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Use AlphaTots as a fun way to practice recognizing and naming letters. Games can also help kids with alphabetical order and introduce them to the sounds letters make. Let kids play individually, as the real fun is in the interaction with the letters and the letter-based activities. Teachers should make clear the connection between the letters and their associated action words: Ask kids which word starts with the target letter, or tell them "A is for add." Play is completely free-form, so there's no way to target particular letters, track progress, or assess learning. Teachers will need to check in with kids outside of the app to discover what they're learning from their play.Continue reading Show less
AlphaTots introduces kids to the letters of the alphabet and to an action word that begins with each letter. Kids choose a letter, hear the sound(s) it makes, and then are invited to play a game in which they carry out an action that starts with that letter. For example, for the letter H, kids hear "Can you hammer the nails?" and they tap four nails to hammer them into a birdhouse. Kids can go forward or backward, one letter at a time, or tap and hold any letter for four seconds to jump around. Bonus features include hearing the alphabet song and hearing each letter name one by one in alphabetical order.
AlphaTots excels with great graphics, a clever game design that expertly utilizes touchscreen technology, and lots of fun. During play, kids hear the letter name and the sound it makes; for vowels, they hear both the long and short version. That makes for a nice, clear introduction and creates opportunities for simple letter exploration. Stepping out of the mold of pairing letters with cliché nouns (A is for apple, C is for cat) by using verbs and action-based activities is also interesting. Unfortunately, the connection between the target letter and its matching word doesn't stand out, so kids risk confusing which word starts with each letter. In the "Add candles to the cake" activity, for example, kids are likely to think the A is for cake or candles rather than the word add. This could easily be remedied with repetition (repeating directions several times, including after the action is completed) and a more purposeful connection between the target letter and the action word (e.g., "A is for add"). Overall, this is a strong introduction to letters that needs just a few tweaks to demonstrate the correct connection to the letter's place in the words.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Foundational Skills
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or many of the most frequent sound for each consonant.