Singapore – The British Council has released LearnEnglish Kids: Phonics Stories, an interactive phonics-based story app for iPad.LearnEnglish Kids: Phonics Stories is based on the UK phonics curriculum, ’Letters and Sounds’, and contains a collection of eight stories, each focusing on a different set of sounds.
What is phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching reading which helps children understand language they see by introducing letters by their sound rather than name. This encourages them to connect the words they see with the words they hear.
When we spell letters we usually use the names of individual letters. So we say the first three letters of the alphabet like this: ‘ay, bee, cee’. But it can be easier for children to start by learning the sounds letters make, for example the word ‘cat' is sounded ‘c-a-t' not ‘cee-ay-tee'.
There are 26 letters in the alphabet but phonics uses about 44 sounds that combine or ‘blend’ to make words in English. Students are also taught to recognise sounds made by combinations of letters such as ‘ch' and ‘sh'.
The idea is that children see letters or combinations of letters and they are able to say the sound the letters make. They can then put these sounds together to make words.
Build literacy and speaking skills
The app takes full advantage of the iPad’s technical capabilities and features crisp, high-definition illustrations, read-along audio narration and hundreds of interactive flaps and buttons for an engaging and dynamic reading experience.
‘LearnEnglish Kids: Phonics Stories is an exciting addition to the suite of LearnEnglish apps which the British Council offers,’ says Tracy Dumais, Mobile Learning Consultant at the British Council. ‘We are very excited to offer a story-book app which helps build a foundation for early literacy and speaking skills, and at the same time enables and encourages real-time interaction between children and family members through reading. The addition of FamLoop to LearnEnglish Kids: Phonics Stories really creates a unique family reading experience.’
LearnEnglish Kids: Phonics Stories is the British Council’s second app for young learners. The mobile app offers one free story on download and seven other stories available for purchase at US$1.99 each. The first three paid stories are currently available and the others will be released thereafter.
The App includes parent’s guide in six languages: English, Cantonese, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Traditional Chinese, so parents are able to teach children using specific activities and exercises recommended by British Council.