How I Use It
Several days per week I have an "iPad Center" set up for students during our language arts rotation time. Students work with assigned partners at one of three iPads, each loaded with identical language arts and mathematics apps. I often guide students to the apps that will offer them the most practice in their area of need. For those beginning to blend words, Gappy is one such app.
Even without my recommendation to students, Gappy's First Words is one of the more commonly used apps I have, thanks to the cute graphics and engaging (but eventually repetitive) game play. Although I lack the ability to project my iPad for the entire class to see at once, I imagine this app would be a fun way to practice phonics, blending, and sight words as a whole group.
Gappy's First Words rates slightly above average among early reading apps used in my classroom. It is an engaging way for young readers to identify missing letters in common CVC and sight words, and has given me a way to help grade-level students reinforce these skills at the "iPad Center". During the earliest levels, students select the letters stated by the narrator to complete the words. As the game progresses, children are guided to identify the missing letter sounds, helping to build phonics confidence along the way.
This app is a terrific way for on-track students to practice skills independently, and as such, has provided a fine way for students to build upon skills when working independently. However, for those struggling with pre-reading skills (such as letter identification and basic phonics), Gappy yields the most benefit when used under the guidance of an adult.