Common Sense Review
Updated September 2012

Chicktionary

Entertaining word-building game offers baked-in spelling practice
Common Sense Rating 3
  • The adorable chicken theme will draw kids in.
  • Kids set their own goals by choosing a target number of words.
  • Kids try to find words to fill the crates.
  • Kids are encouraged to make longer words than they might otherwise.
  • Kids can choose from two unique modes of play.
Pros
Adorable cartoon cluckers challenge kids to make longer words and look up ones they don't know; kids can set their own goals.
Cons
The dictionary tool is weak, and there are no custom lists.
Bottom Line
Chicktionary is a fun, albeit limited, alternative to rote vocabulary and spelling practice.
Erin Wilkey Oh
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Education
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The chicken theme, with squawks, clucks, and flying feathers, makes for entertaining gameplay. Adaptive goals are achievable, and kids can time themselves.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 2

Although practice is key to learning, kids don't get feedback on words they misspell. We suggest access to accurate definitions and words in context.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Beak Sneak and Free Bird buttons provide support if kids are struggling. High scores list and "Eggchievements" let kids keep track of their progress.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

An occasional departure from routine vocabulary or spelling exercises can be warranted in the classroom. To boost literacy skills, teachers can have kids identify a few unfamiliar words at the end of each game and add them to their vocabulary journals or spelling lists. Playing Chicktionary in pairs could help kids learn from each other.

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What's It Like?

Chicktionary presents seven letters on the bellies of seven chickens. From there, kids must try to create as many words as they can in a certain amount of time. They tap a letter, and an egg with that letter drops below the chickens into the word-building window. When kids have a word ready to submit, they tap Enter. Valid words are added to an egg crate at the top of the screen. If a word is misspelled or it's not a valid word, the eggs go back up to the chickens, and a chicken (understandably) clucks, "Uh-oh!"

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Is It Good For Learning?

Chicktionary can be a fun way for kids to learn a little vocabulary and practice spelling. They can set their own goals by selecting the target number of words to find. Groups of eggs in the crate represent target words, each a specific length -- for example, four eggs for a four-letter word. As kids try to find words to fill the crate, they're encouraged to push themselves to make longer words than they might otherwise. You can't create custom word lists, but spelling practice is incorporated with gameplay, making this an entertaining alternative to routine spelling exercises.

Beak Sneak and Free Bird buttons provide hints when kids need help. If kids want to know the meaning of a word, they can tap it to pause the game and do an online search. Unfortunately, the results can provide numerous unrelated hits; a great addition would be a reliable in-app dictionary that gives examples of words in context. Kids interested in learning new words and checking their spellings can study the word list at the end of each game.

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