Pocket Charts! Pro App Review
App Name: : Pocket Charts! Pro
Mom’s Rating: 4/5
Kids’ Rating: 5/5
Recommended Grades/Ages: Preschool, Kindergarten, Grade 1
Skills Developed: Phonological Awareness, Spelling, Matching, Counting, Upper Case Letters, Lower Case Letters, Position Words, Numbers, Addition, Subtraction, Compound Words, Fractions, Rhyming, Colors, Sight Words, Word Families, Holidays, Visual Discrimination
Available On/Price: iPad – $4.99
Reviewed on: iPad
Pocket Charts! Pro includes twenty of the activities from the Pocket Charts series of apps, all of which are also available as separate purchases in the App Store. The activities are all modeled after the time tested, hands-on model of using pocket charts and highly visual prompts to teach young children. When an activity is opened it is like a pre-set up pocket chart focusing on a specific topic is ready to go on the screen of your iPad.
Each pocket chart has two rows and generally shows a picture or word card in each row, your child needs to choose the matching picture or word card from the bottom row. Letter activities require filling in the last letter, first letter etc. When the correct card is placed on the pocket chart a star appears indicating a correct choice. If incorrect a notifying sound effect plays, your child can remove that card and try again.
Once an activity set is completed a celebration screen with cheering appears as a reward for making it through the activity set.
All of the pocket chart activities include options for turning the voice prompts on and off before starting the activities. Turning voice prompts off removes all of the audio prompts, removing audio clues and essentially making the activities silent. It is easy to return to the main activity list at any time.
Activities included are:
Colors and Color Words – Colored words are shown in the pocket chart (purple is colored purple, red is colored red) – these cards are silent. Smiley faces in different colors are available to choose from at the bottom of the screen and say their color name when tapped. Children can match smiley faces to words by color or by reading the words.
The activity then changes to displaying items of a certain color (grapes, apple – these cards are silent)) and asking children to choose from the card showing the color word at the bottom of the screen (purple is colored purple, red is colored red – these cards say the color name when tapped). Children can match words by color to the items shown or by listening to the voice prompts.
The items shown on the cart then change to the colored smiley faces that need to be matched to the color words at the bottom of the screen.
Finally color words are shown (purple, white etc. with black text only and these silent) and your child needs to choose items with the appropriate colors from the bottom row (eggplant, orange, polar bear, cat – these objects say their colors when tapped).
Shape Matching – Cards showing shapes with their names on top are shown on the pocket chart and say the shape name when tapped. Common objects containing those shapes are displayed beneath the chart and need to be matched to the shapes above – these cards are silent.
The order then reverses to common objects shown on the pocket chart (silent) and shapes with their names displayed beneath (spoken).
Pre-Number Category Sorting – Cards showing shapes (no names on top, silent cards) are shown on the pocket chart. Common objects containing those shapes are displayed beneath the chart and need to be matched to the shapes above – these cards say the shape names.
Shapes of different sizes/orientations then need to be matched. Shapes are shown on the chart (silent cards), and small shapes and those of different orientations need to be chosen from beneath the chart (speaking).
We then switch over to matching colors, common objects are shown on the chart and say their colors when tapped (an apple – red). Objects with the same color are then matched to those on the chart (balloon – red, silent cards).
The activity then switches to few or many. A gum machine with many gumballs is shown in the pocket chart and says many when tapped. Your child then needs to choose the many gumballs beneath the chart (silent card). There is always an example of many and few provided.
Big or little is the final segment of the activity – pictorial representations of big and little are shown on the chart (an elephant with the word ‘big’ on top, a ladybug with the word ‘little’ – speaking cards) your child then chooses the big object and matches it to the elephant, the little object to the ladybug (silent cards) etc.
Counting 1-20 – Cards showing dots to represent numbers is shown on the chart (silent), the written numerals are shown beneath the chart and say the number when tapped. Dots and numerals need to be matched together.
Numerals are then shown on the chart (speaking), and the dot representations are shown beneath the chart (silent).
The activity then advances to numbers from 11-20 with cards showing dots to represent numbers shown on the chart (silent), the written numerals are shown beneath the chart and say the number when tapped.
