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One of the toughest challenges for any teacher charged with younger grades education is finding a way to teach phonics awareness while also keeping short attention spans engaged. “Phonics Genius,” a simple app for the iPad and iPhone, offers a way to do just that, as well as work on fluency and decoding skills that are all instrumental to literacy skills.
“Phonics Genius” is fairly straightforward, which is important for the target audience of children ages 1 to 6. The app offers two different modes,L earn and Game, that offers instructors multiple options for use in the classroom. The targeted sound in each example is highlighted in red, so that students can both see and hear the sound.
The “Learn” mode groups different sounds into groups of flashcards that students can flip (or swipe, if we’re being entirely technical) through at their own pace. The app speaks the word and offers a recording option to students with the push of a button, allowing them to test their own pronunciation. This mode would be an excellent method of ensuring that each student received targeted practice on sounds that were particularly challenging.
The “Game” mode tests knowledge by asking students to identify the correct answer when given multiple choices. Instructors can increase the difficult of this mode by increasing the number of options; the app offers up to six choices in Game mode. Students simply touch the correct answer and when they do, they are rewarded with sincere and encouraging positive feedback.
If they happen to choose the incorrect answer, students are told that they are wrong in an equally encouraging fashion and are allowed to continue to try until they get the correct answer. This is a fantastic facet of this particular app, there is no “failure” except giving up. For younger students, who may legitimately need five or six tries to get the correct answer, this is a phenomenal way to encourage continued practice and, as a result, an improvement in their phonics awareness.
Teachers love Phonics Genius for the way that it allows them to test phonics understanding, encourage the development of better decoding skills, and increase fluency. With so many options for teachers for classroom use, Phonics Genius is an excellent investment in early grades education.