How I Use It
I use this app with my 4 year old son to help him develop beginning reading skills. It's best for individual use/practice with young children. As with most apps I let me son use, I sit with him as he plays with it the first few times. I do this to help him with navigation in the beginning, and also to informally assess his progress and development. While the app does a great job of providing opportunities for children to learn and practice sounds, it might not be something that holds a child's attention for very long. The first time my son played with the app, he was done after about 5 minutes. The second time, he lasted about 10 minutes because I did a better job of going through the app with him. However, other apps that have TV characters that he is familiar with (like UmiZoomi and Super Why) do a much better job of holding his attention.
My son liked the word building activities the most, because he has to put the letters together like puzzle pieces, and he likes puzzles. There is another activity in the app that requires the child to select the picture of an item that begins with a certain sound, My son liked this for the most part, but got a little frustrated when he had to pick something that started with the letter "A". He didn't think there were any options, because the thought the picture of the alligator was a crocodile. I take this to be a positive because it helped him expand his vocabulary and we talked about the differences between the two reptiles.
Overall, I think this is a good app to help young students work on phonics. However, it is generally good practice for an adult to sit with a child as they explore apps, and this app is no exception. The app is simple but effective, and I almost expected a bit more for the $3.99 price. If the developers could make the app a bit more exciting, perhaps with animation, that might improve engagement. Also, it could be the speaker on my device (Nexus 7 tablet), but with one or two sounds/letters, the voice was a bit unclear. For example, the short "a", as in cat, sounded very close to a short "e", as in egg. Once again, this provided an opportunity for my son and I to talk about the similarities between these two sounds, but for a paid app, these types of things should be cleaned up.