shopping, books for pleasure, directions for building things. We read for entertainment, learning, homework, day to day living, and even while we drive down the street. (what would happen if someone were colorblind AND couldn't read the word STOP?)

It is also true that teaching our children to read is not always an easy feat. There are times when our children need extra help outside of school and beyond our reach. Some concepts are easy, others, can be mind boggling, even to a parent who knows how to read and has a good grasp on phonics. It isn't because we are not good enough, but because our children, just like us, learn differently and sometimes it is hard to wrap ones head around and figure out.

 The great thing is, there is a program out there that can help. In fact, it is so well made it can teach a child to read short sentances and simple phonics in just 54 lessons! (plus a bonus lesson) This program, Phonics and Reading with McGuffey, is actually in application form and can be found for any device including, Kindle, Android devices, Mac, PC, Ipod, Ipad, and can be purchased in the Itunes store, Play Store, and on Amazon.com.


 Phonics and Reading with McGuffey has been a God-send in our house. My daughter (5) has struggled to learn the basics of reading for almost a year now. We have worked on it, a concept at a time, one fight at a time for over ten months now. I admit, I was a skeptic. I tried this program for myself before letting my daughter tried it and was convinced it would be too difficult and offer to many concepts to learn at one time in one lesson.

 To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong! Within a week of using this program (she has repeated a couple lessons for memory sake) she is finally able to sit down in class and sound out words, she is even reading short, four word sentences now! Yeah, to a point it makes me feel like I was in adequate, but at the same time, we found something for her that works! She begs to play her reading game and has been able to do her classwork more confidently and without getting overwhelmed which is what was happening before.

 Navigating through the lessons is super easy as well. You can start your child where they left off or repeat a lesson simply by using the lesson menu. This is helpful for review and if it takes more than one day to finish a lesson. It is also useful if your child wants to repeat it for fun or wants to choose which lesson they work on. (though it works best in chronological order)


The very first thing that is addressed in each lesson is a list of letters. It starts out short and works it way from there to have more letter/more difficult letter sounds. Above you will see the letter sound a for apple for lesson one and the x for xylophone for lesson 53. When the child touches the letter (chosen out of a list) the application will sound out the letter and then say it in the word. For example, for a the application will say a-a-apple and for x, the application will say x-x-xylophone. The child has the opportunity to hear the letter both by itself and in a word helping them to better grasp first letter sounds.


 Not only does the application sound out the letter and add it to the starting sound of a word (a-a-apple) and show it in letter/picture form, but it then goes on to say it one more time, this time showing it as it is being said. The child then has the opportunity to repeat it and see how their mouth should move when saying a letter/word. This is especially good for visual learners, and can even be beneficial for those with speech delays as well.    

This app works on spelling, sounding out words, and forming sentences in several different ways. It also works repetitively to teach children how to read each word in the lesson and ultimately remember the word later on. One of the ways the app does this is through word forming. They have the child put the vowel into the middle and add two consonants of their choice. The app sounds it out as each letter is added. So, if they add the a first it will say the a sound, then when they add the c it will say ca and so on. Here can was spelled out so it sounds it out c-a-n, can.

 This is especially successful because it allows the child to freely choose what letters they use and in what order and it sounds it out as they go so they are learning without even truly realizing it. This is one of my daughters favorite parts of the game. If I were to let her, she would sit and form new words for hours, of course, I'm the "mean" mommy who says she needs to move on after about 30 minutes. :)  


 Another way they work on sounding skills and putting words together to form sentences together is through practice. The app starts with short two word sentences then moves on to five words and goes from there. (see the difference between lesson one and lesson 53 above) The great part is if the child can not figure out what the word is on their own, all they need to do is swipe their finger across the word they aren't able to get and the application will sound it out for them. They can do it for one word or the whole sentence, but they don't move on until they want to or until they get it so it allows them to grasp the concept of sounding out words and sentence structure all at the same time. (2 for 1!)


