Smashing Grammar by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway

Smashing Grammar by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

six fun mini games which target grammar and spelling skills in a fun themed app which encourages play, self regulation, speed and fun!

What we’d love to see…

ability to slow down game play, multi-player option,  ability to have more time to “read” the sentence before play starts.

Summary

Fun grammar themed app which is great for practicing academic skills which carry over to reading, writing and school work.  The app is fun and encouraged my son to practice even during summer vacation!

Our Rating

Smashing GrammarSmashing Grammar by Fairlady Media is a universal app for iOS which targets spelling and grammar sounds.  This app targets slightly older kids ages 9-12 compared to other apps in the Fairlady Media series.  The app has a variety of six mini games which target specific skills to practice.  Each game has words that pop up and you touch the right word to correctly answer the problem.  If you miss, you get a deduction, if you succeed you get points and once you get multiple correct in a row you can get a bonus.  There are other objects which pop up including a heart, a leaf and a bomb.  Each of these has their own actions — sometimes good and other times not!  The app helps promote self-regulation as kids have to scan and hit the correct answer before they disappear or points will be deducted.

iPad Screenshot 4

 

The games are:

  • Noun Disco – which has you smashing nouns to complete the sentence in a timed series of questions.  Don’t hit the bomb or you miss points!
  • Verb Garden– this watermelon garden themed mini game has you smashing verbs to complete the sentences similar to the noun game
  • Syllable Spaghetti – guess how many syllables are in a specific word type
  • Spelling Slumber Party – hit the pillows to smash the correctly spelled word
  • Tense in paradise – practice cur rent, future and past tenses all while hitting coconuts
  • Plural Piggies – find the plural or singular word and smash it

I liked the variety of mini games and that I could target specific types of skills with my sounds without having them all mixed together.  I also liked that you could turn on and off the music in case your child found it distracting as mine did.  Each mini game also has a “help” which defines the type of item you are targeting such as syllables with examples.  The games were well thought out and included appropriate grammar for the targeted age bracket.  My son liked the games because it made practicing school “fun” even though it was summer vacation and I liked that he was working on academic skills even in the summer.  I would like to see a multi-player mode because I enjoyed the app and got to the harder levels which meant my son couldn’t play because it was simply too hard for him.  The app has narration which is well done and very clear in articulation with the spoken portions.  As each level gets harder, more word choices are presented and it goes from a one handed tapping app to two hands if you want  to select multiple answers within the game.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see a way to slow down the words – my eight year old struggled a bit to move to the next level a few times because he needed more time to complete the activity.  As he progressed, some of the higher levels got too hard for him and even got a bit harder for me.  Another thought, it would be nice if the sentence at the top appeared for a few more seconds so a child could start to think about it before they blindly start trying to find the right words.

Overall, this is a great app which encourages a variety of academic skills related to grammar.  Teaching grammar is one of the hardest academic skills because sometimes, kids simply have a hard time with spelling or visualizing a word.  This app makes it fun and entertaining with the end goal of moving on to a new level.  I enjoyed the app a lot as did my son – and played it enough that we reached level 11 in most of the mini games!  There are no in-app purchases or advertising contained within the app.

 

Smashing Grammar
Smashing Grammar
by Fairlady Media

Category: Education, Educational, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 165.04 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 The Sounding Out Machine – Assistive Reading Device by FizzBrain – Review

The Sounding Out Machine – Assistive Reading Device by FizzBrain – Review



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

allows kids to “read on their own” and become more comfortable with hard words by using their decoding skills to learn them.

What we’d love to see…

parental gate to protect the teacher and my word so kids can’t send an email by mistake or delete a student

Summary

A great app to practice word decoding skills in a fun way that doesn’t have the pressure of making a mistake in front of the teacher or let’s kids practice on their own.  I have seen great improvements especially in “hard words” and my son is asking to read now rather than being “forced” to.

Our Rating

The Sounding Out Machine - Assistive Reading DeviceThe Sounding Out Machine – Assistive Reading Device by FizzBrain is an iPad only app that helps kids who are reading to focus in on specific words that they may not know.  The app allows you to take words in three forms and then sound them out.  This app can be used with preschool through elementary school and is great for emerging readers.  By learning how to break a word down, they are more successful and ultimately that leads to more reading because it is fun rather than “something they have to do”.

