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Letter Sounds 1 : Phonics Graphemes for Beginners

Letter Sounds 1 : Phonics Graphemes for Beginners



Age Range

Lower Primary

App Type

Learning App

Version Reviewed


Android Available?

Is Android Available

Lite Version Available?

Is a Lite Version Available

Help Provided?

Is Help Provided
Bloom's Thinking Process
CreatingBlooms Creating
EvaluatingBlooms Evaluating
AnalysingBlooms Analysing
ApplyingBlooms Applying
UnderstandingBlooms Understanding
RememberingBlooms Remembering
Includes pictures
Includes recorded voice
Includes text
Includes video
Review Comments
Letter Sounds Pro is a fantastic app for teaching children the sound which letters made by letters of the alphabet. This is known as letter-sound correspondence.
There are two levels of activities (set up as mnemonics off or mnemonics on)
In the easier level (mnemonics on), a selection of letter picture tiles are shown. A target sound is heard and the child needs to find it's corresponding letter by tapping on one of the picture tiles. The child also has two prompts: 1)The letter picture tile is also shown on the TV screen 2) A video of a person's lips saying the sound is shown. In the higher level (mnemonics on), a selection of letter tile is shown. A target sound is heard and the child needs to find it's corresponding letter by tapping on one of the letter tiles. The child also has one prompt: 1) A video of a person's lips saying the sound is shown.
Verbal instructions are given before the game and can be heard again at any time by tapping on the help button.
This is a timed activity so the child needs to tap on the picture within 20 seconds. The timer is a yellow bar at the bottom of the screen.  Just before the time runs out a little clock flashes on the TV screen to indicate that time is running out. Luckily, there isn't any beep or negative sound when the time ends. Instead the narrator calmly says "You ran out of time". The nice thing here is that even when the timer runs out, the child can still take their time and try to choose the correct answer. I hope there are some options to either omit the timer or adjust the length of the timer.
Multisensory approach
  • Picture prompt using letter picture tiles: each letter of the alphabet is drawn as a picture with the letter hidden in the picture. For example, the "h" is drawn as a house with the long stick of the "h" as the chimney. In this app these pictures of the letters are called mnemonics.
  • Visual and audio prompt using videos: each letter has a video of a person's lips demonstrating the phonic pronunciation of the letter.
Target letters
For each child you can choose a set of sounds to include in the game. The chooses are
  • More common: a, s, d, o, h, r, u, n, e, t, l, I, o
  • Less common: m, w, f, y, k, g, h, x, v, b, c, z, j
  • All
  • Vowels only
  • Consonants only
  • Custom - you select at least two letters and adjust the scoring to suit the child.
The narrator is a male adult Australian. The pronunciations are clear. There are two settings for "w" and "y". The recommended setting lengthens the sound and doesn't add the schwa. The traditional setting adds the schwa. Personally, I think the traditional setting is easier to understand on an iPad. However, I suggest you try both in the settings section and see what you think.
Use Rank (*)
Spell with Phonics Ranked 1st of 44

(*) This app has been ranked according to its' effectiveness to achieve the learning goals and strategies listed. Some apps may rank highly for achieving a specific use and lower for other uses. Some students will learn and engage with one app more than others, because of the individual nature of us all.

Learning App
Learning apps are designed for a specific purpose. The authors claim to teach a goal, skill or concept.
Bloom's Thinking Process
Bloom's Taxonomy is classification system used to explain the behaviours important in learning. Apps range from simple memory tasks such as flashcards apps through to creative apps which ask students to create an original story or video.
Bloom's Creating
The student creates new ideas, products or ways of viewing things. Activities include making, animating, designing, constructing, planning, producing and inventing.
Bloom's Evaluating
The student justifies a decision or course of action. Activities include counting to check, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting and judging.
Bloom's Analysing
The student breaks the information into parts to explore understandings and relationships. Activities include explaining, ordering, inferring, comparing and organising.
Bloom's Applying
The student uses the information in a new situation. Activities include implementing, carrying out, using, illustrating, classifying and categorising.
Bloom's Understanding
The student comprehends the new information. Activities include describing, predicting showing understanding use a multiple choice.
Bloom's Remembering
The student recalls information they know. Activities include matching, 'fill in the blank', making a choice, answering using a multiple choice, naming a group.
Learning Connection
How well does the app teach the targeted skill or concept? This is the area where we refer to current research and pedagogy to evaluate the efficacy of the app.
Authenticity looks at the manner in which skills are learnt. Authentic apps use real life or genuine activities. Students learn in context rather than in a contrived or rote fashion (such as flashcards).
Feedback needs to be specific and result in improved performance. Feedback should be supportive and encouraging rather than negative. Data should be available to support decision making.
Differentiation is the ability to customise the app to suit the student. The ability to record you voice, customise text, add pictures and alter settings enables individualisation of the app.
User Friendliness
User friendliness is a measure of how well a student can use the app independently. Some apps are simply intuitive to use. Others include audio or visual prompts which support the student.
All apps are engaging the first time they are played. However, students with diverse learning needs may need to return to the app many times. Motivating apps offer rewards,games or incentives.
Spell with Phonics
These are apps that spell words using letter sounds in a word (as opposed to spelling the word using letter names). There are 44 phonemes or letter sounds in the English language, including letter combinations such as /th/.

