Saturday, October 19, 2013
Review: SnapWordsA — Learn, play, and be quizzed on visual sight words
Bottom Line: A wonderful sight word app that uses visuals, games, and rewards to engage a learner in memorizing sight words for reading. It has a variety of game options to practice the words, but it has a limited number of words and levels. Although the words are basic sight words, this app can be engaging for older children who are struggling readers.
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If you are a teacher or a parent and want to use this app with a class, you can download SnapWordsAClassroom (iPad/iPhone, $24.99) to have more than one student profile by clicking on this handy dandy link:
External link to developer's website located in the "about" section. The developers are working on future lists and it is unknown at this time if those will be different apps or available as in-app purchases.
I am currently working on kindergarten sight words with some of my 1st grade students and one of my 6th grade struggling readers. I began the hunt to find a visual way to help my students remember the sight words. A friend recommended cards made by Child1st that provide a visual within the sight word itself. While checking out the cards on their site, I found that there was an app with the first set of words. I decided to get SnapWordsAClassroom, so I could use it with more than one student.
The first child who used this app was my 6th grader. I was really worried that he would think it was babyish, but he quickly fell in love with the app. After using it for one week and working on these words through different activities, he grew 11 words on his next sight word assessment.
Whether you're using SnapWordsA for one child or SnapWordsAClassroom for many, the process is the same. Each child can be given a profile to continue through the process of learning the words. There are 59 words in this app, broken into five levels.
Each level of SnapWordsA and SnapWordsAClassroom has three parts. First, the child studies the words, which are just like the flashcards I had originally looked at, but even more interactive. The word shows up with the visual embedded in it as the word is read aloud to the child. Then the visual fades, leaving just the word. Once the word is alone on the screen, a sentence with the word in it shows up at the bottom of the screen to be read aloud. A green arrow allows the child to repeat the word before it automatically moves on to the next word. The slideshow speed can be changed in settings.
One thing that I wish this app had is a section with all the words as flashcards for teaching and reviewing with. I would like to be able to introduce the words to the children with the app and be able to practice them as a whole group. There is no way to access all the word flashcards in one area, though.
Once a child has learned the words with the flashcards, he moves to the game section. There are six different games to choose from: Bingo, Go Fish, ABC Order, Missing Words, Rhyme, and Word Genie. This is the area that differentiates the learning for different kids and different levels. The 6th grader I used the app with loved the Bingo, Go Fish, and Missing Words games, while my 1st graders loved the majority of them. A child can play games as many times as he needs.
Coins are earned for playing games successfully. These coins can be used to buy stickers that are added to a sticker scene. The child can go into the scene and move the stickers around to complete a picture on a given setting. Each level has a different background setting.
The last section is the quiz section. Each quiz shows four words. Noah, the squirrel, says a word, and the child must pick the correct one. All answers on the quiz must be correct to move on to the next level. Once a child moves on, he or she can go back to previous levels to play more games or review.
This app would be five stars for me with a couple of additions to it. First of all, as I mentioned, I would like the complete set of flashcards in one section. I would also like to have a teacher's area on the classroom version, where I can see what a child has completed. Due to a child not being able to move on to the next level without passing a quiz, I can easily see what quizzes they have passed, but I would like to see how many times they took the quiz before passing. I would like to see how much they are practicing before taking the quiz. This is a great app to use in centers, but I would like to be able to track the use of it a little more.
Child1st Publications is working on more word lists for apps. I do not know if they will be separate apps or in-app purchases. I am hoping that we will be able to purchase additional word lists and levels as in-app purchases to add on levels to current student profiles. I believe this would be more beneficial than having separate apps.
My students and I have had the most fun with this sight word app. I am impressed that it appeals to such a wide age range, that the words are so well represented visually, and that such a wide variety of games is offered.
Heather S. has loved the excitement this app has brought to her students. Her 6th grade student has completed Level 5 already, and he is anxiously awaiting new word lists. SmartAppsForKids.com received a free copy of this app for review purposes. No other compensation was provided.
Review first posted on Smart Apps for Kids.