The three modes of the app are:
•Camera mode – take a picture of the page of the book using your iPad
•Library mode –  Take a picture ahead of time, save it on your camera roll and open it when reading
•Typing mode – Type in your own word

It presents with a screenshot of the different types of reading modes.  You also create a profile for each child so that you can track the types of “hard” words on a daily, weekly and monthly basis so you can see change over time in reading comprehension.  You can also send the reports via email to parents or even teachers.  There are “teacher settings” – I put my own email here.  You can either have the app read phonemes as one unit or read every letter and ignore phonemes.  I tried it both ways, however, since my son is working on phonemes in school we primarily did it that way.  A quick tip – if you are going to use the library mode I found it much faster to photograph the pages of the board books and other books we were reading ahead of time without “help” as the pictures were clearer and there wasn’t the frustration if they were blurry.  Also, by making the library ahead of time, he knew the books that his brother liked or the ones he liked and could practice them on his own when he had time with the iPad.  I liked knowing that he was reading, and so I gave him some extra time with the iPad so he could practice. The app also allows you to track a photographed page with a box to cover up the extra words so if your child has trouble focusing on a specific word due to too many on the page this can help as well.

After getting the photo of the page either from the library or taking it on the fly, a colored box comes up that you move to the word that you need help sounding out.  Once the box is on the right word, you click “read my word”.  You are brought to another screen where you can see the word you put in the box and then have to type the word in using the on-screen keyboard.  After you type it in, you are prompted to see if you have spelled the word correctly.  I tested it both with the correct and incorrect spelling – and if the word was misspelled then the app said it “wasn’t in the dictionary” but you could use your card to try to sound it out again.  Once the word was spelled correctly or was in the dictionary, you could see the word and cover up parts of it to sound it out – in this case “roaring”.  You could either use a card and cover it up as you worked with your child or hit “teach me” which covered up the word and showed it letter by letter as it was sounded out.   There are different types of cards you can use which include “regular”, “see through”, “double”, “peekaboo”, and “teach me” which you can also change the colors of.  When I sat with my son, we used our own card to sound out words and then would use the teach me mode as well.    The word is also color coded into sections to make it easier to sound out.    The typing mode was harder for him, because even though he had the book in front of him sometimes he would make mistakes copying it down to be sounded out.  The app has great directions which explain how to use each function and button and even let you change the word from phoneme/syllable to blending on the fly.

My son struggles with word “decoding” which means that at times he can look at a word and even though he might know it, he can’t figure out what it means. We pretended to be an investigator as we sounded out the words and looked for clues like an ending or broke it apart as we read.  I can do that when I read with him, but when he reads on his own, he is more likely to look at the picture and make up a word if he doesn’t know one (which is developmentally appropriate at this time).   This is the perfect app to help him with that and I have seen based on the words in the library an improvement.  The app’s dictionary has over 80,000 words including multiple forms of the same word like “roar”, “roared”, “roaring” and they welcome suggestions from people on new words that should be added.  My son has even started to when reading use his fingers to chunk the word and sound it out – especially if it’s been one he practiced within the app.

I loved this app – my seven year old has started reading to his brother via board books and sometimes the words are too hard.  I photographed all the pages on my camera roll of “Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear” by Bill Martin Jr. and then my son and I practiced reading them using the app.  By photographing the pages and putting the blue box around the hard words – he was able to sound them out and begin to recognize them so he could read the story to his brother more easily.  I loved that it encouraged him to read – we tried both with the camera photographing them ahead of time and photographing them as we read.  If I photographed them and put them on the iPad in the camera roll, he could then go back independently if he had trouble reading or we could do it together.  I also loved the “my words” so I could see the words he was having trouble with and then as time went on how the words changed.  I could also see it when my son reading to his younger brother – reading was cleaner and more fluid as he got better at chunking the words himself rather than just saying “I don’t know this word – tell me”.  To be fair, I know he’s working hard on reading in school as well and I’m sure that was a big help.  My son also told me he liked practicing on his own, because he could practice by himself without worrying that he was doing it “wrong”.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see the “my words” email function protected by a parental gate.  My son figured out how to go in there and send out multiple emails when he was supposed to be reading.  The teacher settings area wasn’t protected either and my son tried to delete his profile, luckily it came up with a display box and he clicked he was not the teacher so we did not lose his progress. All other links including app store links in the “info section” are protected with a complex math problem.  It would also be nice if there was a “library” that stored your old words so you could tap on those to see them sounded out without having to find the photographed page again or take another photograph.

