Review by Christy Matte, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2012
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Intro to Letters, by Montessorium

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

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
Pre-K-2 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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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.

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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. 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

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 Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

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

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.


Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Jennifer I. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Spring Hill Elementary School
Huntington, WV
3
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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