How I Use It
I have been using this with my five year old grandson. He has lots of vocabulary but moves too fast to stop and contemplate the individual sounds of each letter. He is very engaged in this app. He tolerates the phonics part in order to get to the creative play part. When he is bored by the current offering he will try another word so he can see what the next play part will be.
I have this app on both my iPhone and my iPad. I like it better on the iPad. It still works well on the iPhone it just seems too small for manipulation.
Montessori Crosswords is a low key yet fun way to encourage and support phonics education. There are six categories to pick from: simple words, consonant blends, words of any complexity, focus on one sound, Christmas words and a movable alphabet. For all but the movable alphabet a picture tile comes up followed by blank tiles of the appropriate number. The student can tap the picture to hear the word. They can tap the empty tile to hear the sound of the word. They can tap letters of the alphabet to hear their sounds. Students can drag the letters to the appropriate box to spell the word. If the letter is wrong it will not stay in the tile but return to its place in the alphabet.
At the successful completion of the word is a moveable design intermission. For example a blaze of shooting stars. If the child touches the screen, the stars will shoot from the place they touched. Or there is a spiral sequence. Everywhere on the page the child touches begins a new spiral. Every intermission is different and requires some experimentation to figure out the pattern or action. This intermission can be limited or not limited depending on the teacher or parents wishes.
There is a feature where the child can find the answer to the word by touching it. Even if they do this consistently they must still drag the letters to the empty tiles thus hearing the letter sounds anyway. Teacher or parent can allow or disallow this feature as they prefer.