Bold Turquoise

May 7 2013

Literacy Soft (reading app) Review

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey is a learn-to-read app by Literacy Soft that entered our lives just about a month and a half ago- thankfully! But before I delve into too many of its details, I want to tell you how we got there and why we needed it.


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Roman has been in first grade this past year- the consummate “learn to read” grade, or as it could easily be dubbed in our house, the “tears, and fights and we both hate school-time” grade. I'm sad to say it- I never wanted our homeschool to look like this! But when the Bold Husband happened to sit down with Roman to do his reading assignment towards the end of winter and promptly came to me and told me, “Throw it out. Start over. It isn't working,” – I felt defeated.

So that is exactly what we did. We threw out what we had been using and I went on the hunt to figure out how we were going to tackle this learning to read thing. Over the next month or so we tried a few different curricula and materials but nothing was having a better outcome. I was lost and we were all frustrated.


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Then the opportunity presented itself for us to try the Literacy Soft Phonics and Reading with McGuffey app. It seemed to cover a lot of essential pieces I was looking for:

  • iPad based (Roman loves how interactive learning is on the iPad and it typically keeps his attention better than a lot of other conventional styles of learning)
  • Works at the pace of the child
  • Can be used independently
  • Works the student through a first grade-level understanding of reading

Check, check, check and check!


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So we got it and dove in. At first we started doing 2 lessons per day, since the first ones were mostly review for him, and have slowed down to one lesson per day now that he is starting to be challenged. The app talks to the student to teach the different reading and sound rules and then works them through a series of exercises to achieve mastery and comprehension; including spelling, experimenting with sounds, reading sentences and timed reading.



Does he love it? Honestly? No. BUT, he doesn't hate it either. The worst part for him is when the app drives him to read things quickly- he just gets annoyed. I'm ok with that though because we have noticed a marked improvement in his reading skills since he began. He is now about half way through the program (it has 52 lessons total) and has started conquering short easy reader books without the tears and frustration we used to experience. That is success in my book! We plan to continue with this app until he is finished which will hopefully be early summer.

Overall I am very happy with the program. It has given me the freedom to have him do it on his own while also coming alongside him when I need or want to (which is very helpful with a needy baby in the house!). I will likely use the app with Judah as well when he gets a farther along. However, I do have a few points I wasn't super thrilled with. For one, the experimenting portion of the app, while interesting, also caused Roman to start learning to spell some things wrong. For instance, he could put in the letters B-O-T and if it was a long O he was working with the app would say “Boat,” making him think he had spelled it correctly. It's not a huge beef, and I'm probably just over thinking it and that is a part of learning to read and write, but it did sort of feel regressive. I will say, though, that if your kid accidentally types in a naughty word (which did happen legitimately by mistake) the app won't say it- so that was good! (Phew- wipes brow)


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The other thing that caught me a little off guard was when I heard Roman read the sentence, “Tom is too fast to run fast.” Indeed, it was accompanied by a picture that made it seem as though the other four little boys were picking on the little fat boy trying to run away. Although the sentence was likely true, it just caught me off guard and seemed like an odd sentence to use in a program for reading practice! I guess that's just my personal opinion.

Literacy Soft can be purchased for $18.95 in the App Store and accommodates up to 10 separate student accounts within the app. You really can't go wrong for the price and I would recommend this app.




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