SUPER WHY! ABC Adventures: Alphabet is an app available on an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android devices, and Kindle Fire. The app costs $2.99 on all devices except for the iPad, which offers it for $3.99.
SUPER WHY! ABC Adventures: Alphabet uses five mini-games to teach children ages three through six capital and lowercase letters, letter sounds, and letter writing. Each mini-game is based on a character from the television show Super Why, including Alpha Pig’s Lickety Letter Safari!, Super Why’s Z Marks the Spot!, Wonder Red’s Let’s Letter Fly!, Princess Presto’s Under the Sea Sounds!, and Woofster’s Golden Letter Bones! According to pbs.org’s press release about the game, “Each time players successfully complete a mini-game, they earn a special ‘Around the World’-themed sticker that is collected in their ‘Map of the World.’”
Most interesting for parents, however, is the fact that the app also includes a Progress Tracker that breaks down how children are performing on identifying letter names and letter sounds for each of the twenty-six letters so parents can work with children on areas in which they are struggling.
Lesli Rotenberg, who is Senior Vice President for Children’s Media at PBS explains that “SUPER WHY! ABC Adventures: Alphabet is a great tool for families to use to build reading skills wherever they are – covering core areas such as the alphabet and letter sounds that will help prepare children for success in school.”
Common Sense Media’s review by Cynthia Chiong gives the app four out of five stars, stating, “The games themselves are fun and include clear instructions and good feedback.” Because of this, the app has five out of five stars for ease of play and four out of five for educational value. As for branding, Chiong says, “For fans of the TV show, this is a great way to get more interactive with the characters and extend the learning.” Although Chiong emphasizes the need to be a fan of the show and all the mini-games are purposefully branded, Common Sense Media gave it one out of four stars for consumerism only, claiming that the media tie in is not too distracting.
I think that the Progress Tracker makes this app a valuable investment. It is not only fun for kids to play, but also helpful for parents to know what their children may be struggling with in a way that does not call out or embarrass their children.