 Each lesson has quizzes throughout that test the child/student's ability to do/understand what they just learned. The first quiz gives a choice of letters and asks the student to choose the letter that makes the particular sound they make. So, for example, if they want them to choose r, they say, choose the letter that says rrr as in rock. Once the student chooses a picture will come across either happy or sad letting them know if they got the answer right or not. Due to the nature of the app, the child can always repeat this section until they get it correct if they want to.


 Later, the app tests the child on spelling. This quiz works on sounding out words, reading, and spelling all in one shot. It starts out simple (as seen in picture one of lesson one) asking for three letter word spellings and works its way up to harder words with more letter choices. (as seen in picture two of lesson 53) The app offers a repeat option, so if the child starts spelling the word, but needs help hearing it sounded out or needs it repeated, they can use that button and hear the word said over for them.


  This quiz is by far my daughter's favorite quiz. It simply offers three options, sounds out a word, and asks the child to choose the right word. This is one of the more difficult activities but it also works the child's brain and really tests their knowledge of the words and their ability to spell/read them. My daughter loves that when she gets it right the train toots it's horn. It has really motivated her to pay attention and get it right.   Overall, this application is well put together and really works to help children learn to read. My daughter has even started sounding out words when we are out, whether it's at a restaurant or getting groceries. Her thirst to learn how to read has been created and I am so happy to help quench the thirst and see her so excited to learn again. Reading is no longer a time when we argue whether she's going to do a letter sound blending activity or not, but a time when she sees what's in front of her and truly GETS IT!

The longer she uses this program the better she does and that is not an ability or accomplishment on her part that I would trade for the world. I love seeing her happy and excited to learn and doing well at it. I highly recommend this application to any parent wanting to help teach their child how to read and also for teachers and home schooling families. With it's ability to store up to 10 student's progress, it is a great program to use in classrooms for the struggling readers. It will truly help and also leave time to work on other things such as math, science, and nap time. ;) (yes, I am kidding about nap time...sort of LOL) It's great for home schoolers, especially those with multiple children in the house because they can play on this app while you work with another child. (little to no help needed!) I truly love and recommend this app.

 If you aren't sure it's the right application for you, try the Lite version. It is free and there is nothing to lose! If it doesn't work for you or if it isn't a good fit in your home/classroom, just uninstall it. But I can almost guarantee you will want to buy the full version and use the full program. I know I did-and I will not trade it for the world or regret one thing about it. So check it out-what are you waiting for? Your child's path to reading starts the moment you hit "Install!"

 Product Description:
  • fun and memorable animations
  • "phonics blender": combine graphemes (letters) together and hear what it sounds like with a human announcer.
  • Phonics Drill: flash cards for learning the letter sounds
  • Classic American textbook that emphasizes human values of honor, charity, and kindness
  • Sight word drilling and guided spelling
  Phonics and Reading With McGuffey is a unique computer based training approach to teaching beginning literacy skill. It is based in part on the classic McGuffey primer text book. The purpose of the software is more instruction than it is entertainment. It was designed to help struggling and at risk students. What makes the approach of Phonics and Reading different?

• Systematic approach to learning • Does not patronize older students
• Offers drills for phonics (graphemes)
 • Phonics blender allows students to experiment with what they have learned
• Designed to be used by people that cannot read (Lots of audio based interface help)
• Self administered quizzes
• Tracks the progress of multiple students
 • Makes the sometimes difficult task of learning to read, fun. Phonics and Reading is like a tutor, available 24/7, in a box. If you want your child to learn phonics while you yourself do not know it, this software will be of great help.

 There are 52 lessons and a review bonus section. A table of contents section makes it easy to get from part to part in the program. Up to 10 students can use and share the app each with their own bookmarks and settings. There is a help link directly in the app and a help file you can use to familiarize yourself with the Phonics and Reading With McGuffey teaching process.  

  Where to Buy:

http://www.amazon.com/Phonics-Reading-With-McGuffey-I/dp/B00BAVA756 (Now $9.99 Regularly $19.99)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.literacysoft.PhonicsAndReadingWithMcGuffeyLite (Free)

 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.literacysoft.PhonicsAndReadingWithMcGuffey ($9.99)      


 *You can also find this app for Ipad, Ipod, Mac, and PC (use Google to locate or search the Itunes store)

  I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.