Numerals from 11-20 are then shown on the chart (speaking), and the dot representations are shown beneath the chart (silent).
Upper and Lowercase Letter Matching – Uppercase letters are shown on the chart (say names when tapped) and lower case letters are shown below the chart (cards are silent). Your child needs to find the matching pairs of letters.
Beginning Letter Sounds – A common image is shown on the pocket chart (says object name when tapped) and lower case letters are shown beneath the chart (say letter names when tapped). Your child needs to choose the letter that the image words start with – “acorn – a”, “butterfly – b” etc. This progression goes all the way through the alphabet from A to Z.
Long and Short Vowel Sounds – Pictures of common items are shown on the pocket chart (object names are said when tapped). Long vowel sounds are shown beneath the chart along with the phonetic marking (long vowel sounds are said when tapped). So a picture of a cake will be matched with the ‘a’ card for example.
The activity then moves to short vowel sounds with common items on the chart (names said when tapped) and short vowels with phonetic markings beneath (short vowel sounds when tapped). A picture of a cat will be matched with the ‘a’ card.
Long vowels are then displayed on the pocket chart (say sounds when tapped) and common items are shown beneath the cart (say object names when tapped).
Finally, short vowels are displayed on the chart (say sounds when tapped) and common items are beneath the chart (object names when tapped).
Position Words – Positional words are displayed on the pocket chart (around, through etc.) and these cards say the position word when tapped. Images are displayed beneath the chart that depict these positions visually (these cards are silent). The correct card needs to be matched to the position word on the chart.
Numbers and Number Words – A pictorial representation of a number from 1-9 is shown (six blocks) followed by its written numeral on the chart (6) both cards are silent. Your child is to count the squares then say the numeral before finding the written number word beneath the chart (six) and adding it to the chart – these cards speak their number names.
The activity then switches to showing the number word from 1-9 on the chart along with the pictorial representation (seven and a card with seven blocks on it) – both these cards are silent. The written numerals are shown beneath the chart and need to be added to correct row in the chart and say their number when tapped (7).
The activity then progresses to numbers from 11-20 and repeats the first two activity steps with this range of numbers.
Consonant Blends and Digraphs – Written blends appear on the pocket chart (bl, br etc. these say their two letter names when tapped), common images appear below the chart and need to be matched to the card showing the first sound in their name (names are said when tapped).
Next written digraphs appear on the chart and the activity proceeds in the same way as above.
The activity then places pictures on the chart (say object names when tapped) and asks your child to match it to the consonant blend shown below the chart (says the names of both letters when tapped).
Next images corresponding to digraphs are set up as above.
Ending Letter Sounds – A common image is shown on the pocket chart (says object name when tapped) and lower case letters are shown beneath the chart (say letter names when tapped). Your child needs to choose the letter that the image words ends with – “sofa – a”, “crab – b” etc.
The letter cards are then displayed on the pocket chart and say their names when tapped. The common objects are shown beneath the chart and this time the objects (say names when tapped) need to be matched to the letters.
Word Families – Word family cards are shown on the pocket chart. Each word family card has the name of the word family (am for example) and four examples of words in that family, three filled in and one blank (clam, _am, jam, and yam). The word family card is completely narrated, reading the name of the word family, and the example words as well. Your child needs to choose the picture from the common objects beneath the pocket chart to complete the word family list.
Next pictures showing two common objects are displayed on the chart (snail and pail for example), your child then needs to select the word family card (similar to above, but this time with two word blanks) that goes with the picture. Both cards are fully narrated.
Addition and Subtraction – This activity breaks out of the traditional pocket chart look with three underwater-themed rows with jars filled with fish. Each shelf has one addition equation on it, all of them are simple with sums under 10. Each number is represented by the appropriate number of fish in a jar, the sums (on the bottom shelf) show BOTH kinds of fish combined in a jar. Numerals are also shown on each of the jars. Equations are read when tapped, and so are the sum numbers.
After addition, the activity switches to simple subtraction with all numbers less than ten. In this portion of the activity the starting number shows both kinds of fish in the jar, the second number shows one type of fish, and the difference shows the other type of fish.
