Pocket Sight Words

Quality
Education
Entertainment
Value
Child Friendly
Summary
Pocket Sight Words provides a simple and effective way to practice recognition of 220 sight words from the Dolch List. It has few bells and whistles, which results in a very intuitive interface that should be apparent to preschoolers and kindergarteners in the target age group, but also is not likely to be exciting or intriguing for most children in this age group.
4.3

App Info

Price: $1.99
AppStore User Rating:
Download on the App Store

Overview

Pocket Sight Words is a simple app that will help young or struggling readers practice recognition of basic sight words from the Dolch list. The words are presented in isolation and embedded in simple sentences (designed by kindergarten teachers). The app includes an interactive exercise requiring players to find the spoken word from a list of distractors. It keeps point scores based on the number of words correctly selected in the interactive exercise and automatically advances when all words on the list are selected accurately.

Features include:

  • Includes 220 sight words presented in order from the Dolch List
  • Integrates audio prompts and examples throughout the app
  • Features brightly-colored illustrations for many words and sentences
  • Clear voice over saying the words and sentences with Australian accent
  • Sight words presented in groups of five for improved mastery

Quality

Pocket Sight Words is a high quality app that provides practice with 220 basic sight words appropriate for young children or struggling readers. The app is easy to use and intuitive, with a simple “find the word” interactive activity to check progress. Developers did a good job of making the app simple and straight forward; there are few bells and whistles, but the meat of the system will help readers master basic sight word recognition.

Education

Pocket Sight Words presents 220 words from the Dolch lists in order beginning with the preprimer list. The words are presented in groups of five, and sectioned into units of five groups. The slow, even rate of presentation is a plus for most students. The introductory section for each group presents the word in written form, and if students tap the microphone icon, they can hear the word pronounced. Touching the magnifying glass icon on the screen shows a sentence with the word used in context and again, a microphone icon that begins a recorded version of the sentence. Once all five words in the group have been previewed in this manner, the app presents a screen with a target word and distractors. The word is spoken aloud, and the student is expected to tap the matching written version. Any errors on this segment will force the student to repeat the section rather than allow him or her to progress to the next list.

Pocket Sight Words uses basic principles of learning to tap into critical memory skills to encourage sight word recognition. It would be better, perhaps, if the app automatically voiced each word in the practice sessions. As it stands, however, users can quickly tap through the practice segment without getting the auditory versions and move on to the more game-like portion of the system. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on the student and his or her needs.

I also feel this app is somewhat limited in the type of practice it provides. Matching a spoken word to a list of possibilities is a very different skill than reading a word outright, and such recognition is not necessarily indicative of the ability to recognize the word without prompting. Developers should look into including several types of games that require increasing complexity of response, such as sentences with missing words, typing or writing a word from oral prompt, and so forth.

Entertainment

This app plays a pleasant tone and a vocal praise when words are selected correctly on the interactive portion. It awards points for each correctly selected word, as well, and when all words are selected correctly from the lesson, it advances to the next level automatically, unlocking new content. All in all, it’s pleasant, but not particularly exciting, which again might be a good thing for some learners, and not enough motivation for others.

Value

Pocket Sight Words definitely achieves the goal it sets out to accomplish, which is to provide recognition practice with sight words. It costs $1.99 on the App Store, which is a reasonable price, and covers 220 basic words that all readers need to master quickly. It is definitely worth the money for families where several children will use it, or in classroom settings where multiple children will use the app. However, some children are likely not to find it particularly interesting or exciting, and may become bored with it before accessing most of its content.

Child Friendliness

This app, while intended for young children, has an unprotected link to email and one to Facebook on its front page. Developers should seriously consider putting these links behind an effective parent gate, as there are certainly some ambitious youngsters who will check them out without parental permission.

  • NO 3rd party ads
  • NO in-app purchase
  • YES “unprotected social media and support links on front page”

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