Featured App: Read with Phonzy by MeowTek

Featured App: Read with Phonzy by MeowTek



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Read With PhonzyRead with Phonzy by MeowTek is a free universal app for iOS which features speech recognition to understand how well kids pronounced words using a character named Phonzy who provides prompts on the words.  The app requires that you opt in via email to use it and understand the terms and conditions.  It utilizes speech technology which recognizes and assesses the specific word that you are focusing on in the sentence.  It works best with children and does work well in a noisy environment like a busy home or a place where there is background noise.  As children pronounce words correctly, they can unlock the word which is then put into a gallery.  It also helps kids build confidence in reading (especially sight words) and improves skills of sentence building and thinking quickly.  We tested the app in a variety of environments including with a television on in the background, at a local park and in a classroom with other children.  Each time Phonzy was able to zero in and understand the words being spoken without picking up the ambient noise.

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One of the great things for me about the app was that I could help my son focus in on specific word types which he would learn and then as he got better with the pronunciation we were able to go back and re-listen to where he might have previously stumbled.  The app helps you correctly pronounce words and encourages children to read out loud – without a lot of corrections “in the moment” which then helps to build self confidence and sounding out skills.  MeowTek collects the audio recordings to improve the speech technology of the app and increase recognition, but no personal information about your child is collected.  Phonzy currently focuses on key words and important phrases, with the end goal of understanding the entire sentence.  The app is PRIVIO certified which means that MeoTek has COPPA compliant privacy practices to protect your child’s information and the verification via email is the method of ensuring that a parent understands that their child is using the app.

To use the app, Phonzy presents the user with a simple sentence similar to the one above with one specific word highlighted.  Your child reads and records the sentence and if the highlighted word is pronounced correctly, you get the object which is then placed in your gallery.  The words presented are appropriate for children from late kindergarten through mid-elementary school or approximately end of grade 3 according to the ones that I saw.  My son gained huge amounts of confidence when reading with Phonzy aloud because I wasn’t always trying to correct him and he didn’t feel “pressured” to perform on the spot.  My son liked that Phonzy would recognize his words most of the time and that he could easily re-record them as needed.

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Phonzy is currently working to understand additional speech and speech recognition technology.  Currently, Phonzy is programmed to understand the specific highlighted words, very occasionally he will misunderstand a user however, as my son used the app more we found that Phonzy was correct in 18/20 trials.  The data collected from the app is made anonymous and is used to build and improve on speech recognition technology, it is never shared with any third parties and neither are the actual recordings.  I also loved that I could save the sentences that my son was saying and share them with his speech therapist to show his progress over time.

Overall, this is a great free app that encourages children to increase the number of words that they can read and earn some fun gallery prizes doing so.  It was a great self confidence booster for my son who struggled at times reading out loud and now has built up some confidence as he works through using the app and practicing new words.  We also liked knowing that we were helping Meowtek improve their speech recognition technology and perhaps, learn from some of the challenges that my son was having.

 

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Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

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Also available on Google Play and Amazon

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by Meowtek but all opinions expressed are mine and are given honestly

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.
 Bla Bla Box by Marbotic – Review

Bla Bla Box by Marbotic – Review



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What we love…

easy to use app that allows kids to play with letters, syllables and even create words in both a touch screen format as well as using an optional toy

What we’d love to see…

ability to save words you have created, way to align words to the far left when starting them so you don’t run out of space or have to drag them over to finish creating them

Summary

Overall this is a brightly colored fun app that encourages preschool and early elementary aged children to practice their spelling and letters. I liked how it sounded out each of the letters and words in a dynamic way.

Our Rating

Bla Bla BoxBla Bla Box by Marbotic is a iPad only app that lets kids explore how letters make sounds and form words.  The app is designed for preschool through early elementary school aged children and is available with five different languages.  When you move the letters onto the screen from the bottom, the letters are sounded out and as you form words they are spoken aloud.  It is helpful for emerging readers – my emerging reader used it to spell out some words in his library book before asking me what the word said.  The app can be used stand alone or with a companion wooden toy that allows you to put the letters on the screen.  The app is available in English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch with some of the languages requiring an additional in-app purchase.

To use the app, you pull the letters from the bottom where they are listed and put them up in the middle part of the screen,  Each letter is sounded out as you put it on the screen and if you run low on space, you can click the word as it is underlined and move it over toward the edge so you can finish it.  Once the word is completed, you simply click the underlined word (or letters) and pull it to the top of the screen where it disappears.  The app is great for emerging readers who may do “creative spelling” or helping kids to break down sight words or even those who are creating shorter words and then learning to add endings like ing, ed, en to help understand how it changes the sound of the word.

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I really liked the flexibility of the app – you could create a word and then lengthen it easily to include a new ending or move around the letters entirely to make a new word.  If you accidentally pulled in a letter you could put it in the trash can and start anew.

In terms of enhancements – I wish the words would align left when you place the first letter on – sometimes when we worked on longer words we ran out of space on the tablet even if the word was not fully spelled out. I would also like to see a place where the words you have spelled out go to because right now when you drag them to the top of the screen they disappear.

There is no advertising, a gated parental area has external links and is accessed via a math problem from the front page.

Overall, this is a fun app for practicing spelling of words.  I liked how it encouraged my son spell out his sight words and work on his creative spelling when he heard that the words were spelled differently than the sounded.  It has external links that are protected via a parental gate and bright colors and illustrations which encourage kids to interact with the app.


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Category:
Requirements: Compatible with
Size: 0 MB

$


NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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