Overall, if your child has trouble decoding words or is struggling with reading this is a great tool to add to your app library.  I have many reading apps that I have used with my son, and one of the reasons we liked this one so much was that it broke things down into manageable chunks and let him read on his own.  Seeing my older son read to his younger brother in a more fluid way is a huge win in my book.  I’ve noticed other improvements in his reading skills as well – and when you compare the cost of this app to the hourly cost of a reading tutor, this is a great purchase to help carry over skills at home.  Another example, my son is starting to like to read for pleasure rather than it being a “have to do”.


The Sounding Out Machine - Assistive Reading Device
The Sounding Out Machine - Assistive Reading Device
by FIZZBRAIN LLC

Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 331.74 MB

$3.99USD

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers – Review

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

beautiful illustrations and engaging story with different story points chosen by the reader

What we’d love to see…

font in one consistent color and easier to read, currently it’s small in size

Summary

Remove this text and add your own here.

Our Rating

The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers is an iPad only app featuring two characters Aladdin and Sinbad in a storybook for young readers (ages 6 – 11) with three translations in English, Spanish and Chinese.  The story is about a magic lamp and how Aladdin and Sinbad are going to search for a magic lamp.  The story pages are on parchment with a red background with pen and ink drawings and each page features an interactive element that engages the reader into the story.  The words are highlighted as the are read and turn a slightly different color after they are read which makes them show up more clearly on the page.  There is an option to have the words translated and they appear at the bottom of the page.  There are choices that the reader can make which help direct the story and engage them further as well as exploring the app via a map.  As each island visit is completed, the map is highlighted to show you where you had been on your adventures – and each time you open the app you can explore a different place.  Each of the islands features an interactive element either a riddle, a book given or something else to help Aladdin on his journey to find the magic lamp.  While Aladdin is away on his journey, the city has fallen into poverty and the story continues even after the lamp is found!  After completing the journey you are invited to choose another island to explore and the story continues.

The app features:

  • interactive story elements
  • ability to choose your destination based on a map and learning about new places including Bubble Kingdom, Kingdom of Dreams, Upside Down Kingdom,The Mirror Door, The White Dome, Hose Shoe Island, Soo-Ven-Ir and many more
  • narration in English, Spanish and Chinese
  • beautiful pen and ink illustrations and hand drawn pages
  • narration to hear the story
  • original music throughout

iPad Screenshot 5

I loved the illustrations and interactive elements on each page and this app kept my son engaged as he read the story with me and subsequently  by himself.  He enjoyed tapping on the treasure map and exploring each of the different paths the story could take to read it.  I also liked the different areas that could be tapped on to learn more especially the fish bubble that contained an underwater kingdom.  He enjoyed touching the screen and exploring inside the bubble and spent quite a bit of time studying the image.  My son enjoyed hearing the story of the lamp, especially in the underwater kingdom as well as the gift that was given by the Sultan.

In terms of improvements, the font is problematic.  It varies in color and style and can be difficult at times to read on the screen until it is read aloud.  I would also like the option to have the translation read aloud – perhaps there is a way to have the words in English on the page, and then also read them in the translation.  Currently, the translation is at the bottom of the page and requires you to “scroll” with your finger in order to read it, it’s smaller than the read aloud font on the screens.

