ABC Day App Review
App Name: ABC Day
Mom’s Rating: 3.5/5
Kids’ Rating: 4/5
Recommended Grades/Ages: Preschool, Kindergarten
Skills Developed: Alphabet, Printing/Manuscript, Letter Tracing, Letter Names, Phonics, Letter Sounds, Upper Case, Lower Case, Alphabet Song
Available On/Price: iPod/iPhone – $1.99
Reviewed on: iPod
ABC Day is a multi-faceted early learning app that teaches children about the alphabet through a broad variety of interactive activities in a lovely, child-friendly underwater environment.
Reading Time! presents children with a classic alphabet book – “T is for Turtle, U is for Unicorn” Each page presents one animal and letter pairing. Both upper and lower-case letters appear with the animal’s name under the letters. The animals all subtly animate after the letter and animal name are announced. The bubble with the letters in it can be tapped to pop it and move to the next screen, or if a young child is using the app the book will automatically move on if you wait for a while.
Writing Time! features a cute turtle who moves through semi-transparent letter outlines to collect stars, leaving a white trail behind him as your child traces each letter. First he completes the capital letter and its name is announced. Then he completes the lower case letter and its short letter sound is said. The style of printing the app uses is mainly ball-and-stick, the little turtle swims away to properly reposition himself at the beginning of each new stroke.
A navigator button labeled A-Z brings up an alphabet selector so you can jump to any letter of the alphabet for extra practice. When in Reading Time! you can tap the quill icon to bring up the corresponding Writing Time! screen for that letter. Likewise in Writing Time! you can tap the book icon to bring up Reading Time! for that letter.
In Play Time! your child is asked to ‘tickle the shell’ by tapping and rubbing it repeatedly. It then opens and displays one of the animal friends from Reading Time! along with four different letters in bubbles and a fill in the blank question in the lower, right-hand side of the screen. Your child is supposed to tap the missing letter to fill in the blank. It then appears, completing the word and your child is verbally praised.
The Sing Along! activity starts when your child taps the ‘Pop Me!’ bubble to start the alphabet song. This is a pleasant, traditionally arranged version of the song that goes at a relaxed pace. As each letter is sung a floating bubble letter appears that can be tapped to release the animal friend from Reading Time! that starts with that letter.
Other Notes: This app does not include in-app purchases or advertising. It does include social media integration and external links on the info screen.
What We Liked:
My girls’ favorite part is the alphabet song – they go wild tapping the bubbles labeled with letters of the alphabet so they can watch the animals from the Reading Time! portion of the app pop out! None of them can resist playing with the little star collecting turtle either when they spot me with the Writing Time! section of the app open either. He is so adorable as he collects the stars, and any missed stars are gently pointed out through audio feedback.
The quality of the phonetic pronunciation is much better than in most apps, no complaints here except for the ‘x’ which I rarely hear done well and the ‘y’. Other than that, the letter sounds are all appropriately clipped and presented clearly. I appreciate that the app presents both upper-case and lower-case letters along with both letter names and letter sounds – you get to cover all of your bases in the printing section of the app and work on letter formation as well.
Many apps make you swipe between letter screens in alphabet apps, but ABC Day contains a navigator that can be accessed by touching the A-Z button in the ABC book or in the printing practice section of the app.
What We Didn’t Like:
Some of the navigational buttons are a bit tiny and difficult to tap. There are a few errors with stroke order in the printing section (like the capital H and N) although it’s overall pretty well done. At times the app does let your child head in the wrong direction (like the ‘o’s) but most of the time she’ll be restricted from heading the wrong way (and no star collection occurs in the wrong direction case of the o’s). As mentioned above, the phonetic sounds are off for two letters.
The third activity where the child is asked to choose the missing bubble letters to complete a word was pretty much a write-off for us. Unless you expect your young child to memorize the names of the animals presented in the alphabet book so they can find the missing letter (animals like jaguar, angelfish, impala, etc.) then he’ll just start randomly guessing. That’s what mine did. The animal names simply aren’t appropriate to this reading level and the name of the animal isn’t said when its tapped, so there are no verbal cues provided either.
ABC Day contains a sweet variety of early literacy activities that are cute and nicely designed for young children. The navigational options and inclusion of both lower and upper case, letter names and phonics, alphabet book, song, and tracing practice will make this app a great comprehensive choice for Pre/K once a few more kinks are worked out. Keep an eye on this one.
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!