One thing I have learnt through the school years is not to rely on the school to teach them. At home you need to be really on the ball and reinforce everything they are learning and if you think they can learn a bit more, then encourage them. This gives them confidence in class and at least in the case of my children, seems to empower them a little in their learning.
Up until very recently we have been using a combination of Reading Eggs and IXL Maths, however these are subscription services and the costs can mount up. So I was very interested to hear about Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip and Kipper on Nintendo 3DS, particularly as this is a one off investment.
You can purchase 3 different volumes of Phonics Fun and its also available on the Nintendo 2 DS. If you children are welded to their DS (like mine) then you’ll find that this is incredibly appealing to them as it uses their favourite bit of kit and (like me) if you are keen to get them learning it will appeal to you. The great thing about the DS is that it fits easily into a bag/ handbag unlike some of the tablets you can get so its a really portable way of helping them to learn on the go.
We have been using Phonics Fun level 2 with Fifi (aged 5 but fairly advanced in her reading). She tells me that one of the things she likes is that it features Biff, Chip and Kipper. These are the characters from the Oxford Reading Tree Phonics books that they use at school. Familiarity is a good thing and I think it helps with learning because they can do a bit of predicting to help them decode words.
The programme has load of features, including one which when the volume is on says the sound. Fifi found that quite useful. I have to admit there are some features which are available as apps already, for anyone familiar with Hairy Letters will notice the tracing exercises are the same. However, having all these things in one place and the book based exercises are excellent.
From a parents point of view its always useful to see what they have covered and what they can do and you can do this with the programme. However, I’ll be honest you do need to be a bit savvy about using the DS and I had to get the husband to show me this as I’ve never used one before.
At the moment Fifi is enjoying using this programme and that means that she actually does it, which is a massive bonus. Its easy and no effort for her to sit there and play around with it and being portable she can use it whilst waiting for her brother to finish his drum lessons. If your child likes using the DS and you want to help reinforce their phonics, which lets face it is so essential today, I don’t think you can go far wrong with getting hold of a copy.
If you’d like to find out more, including a great video which shows you all the features of Phonics Fun have a look here on the Nintendo website as it really gives you a great flavour of what you’ll get. I’m very pleased and I think it has made a difference to Fifi’s learning. Soon she’ll be able to read this blog *shudder*!
Disclaimer: We were sent a review code for Level 2