Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013
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Touch and Write Phonics

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Dig into unique writing textures for letter tracing and phonics fun

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
Pre-K-1 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Kids will love the monster and cupcake tracing guides and zany writing textures.

Cons: Without adult help, kids may not find the appropriate section for their individual tracing skills and phonics knowledge.

Bottom Line: Provides a creative way to make phonics practice and letter tracing more fun.

Whether you only have a couple of students who need extra phonics and letter-writing support or are looking for a fun way to introduce basic phonics concepts to your entire class, Touch and Write Phonics can work for you. Create as many student profiles as you need and establish a place for each student to begin, depending on his or her current knowledge and skill level. You might also use the animated vowels, blends, and digraphs lessons to introduce the foundations of phonetic awareness to the entire class before letting students loose to choose their own creative letter-writing textures and papers on individual or shared iPads. (If iPads are shared, remind students to switch user accounts for accurate progress reporting.) Teachers also have the ability to share individual student reports with parents via an in-app email function. As an extension activity, consider taking the idea of tracing with textures off the iPad and into the classroom with fun everyday substances like flour, colored rice, or shaving cream. The possibilities are endless!

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Touch and Write Phonics is a beginning phonics and letter-tracing app that includes 18 interesting "writing textures" -- including pudding, pumpkin pie, and pink chalk -- as well as 35 writing-paper styles for backgrounds. Teachers can create a user name for each student to track individual progress. Students begin by listening to a brief animated lesson for each main phonics concept: vowels, blends, and digraphs. Then they trace letters -- with a little monster and cupcakes as guides -- as they hear a voice speak the phonetic sound and then the letter name. Kids can easily choose different tracing textures and writing paper with a simple tap. Arrow keys allow players to skip or repeat letters or words. Kids can play with the cute monsters and cupcakes on a simple reward page after completing the practice pages. Progress reporting is easily accessible from the info page. Teachers can create their own tracing word lists, too, but only from a pre-chosen alphabetized group of words. Options exist for kids who need more traditional pencil and paper choices, and darker writing paper is available for kids with poor vision.

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Kids can learn basic phonetic rules related to vowels, blends, and digraphs as they practice tracing letters and words. This app clearly says the sound of each letter's name and phonetic pronunciation. As kids trace, they develop fine motor skills and practice academic effort. When they trace a letter incorrectly, it erases, and they must trace it again. By watching the brief, animated lessons and having fun tracing with the different texture and paper choices, kids get two-for-one practice in phonics and proper letter formation. Another plus for teachers: excellent directions, reporting, and adaptations.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Kids can choose from 18 fun writing textures and 35 writing-paper backgrounds. Animated lessons are brief and kid-friendly. Monster and cupcake guides and rewards continue the engagement throughout the practice sessions.

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

Lessons followed by practice help kids learn phonics concepts and then hear examples in conjunction with tracing practice. The monster and cupcake guides won't allow kids to trace letters incorrectly.

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

Helpful in-app directions and color-coded letters for phonics clues are provided. Practice reports list the date, number of practice sessions, and percentage of letters formed correctly. Dark paper is available for kids with poor vision.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Jennifer K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
4
Great Phonics Instruction with Interactive Support

This is a great app for your students who are struggling to learn the different rules of phonics. I love how the app sounds out words and emphasizes the different phonics chunks. It keeps students engaged while they work by allowing them to write with different mediums like pudding.

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