App review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2012
Duck Duck Moose Reading
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Duck Duck Moose Reading

Good early reading practice, but busy with a capital B

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Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Verbal instructions are clear, activities are fun, and reporting is detailed.

Cons: The activities move rapidly, as does the music, which can be distracting.

Bottom Line: Duck Duck Moose Reading offers good skills practice, if kids can block out the distractions.

In the classroom, teachers can use this app to provide students with practice in letter recognition and letter sounds for all consonants, as well as short and long vowel sounds. Duck Duck Moose Reading includes activities that focus on CVC words to help pre-readers and emerging readers build skills in noticing or combining letters to read words. Kids also practice following one- or two-step spoken directions, such as "Give any monkey the letters that say 'mmm,' like milk," as little ants march letters across the bottom of the screen. Teachers can check kids' progress on the parent reporting screen -- checking percent of levels completed, as well as consonants, short vowels, and long vowels mastered. Teachers can also visit the Duck Duck Moose blog to print out a workbook related to the app for even more ways to practice. The experience could be greatly improved by calming everything down a bit, in both visuals and sounds (teachers can nix the distracting background music simply by turning it off).

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Duck Duck Moose Reading is a pre- or early-reading app that focuses on very basic skills, such as letter recognition and letter sounds. Nine activities engage kids by prompting them to do fun things with colorful cartoon animals. Kids feed certain letters to a pink dolphin, hand balloons with the words that start with a given letter sound to a penguin, match letter sounds when a giraffe eats the letters of the sound that the app asks kids to find, and more. When kids finish a level, they earn an animal for their zoo page. Duck Duck Moose Reading allows kids to create their own accounts (up to three kids, and a guest account) and, with a simple tap, return right where they left off from the last play session. Empowering, simple pre-reading fun.

As kids play, they move through levels and collect animals as rewards to make their own zoo scene. All data is saved on a Parent Page that teachers and parents can use to check kids' progress (up to three kids per app) and which language and reading skills based on Common Core standards kids have "mastered," based on the game's assessment. This app is not the best choice for kids who are easily distracted or who need a little extra time or visual space to think about answers. For example, if kids don't move quickly to an answer in certain games, the animal pictured will start making a rapid snoring sound. Still, for kids who are able to handle that level of quick, active visual and audio stimulation, this can be a fun way to practice essential letter and letter sounds skills.

Overall Rating


The nine activities can be visually and intellectually engaging, as long as kids aren't distracted by the fast-moving pace and noisy sounds (which can be muted).


Exercises gradually increase in difficulty by level. Kids will learn by playing the nine Common Core-aligned activities and, when completing each one, will collect reward animals to include in a little zoo on the app.


Verbal instructions provided. Reports are provided for parents or teachers to track which skills each kid is working on; percent completed; and consonants, short vowels, and long vowels mastered.

Common Sense reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Ruth O. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Victory Elementary School
Portsmouth, United States
Mastery Based Reading Activities for Grade K
Duck Duck Moose Reading is a mastery based app for students in grade K. Students learn letter names and sounds while having fun. The game is engaging and easy for students to use. The student reporting is a great feature, however with only three available students, classroom use is limited. It would be great if students could sign in and out of the app so that additional students could be accommodated. If tracking could be downloaded on a separate website this would make the app more accommodating f ...
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