Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013
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Monkey Word School Adventure

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Delightful monkey means business on this challenging early reading app

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Critical Thinking
Grades 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.
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Pros: Difficulty automatically increases based on performance, continuing the challenge.

Cons: Kids may eventually become bored with the repetitive activities.

Bottom Line: Automatic leveling and mix of phonics and sight words make this a great addition to any early reading toolkit.

Use Monkey Word School Adventure as a reading center activity for kids. Three kids can have accounts on one device, so if you have limited devices available, create the accounts based on reading group levels and set the challenge level appropriately in settings. Consider offering this app as a suggestion to parents for their kids to work on at home as well, since kids can use it independently. Wrong answers aren't accepted, so kids have to keep trying (with hints) until they get the word right, making it great for at-home practice.

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Monkey Word School Adventure takes kids through six different activities to help them learn early reading skills through phonics and word groups. Kids enter or select their name, and the app guides them seamlessly through the activities led by a cute monkey in a jungle setting. Kids trace letters, go through a rhyming maze, find letters or sight words in flying objects, spell words (with or without hints), and find words in a word search. After each round, kids choose a plant or animal to add to their terrarium as a reward. Up to three different kids can have accounts on the game.

The cute monkey is encouraging, and kids enjoy adding to their terrarium after they move through a round of activities. Each activity is short and moves automatically to the next challenge, so kids won't likely get bored. What really sets Monkey Word School Adventure apart, though, is the increasing challenge based on prior performance. If kids master finding letters in the dropping gems, the next round will give them words. If they master three-letter words, they'll quickly move on to blends and digraphs. The six games may get repetitive, but the customized adjustments in the difficulty level should keep kids interested. In settings, teachers can manually adjust the challenge level and turn off certain games if they want kids to focus on specific skills.

Overall Rating

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

Activities are short enough to keep kids interested. Adding an object to the terrarium gives them motivation to complete the next one.

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

The mix of phonics and sight words gives kids a variety of decoding srategies they'll need as they build their reading skills.

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

The challenge levels increase based on user performance and can be adjusted in the settings. There's no data or progress screen to track kids' skill development. 

Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Anitra L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Fabulous way to engage students with phonics!
I think this is a great teaching tool for the classroom. It has fun animations. The students were engaged and wanted to play again and again. This tool is great for kids who need assistance with their phonics skills. I love that the game automatically adjusts the challenge of each game as the child plays. Turn this off to control the difficulty yourself. This is a feature that I am really impressed by. It works for the level of the child! If a student is stuck, no worries, the game provides hints! Stude ...
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