Domain Score Details
Learning Connection 4
LetterSounds is a quality app developed by the Reading Doctor group. There has been a lot of thought put into the differentiation, feedback and motivation aspects of this app. I particularly like the customisation features of this app. The child could begin with only two letter targets which are very different with a high level of prompting. Then the child can progress all the way through to choosing from all 26 levels with a low level of prompting.
Authenticity 2
This is a choice activity. The child needs to choose from 2 to 26 letters.
Feedback 3
When correct, the child earns points and hears a positive sound. When incorrect, the narrator explains
"You found z like in zip, can you find y like in yoyo" Then the child can try again. If they are at the difficult letter only letter, the letter picture tile now appeaers to help the child succeed.
Differentiation 4
The set up of this app can be customised for each child. The target sounds are chosen. Then you can also customise whether or nor you show high score, use encouragement and add in rewards. You can even adjust the volume of the rewards for each student. The reward system where you lose one life based on the number of errors made can be adjusted to occur after either 1, 2 or 3 errors. The w/y pronounciation can be changed from recommended to a more traditional pronunciation.
User Friendliness 4
As this app can be adjusted to the level of the child, children can use this independently.
Motivation 3
The child earns points and sees positive animations.
From the App Store
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Reading Doctor Pty Ltd

App Store Rating

(from 9 reviews)

Current Version Rating

(from 9 reviews)

Current Version

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Developer's Description
Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro is a fun, effective and scientifically based teaching tool which makes it easy to teach children the links between the letters of the alphabet and the speech sounds they typically represent in written English.

The program is based on research into reading acquisition and was developed by speech & language pathologist Dr. Bartek Rajkowski, PhD. Anybody with an interest in teaching children to read can use Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro to help children learn common letter-sound relationships!

Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro is based on our flagship program, ReadingSounds® 1 Pro, which is used in over 1000 Australian schools and is being described by educators as a breakthrough in teaching children how to read.

- Requires iPad 2 or higher
- Includes US, UK and Australian accents! To switch accents, tap 'settings' from the Main Menu.
- Although children love using it, Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro is not just a game - it is a powerful and fully customisable teaching tool. Please take some time to experiment with it yourself before trying it with students!

Why is letter-sound knowledge so important?

The past several decades of research have provided conclusive evidence that children who are strong readers are skilled in using letter-sound knowledge to learn new words when reading. Skilled readers are good at understanding that words are made up of speech sounds (a skill called phonemic awareness) and they are also good at understanding how these speech sounds are represented by letters. This knowledge helps children to ‘decode’ written language and teach themselves new words. Difficulties with these skills are hallmarks of the struggling reader. Furthermore, teaching methods that begin by teaching students letter-sound relationships (called ‘synthetic phonics’ methods) have been shown through research to be more effective than other approaches in teaching reading, regardless of whether students do or do not have reading difficulties. The evidence is clear: letter-sound knowledge is crucial in learning to read and spell since it helps students to teach themselves new words.

How does Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro help?

Understanding that letters typically represent certain speech sounds poses a challenge to beginning readers since there is no meaningful relationship between the way that letters look and the speech sounds they typically represent. For example, there is no reason why the squiggle “s” represents the sound /s/ as in “sun”. Children must also learn to distinguish between similar letters and sounds (e.g. “b” vs “d”) when learning letter-sound patterns.

Children are taught meaningful associations between the way that letters look and the speech sounds they typically represent through a unique system of visual, auditory and articulatory (speech sound) memory aids, or mnemonics. The teaching system in the app automatically identifies what a child knows, what the child does not know, and which letter-sound patterns the child confuses. Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro teaches children to discriminate between confusing patterns, and strengthens weaknesses in letter-sound understanding.

Who should use Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro?

Letter Sounds™ 1 Pro is ideal for helping beginning readers, students with reading difficulties and students learning English as a second language. It is a perfect complement to any phonics program and is fully customisable, making it easy to set up custom activities to teach students specific letter-sound patterns. We are confident it will quickly become a favourite tool for teachers, parents, reading specialists and anybody else with an interest in the teaching of reading and spelling!

Disclaimer: The evaluations and rankings information provided here are based solely on the opinion of the author and are for informational purposes only. Families should seek professional advice before making decisions regarding interventions for their child.