iSort Words

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  • iSort Words
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  • Last modified: January 24, 2014
  • Quality
    Editor: 100%
  • Education
    Editor: 100%
  • Entertainment
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  • Value
    Editor: 100%
  • Child Friendly
    Editor: 100%

Review Summary:

iSort Words is an excellent tool for practice with word families. It will build crucial speed with identifying words, it offers a wide array of rime patterns, and it’s fun.

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating: 5

Download on the App Store


iSort Words gives readers practice at rapid recognition of words, letter clusters, beginnings and endings. Since it’s crucial that students build speed at word recognition, this app will provide a fun avenue to build skills.

Features include:

  • Three games
  • Three levels of difficulty
  • Exploration mode
  • Records kept for multiple players
  • Troublesome words clearly listed


iSort Words is well-designed. Game play is entertaining and fast-paced, with ample opportunity for competition with friends or previous scores. The skills covered are vital for efficient reading, and the levels allow for a range of abilities and experience.  Users can even reset scores to begin again.

The Options panel gives users a lot of control over the look and feel of the activity, including the ability to turn sounds on or off, to turn music on or off, to turn tutorials on or off, or to reset the statistics.

Game authors also make good use of animation and color to show correct and incorrect responses.  For example, in the Speed Sort activity, correctly placed words turn green and incorrect responses turn red.  In the Swipe Sort activity, players must swipe their finger across words that match the target with the same ending letter cluster.  Swiping a correct word separates the onset from the rime.  Swiping an incorrect word does not cause such a separation, but the word turns red.


This app offers clean, fun practice with word analysis skills.  The focus is on onset/rime. The system is designed to build speed and accuracy with word recognition. There are three game activities of increasing complexity, each with three levels of word complexity and demanding increasing speed of response. There are over 70 word patterns covered, including long vowel spellings, short vowel spellings, diphthong spellings, and R-controlled vowel spellings. After each game, users (and teachers) can see a list of troublesome words that elicited incorrect responses or that had the slowest correct responses.

In addition, the app includes an exploration mode, where students can build words by choosing a word pattern and then placing consonants, digraphs and blends in front to create rhyming words.  This would be an excellent activity to practice rhyming word recognition as well as sound substitution.

The words formed at each level are a bit on the challenging side.  For example, level 1 words include words like “broil” and “forlorn.” It would be nice if the user or the teacher had a bit more control over the vocabulary used at each level, or could assign specific word patterns for students to practice. On the other hand, the words are all phonetically regular, and there is no reason a beginning reader would have trouble sounding them out. It would make a great vocabulary extension activity for many students.


iSort Words offers fast-paced sorting games that rely on the player’s ability to rapidly scan words and notice letter clusters that match.  The game-like feel to the app will appeal to older students, making this app especially useful for remedial readers.  Users can control the complexity of the task at each level, as well.  For example, the “Push Sort” level one activity demands that students identify words that match one of two given patterns.  By level three on the same activity, they must identify words that match one of four given patterns.

Users see statistics about scores, speeds and bonus points at the end of every game. For competitive players, high score records are kept for users.


For $1.99, users will get focused practice with thousands of words in over 70 different word families. The Exploration Mode and three games with three levels each will allow for growth and development between approximately first grade level and fifth grade level, and the clean, engaging platform makes the game perfect for remedial readers, as well.  This app is an excellent value for educators and anyone who needs to build skill and proficiency with word recognition.

Child Friendliness

This app can be easily used independently by nearly all elementary aged students as well as older students.  It is very child-friendly, with no advertising, in-app purchases, links to the internet or to social media.  The one suggestion for app designers would be to make it a little harder for unauthorized persons (i.e. other students) to access the records of their classmates, siblings or peers.  As it stands right now, students could see how others are performing with this app, and some may feel that information should be kept private in group settings.

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  1. Cassandra 2 years ago

    all gone

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  2. lindav 2 years ago

    AK76RWE9EYNR. Redeemed and thank you!!!

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  3. Nathalie 2 years ago

    Thank you!!

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  4. Best Apps for Kids 2 years ago

    Happy Dowloading!!! :)


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  5. Lance Merlino 2 years ago

    Sounds good, should give a try. Hope the new update is fine now. Is it available for free?

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  6. Milly 2 years ago

    Rime patterns? C’mon. I think I’ll pass on this one, seeing that the person writing the description can’t spell. RHYME!!!!

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    1. 2 years ago

      Ahh, but rime and rhyme are not the same – although they do in fact rhyme. I can see why it would be confusing, I would probably think the same thing too.

      What is a rime?
      A rime is the part of a syllable which consists of its vowel and any consonant sounds that come after it.

      For example:
      Word: split Rime: it
      Word: spoil Rime: oil

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    2. Jason Hanrahan 2 years ago

      Thanks for your comment Milly – it made me reflect on the most effective way in which to describe what iSort does and why it is important. I’ve done my fair share of teacher talk over the last 14 years and that isn’t always the best way to convey a message once I step outside my classroom!

      iSort teaches young readers to recognize common ending word patterns, called rimes. If a child recognizes the -ack rime, they can build many more words by simply changing the onset (st- sl- tr- etc). Through a series of games, this recognition is built and strengthened, laying the foundation for more advanced word study.

      Sorting words by common word patterns has been a staple in 1st and 2nd grade classrooms for a very long time. It’s an effective method, however boredom can set in quickly. iSort Words gamifies this whole process, allowing kids to get the repetition they need to develop fluency all while having a nice bit of fun.

      If you decide to give it a go, I would be most grateful for any feedback you might have! If you have any questions, please reach out!

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  7. Jason Hanrahan 2 years ago

    Thanks for an honest, straightforward review.

    I recently finished designing a major update that should take iSort to a whole new level. It will include a major expansion of Explore, including audio narration (voice of Shelley Baldiga) and a star tracking system.

    In addition, children will have the option to customize gameplay by choosing which families they want to practice. We will also be adding the ability to sort by sight, sound, or a combination of both.

    The talented team at Dactyl Studios is hard at work and we look forward to bringing our users a comprehensive and engaging tool that teaches kids how to build words.

    If you have comments or suggestions I’d love to hear from you!


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