The Letter Shapes App aims to help young children learn the sounds and shapes of English letters and numbers.
The Letter Shapes app aims to teach young children (aged 5-7) how to write and recognize letters (lower and uppercase), numbers and words. It can be purchased from the Apple store and it is only available for iOS systems (iPad, iPod, iPhone). The app presents a drawing area on which children can form letters and numbers by touching the screen. For example, for the letter A, users are guided as to how to write the letter through a series of dotted white lines and numbers indicating the order to follow to shape the letter. A number of buttons allow manipulation of the drawing area: delete the shape and toggle on and off the dotted white lines, the white letter area surrounding the letter and the green lines on which the letter is written on. There is also a recording button saying the sound associated with the letter. Forward and backward buttons navigate between different letters and numbers. Additional interaction options are given to parents, including the creation of new groups of letters such as vowels only and the addition of words. Parents can record their voice and accompany a word they have inserted into a new group. This recording can be saved and accessed in the drawing area. The app can guide children as to how to write both letters and words. When the dotted lines and the white area surrounding the letter are off, the app turns into a spelling test: children can press the record button and attempt to write the word they hear without any visual cues. The app is simple, straightforward and suitable for use by young children.
The app could be improved further by providing instant feedback after writing a letter, number or word. A sound and/or an image should appear after a shape is drawn to indicate whether the shape is correct. If the shape is not appropriate, it would be good to demonstrate how to write it correctly and perhaps provide oral guidance as to how to write it properly. As the app targets young children, it would be easier to control, if the buttons were bigger and more user-friendly (e.g., cartoon like) to suit the age of the users. Also, the instruction page for parents it would be better if it was integrated into the app and loaded without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. Also, by pressing the Done button, the app closes rather abruptly. A confirmation message as to whether the user would like to exit the app would be more appropriate and help navigation. Also, the option to add more groups of letters, words and numbers given to parents would be good to be integrated as an option in the drawing area for children to create their own alphabets. This feature would fit the needs of more advanced children and differentiate between different levels of skills and difficulty. It would also be good if the app offered some more flexibility and personalisation options such as changing the colours of the drawing area and letters/numbers, saving the work done for use when re-opening the app, creating personalised workbooks with the letters produced and providing a score when letters and numbers are written properly. These features would incentivize children and make the app more attractive.
From the Developer
The Letter Shapes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch is the perfect way to teach young children how to correctly form letters and numbers.
Both upper and lower case letters and numbers are clearly displayed with dotted line guides which show how they should be formed. All your child has to do is use their finger to trace them.
Letter Shapes also helps your child learn the names and sounds of each letter. Audio clips for each letter inform your child of both the name and the phonics sound.
A unique feature of Letter Shapes is the ability to create your own lists of words tailored specifically to your child. You can even record a sound to accompany each word.
Letter Shapes features:
* Both upper and lower case letters and numbers are included.
* Dotted line guides show how each symbol should be formed.
* Letters, dotted line guides and horizontal rule lines can be toggled on and off.
* Pronunciation and phonics sounds included for every letter.
* Create your own lists of words, complete with accompanying sounds.