Bud’s Rhyming Words offers three practice games to help beginning readers learn to recognize rhymes and word families. The games are increasingly complex, providing new challenges and new words to explore.
Three games with increasing complexity
Focus on word families at the lower levels
Records kept for multiple students
Wide range of vocabulary used
Challenge level using rhyming words with different spellings
Bud’s Rhyming Words is very comprehensive in its treatment of rhyming and word families. Beginning with simple activities focused on basic word families and progressing through increasingly complex exercises to finding rhymes with different spelling patterns is a great way to help young readers explore these phonics and word attack concepts. The Word Families activity is first, where users can see and hear words in the chosen family, then match pictures. All of the words at this level are part of the same family. The “Pick and Click” level announces a key word and challenges users to find the one rhyme from a choice of six pictures. The “Catch and Match” activity offers three levels of complexity, ranging from easy and medium that use the words previously introduced to the hard level that contains unique words that rhyme but do not belong to the same word family. This level also includes distractors with similar spelling but differing pronunciation, such as “blow” and “now.” It’s an excellent ending activity that will challenge even experienced learners.
The one concern is that there is no apparent way to repeat the key word if the user did not hear it in the first place, and no way to discover what the pictures might be without choosing incorrectly. One possible solution would be to set up a two-click system, where the first touch of the screen would say the word out loud and the second would choose it. As is, many users will find it frustrating if they cannot identify a given picture or if they misidentify a picture.
Bud’s Rhyming Words is a pleasant app. Correct answers are rewarded with random verbal praises, and if a student happens to choose an incorrect response, the prompt is to “keep trying” or similar message. The first two levels use falling confetti to reward completion of an exercise, which could get a bit boring after a few rounds. The “Catch and Match” level is animated and requires the user to use arrow buttons to move the diver up and down to catch the desired word on one of three levels. This is a bit challenging to do without accidentally catching an incorrect word along the way, which takes away accuracy points. Spacing the words more widely might help with this problem. The final reward at this level is a picture of a treasure chest, which may not be too thrilling for young users. Developers may want to consider adding some animations or perhaps even opening up a brief game section to reward completion of the levels.
This app is a good value for students who need extra practice on rhyming or word families. It is very focused and simple to use, so it would be perfect for special needs students. It also provides a lot of practice on the skill, which is a real plus. If you are looking for a way to practice just the skills related to word families and rhyming without a lot of distractions, it’s a good choice. However, if your student needs more comprehensive skills practice without such a defined focus, there are other apps in this price range that offer practice with more skills.
However, there are unprotected accesses to an email link in several places in this app. Each time a level is completed, and whenever a student presses the prize cup icon on the upper right corner, a scorecard is displayed with a button to email it to a teacher. Pressing the email button opens an email with blank address, and the score card in the body of the message. This should not be accessible to students, but should be protected in some fashion.