Ricardo's Alphabet Game Board
Ricardo's Alphabet app has been designed to help young children familiarize themselves with the English alphabet, both sounds and letter shapes. The app presents three educational games aiming to help children recognise letter shapes, recall letter names and sounds and remember the letter-sound associations of the English Alphabet. The app primarily targets children aged 4-6 years old who have limited or no previous experiences of learning the alphabet. The app is a good introduction for engaging children with letters in a playful way.
Ricardo's Alphabet app aims to teach young children aged 4-6 the sounds and letters of the English Alphabet in a playful way. It is available for purchase online for a small download fee. It presents three well-designed educational games aiming to help children recognise letter shapes, recall letter names and sounds and remember the letter-sound associations of the English Alphabet. Children are presented with a dashboard with the three games and are free to select and start any of the games they want to.
The game I Hear asks children to help Ricardo jump across the river rocks. To do so, they hear the sound of a letter and move Ricardo to the rock that showcases the respective letter shape. They have to select the right letter shape from a number of other shapes in three different occasions for Ricardo to cross the river. This repetition helps children learn better and recall letters easily. The Vowel Catch game presents a letter shape and asks children to catch the kite that relates to this letter. By touching the letter and the kites, children hear the sound of the letter and/or words. Yet it is noted that matching in this activity is not as straightforward as expected, as it incorporates a degree of fine motor dexterity, for children to match the string of the kite to the letter and not just drag and drop the kite near the letter.
The Hidden Letters game is a hide and seek activity; children are asked to identify a series of letters that are hidden in a scenery. Some of the letters are partially hidden behind other items such as the grass and a baby goat while others are entirely hidden behind e.g. the door of a house. This activity might need time to digest for young children as a lot of letters are presented to them at the same time while they may not be able to identify where letters are hidden, especially the ones that are overly hidden behind items. A question mark gives a hint as to where to look, yet it is up to the children whether they will press the question mark and get some help or ask a supervising adult for assistance, so that they can be encouraged to persevere with a new or difficult task before choosing to opt out of the activity before completing it. All games have three different levels of difficulty by introducing new letters, upper and lowercase, and beginning sounds of words. This is particularly useful as it helps children progress with the learning of the alphabet and accommodate children with diverse learning needs - being experts or novices in learning the alphabet.
What is particularly useful is the reward system behind each activity. There are indicators on the screen showing children's progress throughout the game. This would be further enhanced if it was more visible and prominent on the screen and accompanied with sound e.g., two more activities to go. Also, in each activity there are a number of stars indicating how many sections children have to pass to complete the activity. Again, it would be more helpful if this system was better integrated into the design so it draws the attention of the children and motivates them to complete the activity. Overall, the app is well-designed and appropriate for young children. Yet, it could better support learning if the instructions were more intuitive rather than written text and oral instructions. However in this current format, the instructions are automatically spoken on the first play of each game, the audio can be re-played upon the press of a button at any time during the game or read aloud by a supervising adult at any time also.
From the Developer
Ricardo Reading Mouse is sure to delight children, as they enjoy learning their ABC’s with him, in three, beautifully illustrated, educationally-based games. Great care has been taken to ensure each game, develops essential early literacy skills in a safe, supportive, encouraging and fun way. We have no in-app purchases or live streaming.
As children interact with Ricardo, they will meet the 26 letters of the English Alphabet.
They will learn to:
1. recognise letter shapes;
2. recall letter names and sounds and
3. identify and remember the initial letter-sound associations of the 21 consonants and the 5 short vowel sounds of the English Alphabet.
This app has been designed to target primarily the under 6’s and it is a beautiful addition to any classroom or home learning environment. It is also a perfect place to engage older children who are struggling and require extra time and support to practice learning their letter names and sounds.
Hidden Letters – find the correct alphabet letters as they play hide and seek
Vowel Catch – help vowel characters catch matching kites
I Hear – help Ricardo jump across the river rocks by matching letters and sounds
Each game has three different levels, systematically introducing and teaching lowercase letters, uppercase letters and beginning sounds of words. Children can freely move between each game and level within a game, at their own pace by selecting a game on the main home screen and then by selecting a level on the first screen of each game.
Instruction boxes with text and audio automatically open up on each initial play of the game and upon repeated game plays. The instruction box can then be selected with an icon on screen. There are indicators on the screen in each game which show the child’s progress throughout the game and how many screens are remaining before a reward screen appears.
We recognise the importance of children needing a healthy balance of screen time and active play time. So attention has been given, to ensure we provide games and rewards that serve as a gentle reminder to children of how much fun it is to put their device down and engage in safely supervised active play like flying a kite, using a scooter or pogo stick, leaping and jumping, enjoying nature play or playing hide and seek.
Such active play also assists in the development of visual motor skills which are vital when learning to read, write and spell. Disclaimer: Children’s activities are always at the discretion of their supervising carer.
Some levels within the games have interactive rewards. Ie. fast, normal and slow buttons where children can change the pace at which Ricardo is doing an activity. For other rewards, children have the joy of seeing Ricardo appear doing a task to a pleasant, up-beat little instrumental or vocal.
As children are naturally inquisitive, there are also some surprise interactive touch points, in the games, that when pressed will delightfully reward children with a movement, a sound or both. We trust you will enjoy exploring these with your child.
LOCKED PARENT SECTION FEATURES:
1. More information about the visual processing aspects of this app
2. In app settings, there are further details specifically for the Hidden Letters game:
a. There is an additional setting which will make the game harder by reshuffling the hidden letters more frequently.
b. There is provision of an answer key revealing all 26 hiding spots.
3. Rate and Review section
4. Access to more learning resources via the links to our support website and Youtube channel
We are a new family-owned company launching into this space. Your support is very much appreciated and we are very keen to hear your comments/feedback. Thank you!
Learning With Ricardo Reading Mouse Youtube