Spelling 3-Letter Words – The pocket chart shows the first two letters of a three letter word along with a picture of the word to be spelled. These two letter cards say their names when tapped. The third letter needs to be selected from beneath the chart (those cards say their letter names as well).
Compound Words – The compound word image is shown with its name on top – cowboy. The first part of the word is then shown pictorially to the right – a cow. The second part of the compound word then needs to be chosen from the images shown beneath the chart – a boy. All of the cards speak when tapped.
The app then switches to showing only an image of the compound word (picture of a scarecrow) along with the first part of the word in written form shown to the right (scare). The remaining part of the word (crow) then needs to be selected from beneath the chart. All of the cards speak when tapped.
Fractions – Real-object based representations of fractions are displayed on the pocket chart and say the name of their fraction when tapped (one out of four cookies is fully colored, the other three are transparent – ¼). Under the chart more symbolic representations of the fractions are shown (a rectangle divided into four parts with one shaded – ¼) these cards are silent and are matched to the real objects on the chart. All visual representations of fractions throughout the activity also show their written forms on the top of each card.
This arrangement then switches, matching different forms of symbolic representations to each other. The top of the chart may show ½ as a rectangle divided horizontally, and one of the options on the bottom will be ½ divided vertically. The bottom images say their fractions, the top images are silent. Pie representations of fractions may need to be matched with rectangular representations etc.
Next symbolic representations need to be matched to written forms of the fractions. The symbolic representation on the chart says its fraction, and the written form on the bottom is silent
Finally, this order switches with written fractions on the chart (silent) and symbolic representations beneath the chart (speaking).
Rhyming Words – Images with printed names are displayed on the pocket chart. Children choose the rhyming items with names from below the chart. All cards say the name of the image and word when tapped.
Halloween Matching Game, Thanksgiving Matching Game, Christmas/Hannukah Matching Game – These matching games all follow the same format – two different items related to the specified holiday season are displayed. The cards to pick from at the bottom of the page give your child two different, but similar options to choose the matching object from, helping children focus on paying attention and visual discrimination skills. All of the cards are silent in this game.
Other Notes: This app doesn’t include any in-app purchases, ads, or social media integration. It does include links to external websites from the info screen.
What We Liked:
Pocket Charts! Pro is absolutely FULL of very specific learning activities that you can sit down and go through together with your child depending on what she needs to know. Because the activities are also self-correcting a child can use the interactive pocket charts independently. I like using them with my children like a real pocket chart, only lap-sized and without all those pieces to keep track of and set up!
I also really appreciate that so many of the activities included tiered levels of learning that slowly increase in difficulty throughout the activity after children become familiar with the basic concepts being worked with. This helps to hit the topic from different angles and slightly different difficulty levels.
Some of our favorite activities are addition and subtraction (I love how they show the combining and removal of fish depending on the operation) and my little girls really like all of the matching/visual discrimination activities with their bright drawings and need to find the differences between similar sets of drawings.
With the individual apps that make up this series all costing $0.99 each, it’s obvious what a HUGE value this compilation of all twenty apps is!
What We Didn’t Like:
It would be nice if the number-based activities had two levels 1-9 and 10-20 to make them easier for younger children to complete successfully. Also, in most of the letter sound activities the letters don’t actually make their sounds when tapped, they say their names. This makes the phonics more implicit than it is explicit and systematic.
Some of the pictured objects in some of the activities (beginning and ending letter sounds) also go beyond short letter sounds and throw in objects like acorn, eel, orange etc. Likewise in the three word spelling, the words range from net (simple CVC) to ape (VCE) which can be a big jump in decoding ability for children – again, perhaps multiple levels would be appropriate.
Each time an activity is opened it plays out in the same sequence, this may lead to children memorizing the sequence of answers rather than randomly presenting problems to solve.
Pocket Charts! Pro is an amazing value with twenty distinct, hands-on educational activities in total. Ranging from preschool through to grade 1 skills, the activities in this app combine the traditional and effective methodology of pocket charts without the muss, fuss, pieces, or set-up time AND it’s lap-sized for friendly sharing between parent and child!
Have you downloaded this app? Let us know what you and your children thought – leave a comment!