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.
Three levels of difficulty
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.
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.