Mr. Thorne Does Phonics

Mr. Thorne Does Phonics
  by Mr. Thorne Productions

YouTube sensation Mr. Thorne from London, is at it again. This time he is taking over the iPad world with his amazingly entertaining and educational videos on the building blocks of reading and spelling through the phonics model. What is Phonics?  Why is it so critical for our children to learn in this manner?  Phonics is teaching children how to connect the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters and to then teach them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of unknown words. By teaching the strategies behind the model of phonics, a child’s frustration level will decrease as they read and spell words.  As a teacher or parent one of the many goals we have is to encourage our child to learn and to love reading.

Many might say that in order to teach children to read and spell phonically is dry and boring.  A colleague of mine said at times she feels as though she  needs to find ways to shake it up a bit.  Well, with the help of Mr. Thorne’s video apps for the iPad- Letters and Sounds and Blends and Spelling, phonics will be shaken up.  In conjunction with books, worksheets and discussions, children will begin to understand how to segment and blend words all in the palm of their hands.  So how does Mr. Thorne jazz this boring subject matter up?  With a great deal of modeling through body and facial visuals, repetition, opportunities to pause and discuss and examples, users will become more confident readers and spellers. Throughout, Mr. Thorne is constantly asking for your participation and providing opportunities to challenge as he changes locations, his crazy glasses, and hair style.  In addition his free spirit, calming teacher voice and movement will certainly add a sense of ownership and comprehension for all types of learning styles.

In our exploration of Mr. Thorne we did find other ways of accessing his educational videos via YouTube.  So why would educators or parents want to download his applications for the iPad.  For MANY reasons!!!  With two simple simple downloads from your iTunes Library, Mr. Thorne’s phonics videos will be at your disposal no matter where you are.  Videos are a part of the application, so there is no need to have internet access.  Technology is wonderful, however, every educator has had some negative technology fluke occur when they were not prepared.  Whether you are being observed by an administrator, working with a small group or even your entire class, Mr. Thorne’s videos will not break up while watching or require any streaming from the internet.  With a very clean and manageable menu, Letters and Sounds and Blends and Spelling can be accessible for all parties: educators, parents and children.  Applicable2U also loves how videos are tailored to a users current academic needs.

As you begin your phonics journey with Mr. Thorne, you will want to start with the Letter and Sounds application.  Here users will be provided an understanding of phonics and the importance of phonemes.  Along the way he will share through only video coverage, Alphabet Sounds, Digraphs and Trigraphs, Tricky Words and a Challenge.   Once letters and sounds have been mastered, download and move on to his Blends and Spelling videos app, where he will break up blends and spellings into two videos and share those Tricky words and apply it all together into a Challenge.

Applicable2U is very impressed with the effort that Mr. Thorne has put into modeling phonics in a fun way.  Both Letters and Sounds and Blends and Spelling can be incorporated at home and in school for individual or group implementation.  To learn more about Mr. Thorne, please visit Mr. Thorne Does Phonics website here.  As an both a parent and an educator, you will not regret the money that you will spend on these two iPad applications.  To download either from your iTunes library, please click Letters and Sounds or Blends and Spelling.

Word Wagon

Word Wagon
by Duck Duck Moose

Applicable2U is excited to share with those that follow my educational app review blog, Word Wagon, which works on letter recognition, phonics and spelling.  Duck Duck Moose has produced a number of award winner educational apps. Bonjour! Ça va?  Hop on board the “word wagon” as we travel to France.   While there make sure to knock on the door of the Eiffel Tower.  There you will find our friend Mozzarella the mouse and Coco the bird, your little sponge of knowledge will play a variety of games while building crucial academic skills.

With the sounds of authentic french music, animated characters, engaging graphics and sounds, users will enjoy what Duck Duck Moose has to offer with their latest application.  Word Wagon was designed to guide users in pre-school through first grade.  Before heading to the Eiffel Tower (blinking button in the bottom right corner), a parent or teacher will want to select one of the four levels of play. Regardless of the level chosen, Mozzarella and Coco will guide you as they leap and run over objects on a conveyor belt.  While exploring and learning, be sure to click Mozzarella and Coco to see what magical things they will do.  What are Mozzarella and Coco hoping to teach your school aged student or child?  With the help of seven different categories: home, numbers & colors, automobiles, animals, food, Mozzarella & Coco, and All, users will certainly be building their vocabulary.

How will this occur?  Level 1 – works on upper and lower case letter recognition. With the support of lettered grid boxes, users will be instructed to drag and drop letters into place.  Level 2 – works on the sounds that letters make as they build words.  Level 3 – works on spelling those words chosen from the various categories with no more than 4 letters.  This level might be a challenge for some as the grid box no longer has a letter hint. However, it is hoped that through the support received from Levels 1 and 2, users will be able to spell words based on individual sounds.  Level 4 – works on spelling of those words with no more than 6 letters.  Regardless of which level is chosen, Coco will verbally and visually reinforce each letter thus spelling a word.  Your new word is dropped into the “word wagon.”  Those words selected from the conveyor belt and added to your wagon will be collected in a “heart” notebook.  Your notebook becomes like a brag book of stickers.  In addition, users will begin collecting stars that they will be able to interact with later in the game of learning.

Developmentally, Applicable2U thinks Word Wagon is a definitely thumbs up!!  As a teacher, I really liked that Duck Duck Moose thought to not only repeat the letters that make up the word but to also animate and highlight those letters of the object being spelled.  Visually it shows students those “funny” rules that the english language has when spelling.  In addition, it is encouraging the development of  such sounds patterns as: “ea”, “ou”, “ee” , “ow.”   If you would like to learn more about Duck Duck Moose, please visit their website here. If you can’t wait, then begin downloading Word Wagon from your iTunes library here.