Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LiteracySoft: Phonics and Reading with McGuffey {Crew Review}

LiteracySoft is a quality company dedicated to developing easy-to-use, inexpensive programs to teach reading to people of all ages.  LiteracySoft uses lessons from McGuffey Readers to teach their simple method and get readers reading.  Whether through their app or on PC, LiteracySoft is fun for all.

For this review, we were given a free download of the LiteracySoft app to try.  Phonics and Reading with McGuffey contains 52 complete lessons for reading.  These 52 lessons work to bring the student up to a first grade reading level.  It is also a great reading review tool for those struggling with reading at any age.

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey allows the student to work at his/her own pace without having an instructor telling them what they need to do.  Taking away the instructor often takes the pressure out of learning to read and puts it into the hands of the child, allowing them to grasp important reading concepts as they work through the program on their own.  And what better way is there to do that then with an all time, tried and true great like the McGuffey Reader!

In this app, the student will find all 52 McGuffey Primer lessons, 44 letter sounds of English and their graphemes, over 60 letter sound animations, more than 400 practice vocabulary words, and an over 9000 nonsense word audio dictionary.

After downloading the app, the user will find the unique ABC icon on their iPad page and can immediately begin after downloading is finished.  Spoken directions tell the user what to do when beginning.  Choose a color button and type your name to get started with this app.

On the next page, the user can then read the Table of Contents, change their settings or begin the lesson.  Choosing the Table of Contents allows the user to choose from any of the 53 included lessons on the app.  This allows the user to jump around and repeat lessons as needed.

In the User Settings section, the user can choose to skip phonics rules explanations, not to sound out words in a phonics blender, use an Open Dyslexic font, monochrome letters in words and sentences for easier viewing and hide the previous and next lesson arrows throughout the program.

Upon clicking Begin Lesson, there is a brief instructional showing the student how to use the app.  At the top, the user can find a repeat button.  Below that is a menu button.  There is also a previous and next part button to click back or ahead in a lesson.  The lessons, as mentioned before, follow those in the McGuffey Primer, so they are simple and easy to follow along with.

Cute actions graphics are included along with the lesson, which also goes along with the original primer lessons in style, only more up-to-date for this time period.  As the student works through, the program sounds out the word, completing this with the complete word's spoken name: cat = c a t (kuh aa tuh) = cat.

As lessons increase, so do the activities included.  A jump menu appears to allow the student to work on different activities throughout that lesson.  Some of these activities include workings specifically on Letter Sounds, new words, Phonics with flashcards, blending phonics, viewing the lesson's illustrations closer, practice of reading, quizes, spelling practice and sight word drilling.  Students working through can pick and choose the activities they'd like to complete as they work through each lesson.

This app quickly became a family favorite for us.  My children's reading skills and development has increased greatly just in the review period of a few short weeks.  This program is something that will be added into our homeschooling for all our readers.  The kids all agree it's a lot of fun to complete lessons.  It's also great for my interactive, video-game learner who hates learning to read anything in a book.

We used this app for several weeks.  I was able to create a profile for every one of my children and myself to play with this app.  It was very easy to set up lessons for each of them to complete.  This app was a little advanced still for my 5 year old but she is gradually growing into it.  It was perfect for my struggling reader to work with and he has made a lot of improvement in a short time.  My advanced reader also found the app enjoyable and used it to hone in on her personal reading skills and goals.

Phonics and Reading with McGuffey app is available in through the LiteracySoft website.  There is a free trail of the first 10 lessons available and also available for trial on PC.


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