App review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
Intro To Letters, By Montessorium
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Intro To Letters, By Montessorium

No-frills approach to reading and writing with sandpaper letters and recorded sound

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
Privacy rating
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Grades
Pre-K–2 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Health & Wellness, Communication & Collaboration

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Pros: Kids can record their own letter sounds.

Cons: Not as much fun as other alphabet apps.

Bottom Line: Quality learning experience, but little fanfare and fun.

This is great for quiet practice of letters and handwriting during indoor recess or as a station during free choice time. It's particularly useful for kids who need extra help, such as ELL, and special needs students. 

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Designed to help kids learn letters and letter sounds, Intro to Letters, by Montessorium  is focused and clean, without animation, rewards, or other gimmicks. Kids trace letters with their fingers and hear the letter names and sounds in an activity that mimics Montessori sandpaper letters. The app includes upper and lower case letters, as well as 15 two-letter phonograms. Kids can also record the letter sounds and names if their devices are equipped with microphones.

As far as learning tools go, this is a straightforward way to teach letter names and sounds. While there's something to be said for distraction-free learning, rather than being an engaging app, Intro to Letters, by Montessorium gives off an interactive workbook vibe. Will it help kids learn? Probably. But kids who are used to dancing monkeys, sticker rewards, and interactive hot spots aren't going to be impressed. There's no way to track what's been done and it may quickly feel repetitive. Adults are more likely to appreciate the quality of the app and the traditional aesthetics. It's a bit pricey for the depth of content provided, but it will definitely appeal to purists. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Kids who are just learning their letters may be excited about this app, but it's not one they'll pull out just for fun. Still, it has an appeal that pencil and paper may not hold, and allows kids to explore on their own.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

With a hyper focus on pairing letter sounds with shapes, Intro to Letters shines in terms of content delivery, but misses the mark on going beyond the interactive worksheet approach.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Directions are clear, but there's no way to track which letters kids have practiced or to see if they're struggling in any area.


Common Sense reviewer
Christy Matte Educator

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Jennifer I. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Spring Hill Elementary School
Huntington, United States
Letter writing and sounds for your students.
I like this app more than other handwriting apps I have seen because it gives the letter name as well as the sound when they are learning. It gives them practice recognizing the letters as well. I also liked the the way the letters were made as opposed to other apps.
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