AppStore User Rating:
Monster ABC provides practice with matching beginning sounds of words to letters. Players must spin wheels to place the correct letter next to the picture of a word that begins with the corresponding sound.
- Learning level provides beginning practice
- Two challenge modes offer more difficult tasks
- Amusing monsters and reward system make game play interesting
- Initial Sound Table available free of charge
The Monster ABC app is a fun way to help young learners practice beginning letter sounds. The app offers many advantages, including a lot of control over sounds, presentation and more. It is easy to use, and the interface is well within the capabilities of most preschoolers and young elementary students. However, there is at least one minor glitch in the software that causes the voice to interject the word “Mouse” at apparently random times before reading the correct answer on the screen. It sounds as though the mouse picture has been touched, but the error occurs even when the mouse has not been touched and sometimes when the mouse is not even on the screen. This can be a bit confusing and detracts somewhat from the app’s overall quality.
Monster ABC is a very good way to help young children master beginning letter sounds. The developers have included several high-quality features in the system that will benefit young learners. Many letters have multiple pictures to represent the same sound, such as both a car and a cat to match to the C sound. The app does include both hard and soft sounds of C and G, which can be an advantage for more mature students, but might cause some confusion for less experienced ones. It also includes digraphs /sh/, /qu/, /ch/, /ph/, /th/ and /wh/, as well as the long and short sounds of each of the five vowels. This also can be good for more experienced students but possibly confusing for less experienced ones. It might be good to give parents the option of turning those particular sounds on and off so the app would be more useful to the very young as well as the older students.
One unusual feature is that letters are not named in this app. When a child makes a match between letter and picture, the voice over gives a verbal affirmation, then makes the letter sound and repeats the name of the picture. So rather than reinforcing the letter name (“A as in APPLE”) it effectively reinforces the initial sound (“/A/ as in APPLE”. Letters enclosed by the slant lines indicate the sound is made instead of the letter name being voiced). There has been much debate over whether struggling learners should be expected to learn letter names, or should make the jump directly from the printed form to the sound.
One problem with the app is that a few sounds are not standard for an American audience. The short A sound, for example, is pronounced like the /aw/ sound in “saw.” The short I sound in “igloo” is voiced as /eee/. X is represented by “xylophone”, and voiced with a /z/ sound, which is not its most common sound, either.
Monster ABC is quite entertaining and will appeal to its young audience. Users are rewarded after every correct match in the instructional level with a verbal affirmation. The more challenging levels dispense with this in the interest of making quicker matches. The Learning Mode requires users to spin wheels to match letters with pictures having the same initial sound. As matches are made, both the matched letter and its picture disappear. The Silver mode presents letters and words, but there are letters and pictures that do not match on the wheels. When a combination is matched correctly, it disappears and is replaced by another picture and letter that may or may not match. One minute is provided to make as many matches as possible. The Gold mode offers the same challenge, but allows five seconds to make a match.
Successful completion of matches adds up to unlock new monsters. Players can visit the Monster Meadow at any time to see their collection. The sound effects are delightful and the monsters are very cute and cuddly-looking. To keep things interesting, the monsters appear in the game play, and one of them can mess players up. High score records are also available so your player can try to improve.
This app is a wonderful value for preschoolers and young elementary students who need to practice letter sounds and initial sounds. The three levels of difficulty will challenge users for quite a long time, and the app’s entertainment value will keep them coming back for more practice.
This app is very child-friendly. There are no outside advertisements. There are links to social media, the iStore for related purchases or ratings, and email, but they are well-protected by a system requiring parents to read and follow directions. The app can be switched to German by an adult, but it is very unlikely that a child could do so by accident.