 

 

This app provides engagement for kids, over and over again as they explore the paths that can be read.  My son has opened and explored the app new fewer than six times to look at each of the islands and adventures.  The narration and pen and ink drawings as well as the adventure portion draw kids in – even younger emerging readers and encourage them to engage and understand the story.  With the beautiful illustrations, children can imagine what is said on the pages and tap on the interactive elements to move forward. It is best for children who are reading in some form and those who enjoy exploring on each page. There are no external links or in-app purchases.



The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad The Voyages of Aladdin and Sinbad by BelMontis Publishers Pte. Ltd.

Price: $3.99 USD

*** Teachers with Apps: "Belmontis has a knack for continuing the tradition of a GREAT storytelling! Not to mention that the art alone is spectacular..."
*** The iMums: "This app provides engagement.

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Learn to read with Monkey Junior – a homeschool curriculum in English, French by Early Start Co. Ltd – Review and Giveaway

Learn to read with Monkey Junior – a homeschool curriculum in English, French by Early Start Co. Ltd – Review and Giveaway



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What we love…

The different ways words are shown using text, images, videos and sounds.

What we’d love to see…

Pre-loaded lessons.

Summary

A fantastic app sure to teach children new words, phrases and simple sentences from a young age to first grade.

Our Rating

Monkey Junior by Early Start is an extensive reading app which is jam packed full of ways children can discover and learn new words and new sentences. The app covers hundreds of different topics with more than one hundred phonic rules. Each course contains thousands of words, videos, images, audios and different voices.

The app is free to download and includes several lessons in both US and UK English, and French which introduce new words on different topics. At this stage, these free lessons are available across easy, medium and advanced levels except for French which is only available at easy and medium levels. You have the option to get more free lessons by rating the app on iTunes or Facebook using connect and share.

An in-app purchase unlocks the full course in US or UK English or/and French which provides you with a total of 2,463 lessons!

To give you an example, the English US version has three difficulty levels: Easy (teaches single words, phrases), Medium (simple sentences) and Advanced (complicated sentences to help enhance first grade readers’ reading fluency and skills in sentence formation). Within each difficulty level, there are five separate levels and within those levels there are 60+ lessons.

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Each lesson teaches your child new words. You can either leave settings as they come standard so that each category of words is chosen or you can choose from each category (animals, wild animals, body parts, nature etc.).

Children can be shown those new words in a multi sensory way (showing a word as text, an image, a video and a sentence illustration to describe the words in some courses), using flash cards with adjustable speed, using phonics sounds, phonics games, sight words, read words by themselves or play a quiz game guessing the word by a sound or a picture which is then reinforced. Alternatively you can change the settings to show words using the multi sensory way, flash cards and quiz all at the same time.

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The app includes a quick guide to show children and parents how to use it as well as a parents page which includes a general settings section, an app overview section, a content purchase section and a more apps section. Most are blocked by a parental gate which requires you to solve a simple math problem.

My three year old loves this app, we switch from English to French to learn new words. The app is very easy to use and she has no issues turning each page to learn new words, looking at pictures and videos and having a go at the games to earn new stickers.

This app is a wealth of knowledge and great for teaching children new words, new sentences in a simple yet effective way. The only issue I could find with this app is that lessons are not preloaded which means you need to download a new one each time. This can be an issue if your little one is a bit impatient and wants to keep going with the lessons. Downloading several lessons at a time whilst the little one is not using the iPad is recommended.

Overall, this is a fantastic app to teach children new words, phrases and simple sentences from a young age to first grade. This app is packed with so much information, a great resource which will be sure to teach your children something new every day.

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Monkey Junior: a homeschool curriculum, how to teach your child to read English, French

Monkey Junior: learn to read Monkey Junior: learn to read by Early Start Co. Ltd
Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 111.3 MB

$FREE

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If you would like to win the complete Learn to read with Monkey Junior Program (worth $30), please enter via the widget below. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Catherine is a mother of a little miss almost 3 years old. Originally from France she now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She loves to explore their beautiful city with her daughter and sharing their adventures with other parents. Catherine has a passion for social media, blogging, technology and food. Before the arrival of her daughter, Catherine was studying and working in the field of IT and still loves all things tech! She loves finding new apps for her daughter to learn and play with and share great apps with other parents.

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