For Teachers

For Parents

Cambugs Phonics

  • iPad, iPhone
  • Paid
  • age 2+

About Cambugs Phonics

This is the second app released by Cambugs and it will help develop your child’s phonic skills and their ability to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes.  These early exercises are the first steps to help children reinforce phonic blends and sounds in reading and writing. Strong phonic skills are essential and Cambugs Phonics is one of the best apps that assure high-quality phonic work.  The app received a 5 star EAS Certification.

Teacher Review

Cambugs Phonics has the same layout as Cambugs Letter Sounds. You first have to create a profile for the child and then start using the 3 learning activities and one reward activity:

Sorting:  This first activity will show you how many sounds your child is recognising and will help the app personalize the next activities around the unknown phonic sounds.  On the screen you will see flash-cards each with a digraph (a pair of letters used together to represent a single sound) that can be dragged to one of the two piles at the bottom of the page: on the left side you have the ‘Known Sounds’ represented by a green bug and on the right side the ‘Unknown Sounds’ with a red bug. You can also tap the ‘Sound Hint’ button to hear the correct pronunciation of the letter sound.

Learning:  At this stage the app focuses on delivering the learning of the unknown digraphs that are mixed with the ones that they already know. Note that ‘oo’ and ‘th’ letter groupings can make two different sounds (e.g. that and three). You can tap on the ‘Sound Hint’ twice to hear the different audio pronunciations. You can either tell your child the sound or play the recording and then ask them to repeat it. Repetition is essential for students to learn and retain sounds indefinitely in memory and it is one of the most common methods used for sounds and vocabulary acquisition. For each sound the app offers example words that can be found in the ‘Tutorial’ page, easily accessible by clicking on ‘Teacher’ button. Once the cards are finished, the parent or the teacher can decide if the child learned or needs to go back (press ‘Retry’) and study the letter group. For each sound learned the child wins a new bug to add to their collection.

Timed Testing:  The student will have to go through a flash-card stack of digraphs and say the sounds correctly. Grown-ups have to drag the cards away or just pres ‘Next’ immediately after the child says the sound. If they don’t know the correct sound you can encourage them to try again or tell them the sound and continue the test.  Learning apps that use limits and timers are good because children will like the challenge of beating their scores and times. All the data gathered from the tests are available in the ‘Statistics’ section and for both teachers and parents this is very useful as they will have a clear view of their students’ progress.

Bug Collection:  This is where children can see all the bugs they received and arrange them in the background (for e.g. all the bugs with wings should be put against the blue sky). The canvas extends if you swipe to the right and kids could be tempted to create stories around the bugs. It would have been nice if you could at least rotate them or add names to each of them.

Cambugs Phonics is a complete phonics program that teaches all the phonics sounds for those using British English. The sound hints are very accurate and very useful if the child just wants to practise on his own.  But this is mainly a tool that is designed as a teaching aid where grown-ups and children work together. We recommend this app for educational environments (preschool institutions) where children have a variety of different reading readiness levels. For just £1.99 you can be sure you’re getting accurate content and an app that is adequate on its learning outcomes.

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App Details

Teacher Ratings


iPad, iPhone


Communication Skills
Cognitive Development


In-App Purchases - No



Download Cambugs Phonics

Screenshots for Cambugs Phonics

  • Cambugs PhonicsCambugs PhonicsCambugs PhonicsCambugs PhonicsCambugs Phonics


Cambugs Phonics teaches children to say graphemes (such as ‘ch’ and ‘ue’). This is the second step on their journey to become fluent, confident readers — following our previous app, Cambugs Letter Sounds. Cambugs Phonics introduces eighteen new bugs, and a more exciting bug collection on iPad.

Cambugs has been developed by educational psychologists and parents. We know the importance of parents taking an active role in their children’s learning, so we developed an app where parents/teachers and children work together.

Cambugs Phonics is targeted at pre-readers, as well as struggling older readers. It uses evidence-based techniques that research has shown helps children develop their reading skills. You will notice in this app that children engage in lots of repetition — this is because this is a very effective strategy for ensuring that children remember and retain the sounds that they learn. Cambugs Phonics also has a timed test for ensuring that your child is able to remember their sounds quickly and fluently — this is because fluency is a key skill needed for becoming a confident reader.

◆ Developed by educational psychologists using teaching techniques that we know work.

◆ Teaches your child their sounds to a level where they can demonstrate confidence and fluency — key skills needed for later word reading and comprehension of text.

◆ Uniquely designed as a joint activity so that you are guiding your child through their learning. Think of it as being a bit like sitting down and reading a story with your child.

◆ When children learn a new sound they are rewarded with a ‘Cambug’. These bugs have been designed by children for children.

◆ Statistics screen shows you how many sounds your child knows and which sounds they need to learn. This is very useful if being used in a school setting.

Cambugs Phonics includes four activities :

‣ Sorting: Sort sounds into two piles (sounds your child knows and sounds that have yet to be learned ). This initial activity ensures the app is personalised to meet the specific learning needs of your child.

‣ Learning: Children learn a new sound alongside sounds that they know already. This is called ‘interleaved learning’ and ensures your child remembers their sounds.

‣ Timed Test: Children are timed to see how quickly they can say each sound. The app automatically puts letters that your child has not yet learned fluently back in the unknown pile to be re-learned at a later date. If your child likes the competitive element of the timed test, switch on the Time Challenge.

‣ Bug Collection: Your child will find a new bug in their collection whenever they learn a new sound and they can visit this at any time!

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