Every year, about one month before school would let out, parents started knocking on my Kindergarten classroom door looking for answers to their questions about their child becoming a 1st grader. Understandably so! It’s a big transition for parents with their first child going into 1st grade. The parents (and the Kindergartners too) just wanted the inside scoop on what happens in 1st grade, to hear about getting homework, taking tests and having weekly spelling word lists.
Thinking about these moments made the timing of a new app popping up in my email much more exciting. One of KinderTown’s approved developers, Pyxwise Software, is releasing their newest “Simplex Spelling” app today. “Simplex Spelling Phonics 2 Syllables” is the app I wish I had in the classroom over the last few years to recommend to parents to use. It provides solutions to struggles both parents and teachers face. Also, as a reviewer, the app stands out in many ways as doing something different and valuable for our kids and families.
Speaking generally, this app is ideal for kids finishing up Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade. If you have a child decoding (sounding out) words and writing simple sentences without assistance, here are four reasons why you should download Simplex Spelling Phonics 2:
Simplex Spelling has a feedback method that rivals anything a teacher can do in the classroom. As you build words, letter by letter, the app marks your choice as “green” for correct, “blue with arrows” for correct letters in the wrong place and “red” for incorrect letters. There are no sounds and nothing bounces back to the bottom of the screen. Children are able to play around with the letters to successfully build words.
Need more support? Hints in the app are given through teaching moments. No answers are free in Simplex Spelling, but tools for problem solving without “telling” children what to do are plentiful. For example, every sound in each word is presented with a drop down column of all the letter combinations that make those sounds. This means kids not only get the resource of the correct choice, but are seeing and having the other phonics rules consistently reinforced. Brilliant!
Content is directly linked with classroom instruction “best practice”
Finding apps that suit the classroom is not an easy task. There are many apps that are good for free play and independent use. There are not nearly enough apps that directly relate to the specific educational experiences that we need. The Simplex Spelling apps do connect meaningfully with spelling and phonics instruction.
The app presents 54 lessons organized by specific phonics rules and patterns. If a teacher is creating their spelling list for the week they are able to organize their spelling words around the lists in Simplex Spelling. Kids can practice their words without a lot of extra setup work needed by the teacher. Parents can reinforce these word lists at home on an app their child will want to play, which gives them one more way to create a meaningful experience for an abstract concept that young children often struggle with.
Who remembers all the phonics rules but teachers? A great resource for parents to break through the “teacher knowledge” barrier
Apps that help parents teach their own children puts big smiles on the faces of everyone at KinderTown. There’s a lot of press about parents just handing over the iPad to their kids – but we see that as only part of the story. Parents have been giving their kids blocks, crayons and balls for generations and no one is questioning it. Of course you give your child an iPad to use during parts of their day, it’s the toy of their generation. Why is there is so much judgement?
Parents check homework, listen to frustrations and successes their children have in school, and support their child throughout their entire early years. It makes me frustrated, as an educator, to see parents not be included more in how their child is learning. Simplex Spelling is an app that understands that what teachers are taught in their training programs is knowledge that should be shared with parents too. Each of the 54 lessons has a short phonics lesson and complete word list that gets parents involved in the learning. All the knowledge is given to the user so they can apply it on and off the app.
Features, Features, Features
Here are a list of just 10 of the many features:
- Multiple children can log in
- Parents and teachers can view a child’s progress in the app
- Teaching moments are built into the content
- Work on “practice” or “mastery”
- Every word is presented in a sentence
- Doesn’t shy away from challenging and long words that make kids proud to accomplish!
- No external links
- Settings for letter case, keyboard, volumes…and more
Enjoy using Simplex Spelling Phonics 2 and watching your child blossom with this excellent phonics and spelling experience.
Carolina Nugent | Education Director | KinderTown