Sago Mini First Words

Rating Sago Mini First Words - 5 out of 5 - Best Rating 5.0

  • iPad, iPhone
  • Free
  • age 3+
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About Sago Mini First Words

Sago Mini First Words helps kids aged 2 to 8 learn their first words, whether as part of developmental language learning or speech therapy if kids have delayed speech or similar difficulties. It teaches kids words through visual and audible examples and provides practice through interactive activities, mini-games and other learning experiences.

Sago Mini First Words is available on iOS devices as a free download which provides access to a seven-day free trial that includes a cross-section of the full app's content. A subscription, monthly or annual, unlocks the app. An Android version is promised for the future.

This review of Sago Mini First Words is based upon the full app as available through a subscription.

Sago Mini First Words Review

What is Sago Mini First Words app?                     

Kids with full access to Sago Mini First Words have two main sections to use in the app. One is a multitude of activities built around words such as numbers, letters, colours, etc. Each of these is accessible through a large and clear icon. 

The activities use spoken examples and instructions so that reading skills need not be a limitation. There is a text instruction in many cases, but it is read aloud with the thoughtful touch of highlighting each word as it is spoken.

The activities include copying the mouth movements of a child in a video, saying words out loud, dragging and dropping items into place and more.

The second section is divided into levels and takes kids through speech-based tasks of growing complexity.   This is not randomly accessed as the activities are in the other section. Instead, the app leads kids through in a pre-defined order.

As the app is responsive to each child's current level, the activities and content will vary from child to child and as they progress. 

What we love about Sago Mini First Words app

Parents are involved right from the start with First Words. The app opens up with a simple series of slides that explain the techniques that underpin the app's approach, how it works, and what makes the app unique.

First Words is great for letting kids practise speaking independently. Its use of a diverse selection of children to demonstrate mouth movements and pronunciations is non-threatening and informative for kids. The app's ability to listen to kids say words and confirm when they have said them correctly is a great way to practice in their own time.

What skills does it improve?

Sago Mini First Words' full focus is on getting young kids to communicate by helping them to learn, say and understand their first words.

What age is it appropriate for?

The app is for kids who are learning their first words. It is also suitable for kids with a developmental delay, so it is the needs of each child rather than their age that are important.

Is Sago Mini First Words app easy to use?

Navigation for kids is easy. The icons are large and contain images that indicate the content they lead towards.

Parents have access to a section behind a parental lock that lets them manage their subscriptions. It also has a comprehensive FAQ that explains how the app works and its underlying educational principles.

How will students benefit?

The app has an attractive game-like presentation. While the graphics are child-friendly and will be attractive to pre-school kids, their sharp and simplified designs won't turn off kids who are a little older.

Sago Mini First Words provides learners with plenty of support. Its clear videos of other children show kids a good example, while the use of the device's camera makes it into an effective mirror for kids to see how their movements compare. Mirroring is a technique used by speech therapists.

As the app can listen to kids as they speak, it also provides positive affirmation that they are correct. This should help prevent kids from mispronouncing words and developing a hard to break habit. 

The graphical filters which reward kids for success by letting them take a photo in a silly hat or with a whimsical prop work well as personalised incentives that kids can store in their device's photos. Sharing these images with the family will provide a further practice opportunity as kids show what they learned to earn the picture.

How will parents benefit?

While the app provides great examples and feedback, it does not mean that parents can't join in with kids. Using the app as a focus will make speech practice less formal and more of a fun session that parents and kids can enjoy together. 

Both can do the mouth exercises, speak the words, share the app's activities, and have fun.

Parents probably won't have experience developing kids' speech, especially if there is a developmental delay, so the app's guidance and responsiveness will provide a helpful structure. Parents can use the app's content to inform the support they give to their kids in conversation and other learning opportunities.

What can Sago Mini First Words app improve on?

Some of the links associated with the app are broken or lead to unexpected places. For example, the button marked 'printables' in the app leads to the app store page for another of the developer's apps, not, as you'd expect, to a selection of printable resources. The app store's link to the supporting web page is also broken. 

Bugs like these shouldn't put purchasers off, but it harms the app's otherwise polished presentation.

The app's main screen for kids is dominated by the category-based activities, which fill the screen with large icons. The level-based activities are presented as something of an afterthought with a small icon in the bottom-left corner.

They do not feel like an afterthought in play, so giving them equal prominence to the other activities would make sense.

Some form of progress tracking so that parents can see how their kids have been using the app would be a good feature to add. Using that feature, parents could see where their kids get stuck and ensure that kids use the app enough to justify the subscription.

Good to know

Sago Mini First Words downloads its activities and content as they are required. This can result in a short delay depending on your internet connection and means that kids will need their devices to be connected to use the app.

How much does Sago Mini First Words app cost?

You can download Sago Mini First Words for free, and this comes with a limited free trial that lasts for seven days. Within the free trial, you can try a good variety of the different exercises, and the quality and feature set are good representations of what you will get if you subscribe.

What is included with the free version vs. paid?

Should you feel that the app is helping your child or holds the promise to do so, you can take out either a monthly or annual subscription. As you'd expect, the yearly rate is discounted over the monthly rate and at the time of this review, it was further reduced.

Is Sago Mini First Words app safe to use?

All the content in Sago Mini First Words was appropriate for very young children. The app does not display advertisements at any time, including the free trial period.

The app requires access to the device's camera and microphone. These are justified as the camera is needed for mirroring the child's mouth movements, and the microphone is required for the device to listen to kids as they speak. The app also asks for access to the device's photo storage so that it can save captured photos. If you deny this permission, the app will continue to work but won't be able to save pictures.

The app personalises its content for its users and asks parents to provide optional information about their child's speech level, diagnosis, and whether they attend speech therapy. According to the app's detailed but clearly written privacy policy, the app uses biometric data captured from the app's camera to match filters to faces but does not store any of the data.

Overall rating of the app.

Sago Mini First Words is a versatile app well made to help kids develop their speech and aid parents in providing support to their children. It teaches using high-quality videos and other material, and it offers effective practice opportunities that give kids feedback.

The app's free trial makes the prospect of trying this app with your kids risk free. Download it, play it alongside your child, and see how they get on. 

App Details

Ratings

Devices

iPad, iPhone

Price

Free

Skills

Communication Skills
Life Skills

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - Yes

In-App Advertising - No

Publisher

Sago Mini

Download Sago Mini First Words

You can download Sago Mini First Words on your iOS devices from the Apple App Store.

Download Sago Mini First Wordsfor iOS

Screenshots of Sago Mini First Words

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