Teachers may want to make a list of some of the more difficult sight words included on this app and introduce them to students before they play on Word Wagon. Since there's no progress tracking and kids start from scratch on each level every time they play, this app is likely most fun and least frustrating as an occasional supplement to other early spelling activities that are more organized and progress-oriented. Or consider making your own simple chart- or card-based progress tracking system for kids to use in conjunction with Word Wagon. This way, kids get the opportunity for repetition in spelling the included words, as well as a beginning exercise in record-keeping.Continue reading Show less
Word Wagon - by Duck Duck Moose is a phonics and spelling app designed for pre-readers or emerging readers. Letters within words are initially pronounced as the letter name, then phonetically. As a little mouse and bird bop along, kids can tap any items -- such as vehicles, colors, or animals -- that pass by on the bottom of the screen and move letter boxes into place to spell them. This colorful app includes four levels on which kids can either see the silhouettes of the letters in place or try to spell the word without any such hints. For each word they spell, kids win an animated sticker for their virtual sticker book. Correct spellings earn them a chance to play a connect-the-stars constellation game. Word Wagon does not keep track of progress from session to session.
Kids can learn about letters, phonics, and spelling with Word Wagon. Teachers or kids can choose one of four progressively more difficult levels: letters, phonics, and spelling of short and longer words. As words are completed, the narrator spells them phonetically and the corresponding letters are shown with highlights around them. The app includes 103 words (44 Dolch sight words) in topics such as animals, transportation, and food. Some sight word choices, like shoe and tractor, include phonetic combinations that aren't well-suited to beginners on this app because it may be confusing when the narrator separates the sounds by combinations that they may not yet know (pronouncing "er" when highlighting the "or" in tractor, for example). Still, the option to choose Levels 1 through 4 makes Word Wagon a good fit for kids at different skill levels. The colorful sticker-collecting feature and the bonus constellation game are fun and rewarding.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Foundational Skills
Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonent-vowel-consonent, or CVC) words.* (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)
Recognize and name all upper- and lowercase letters of the alphabet.