Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop
by Marcel Widarto
Years ago an educator shared with those participating in a professional development course that our brains are filled with file folders. Inside such folders are memories, experiences and informational facts. As adults and children, we pull or sort through these file folders on a daily basis. This visualization has stuck with me over the years as I fill my own 6 year olds filing system. Upon entering kindergarten this year, my son’s teacher indicated that he would be expected to know 25 sight words by June. Sight word acquisition is a critical building block as preschoolers to first graders learn to read. Amazingly, children that are familiar with Dolch’s word lists will have access to 75% of what is printed in most pieces of children literature. As a parent or teacher, what strategies do you implement to support your child on the road to reading? A large number of homes and schools are equipped to introduce and reinforce sight words but are their efforts fun? With the popularity of implementing mobile devices in various environments, there are a number educational apps in the App Store which support this concept. However, how many actually create informative reports for both parents and educators? Developer, Marcel Widarto looks to teach 200+ sight words through games, Sight Words Hangman being his first, but as of late he has added to this collection. At the end of April, he launched Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop. Come play and learn with Ugly Doll or Hello Kitty like characters: Draco, Stitch, and Pinku in three modes of interaction on your iPad device running iOS 4.3 or later. With a simple design, colorful graphics, game play repetition, verbal/visual reinforcements, and academic support, Pixopop might be the yellow brick road to learning that you were looking for.
Experience Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop with the support of an adult or independently. By spending one to one time with your child or students as they learn and practice their sight words, you will be providing them a greater chance to integrating them into their long-term memory. Upon entering this educational app, users will be immediately introduced to Stitch Bunny. In addition, the target audience (preschool to 1st grade) and those instructing will find Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop to be very kid friendly. Developmentally children learn new information in stages. To support this idea, developers have included three levels of play; Flash Card, Word Challenge and Spelling. Each mode of play offers 24 word lists with 10 words in each. Exploration can begin by simply tapping a game mode and a friend to learn and play with. Concerned that with your download that you won’t have access to all word lists? Don’t be!! For $1.99, all 240 words are at your disposal. A note to the developers – might it be possible in a future update to include the option to add multiple accounts? By adding this option, homes with multiple children or schools with only a limited number of devices will benefit from this educational experience.
We have explored and reviewed several educational apps which looks to reinforce those sight words commonly seen in the English language. Each has its own positives, however as we tested out Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop, developers have included some added components. The first being a simple, but very effective reporting system. As a parent and an educator, this is critical. Reports are generated for every exposure; words that are completed, incomplete and failed. Upon entering the bar graph icon from the main menu, parents will get a quick view of results for each word list which is dated and timed. If interested in seeing more, simply click an individual list to see a more detailed report indicating those words that your child struggled with. Words that have been reported as incomplete or unsuccessful while playing in the Word Challenge or Spelling mode will be added to the users “tricky words” list. These tricky words can be selected in either of the modes of play and re-experienced in order to gain mastery. A note to the developers – might it be possible to allow users to share reports via email with other interested parties, like a parent or an educator.
Let the positives continue. The objective of this application is to learn, reinforce and master the Dolch’s word lists necessary for early elementary students. However, we believe it can even go one step further. From the main menu click on the “cogwheel icon”, here parents will be able to change the level of difficulty while playing the Word Challenge game based on their child’s needs. In addition, parents will be able to view default word lists 1-24 and to create new word lists of their own. With a very clear and concise design, developers have included the ability to create individualized word lists. Since those pre-installed lists have 10 words per level, we assume that the same number of words are added to those designed by you. Along with written words, users can record themselves saying each word. As suggested by the application, those building new word lists should read the word, along with reading it, it would also be helpful to put it in a sentence for meaning which will guide users during the spelling mode. The integration of this feature is so wonderful because what student doesn’t come home with a weekly spelling list? If your home is like mine, each night your child is expected to complete an activity which reinforces their spelling list. Why not make your mobile device an activity? If looking at this application for older students, it is most certainly applicable to you.
With no in app purchases or the ability to click buttons linked to outside sources, Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop is now on our academic agenda. It’s time to prepare your child for a future of reading and spelling. Your child will have the ability to build their academic mantle piece with success trophies along the way. This is an educational app which games for a reason and is considered a top pick from our opinion. If you would like to learn more about Marcel Widarto, please visit his website here. Whether you are a preschooler to elementary school student, Sight Words and Spelling with Pixopop is worth adding to your iPad device today by simply clicking here.
This review is also featured on Fun Educational Apps site along with several other detailed educational app reviews.