Thursday, November 13, 2014

Best FREE apps for phonics: Practice correct pronunciation with Phonzy


Bottom Line: Phonics with Phonzy is a brand new app designed to demonstrate the correct pronunciation of all phonetic sounds and encourage users to practice them aloud. Sounds can be recorded for playback so that parents and teachers can monitor the child’s progress. There are fun games and activities sprinkled in to reward and encourage users. The beginning price of FREE makes this an app that is definitely worth trying.

If you’d like to download Phonics with Phonzy from MeowTek (FREE, iPhone/iPad), please use the handy link provided so they know who sent you:
Itunes link

NO Ads IAP YES ExLinks
No ads, no in-app purchases, external links in protected parent area


IMG_0875Phonics with Phonzy is an early literacy educational app designed to help children learn to recognize and correctly pronounce phonetic sounds. Phonzy uses a lot of positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise and rewarding activities to encourage users to participate.
First off, I have to admit to y’all, I was indescribably excited when I heard I got to review an app with the main character named Phonzy . . . because my brain heard it as “Fonzie” and I had visions of a leather-jacketed fella that is the epitome of cool. What I found instead was a spunky little green guy who enthusiastically demonstrates the pronunciation of phonetic sounds and words. And if I can’t have my leather-clad childhood crush, the little green guy is not a bad substitute.
IMG_0878Phonzy introduces us to phonetic sounds in batches of six. With each new sound, Phonzy exhibits the correct pronunciation and then waits for the user to repeat it back to him. Phonzy then presents a word that uses the same phonetic sound, pausing afterward for user response. After completing six such pairings, the user is rewarded with a fun activity like making silly faces or silly sounds with Phonzy.
The app presents seven sets of six sounds. There is the option to just “play” or there is the option to “listen,” which records the user's responses for teachers or parents to review later. In the parent section, multiple users can be set up, and each user’s progress can be tracked separately.
IMG_0876What I liked:
  • Cute, engaging character (even without a leather jacket) that encourages the user to participate with lots of praise and reassurance.
  • User interface is simple for kids of all ages.
  • Having games spaced out at short intervals gives the user something to work towards.
What I might change:
  • While it is great that Phonzy encourages users to practice aloud, I found it a little disconcerting that the little guy clapped and cheered no matter what sounds were made or words were said. I know that in their iTunes description the developer addresses the fact that Phonzy doesn’t yet identify incorrect pronunciations, but that doesn't make it any less bewildering. And when an unsupervised eight-year-old boy discovers that he can say random words or sounds and still have Phonzy give him a pass, well, you might just end up with a bunch of gibberish or bodily function noises recorded when you go back to listen to the sounds. I hope this is something the developer will be addressing.
  • I think that it would be a real plus if there were multiple words for each phonetic sound so that in repeated playings the user would end up with different examples. We often find in our house that various examples of whatever we are trying to teach help to drive an idea home.
While there is definitely some room for improvement, Phonics with Phonzy still has the makings of a very useful learning tool for early literacy skills, particularly at the introductory price of FREE. This is a good, solid four star app that makes me look forward to more from this developer.
Kelli still has a fondness for black leather jackets that she attributes to the influence of Arthur Fonzarelli. was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.

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