I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the app Junganew to review. I received a copy of the app for free but no other payment has been received and the views in this review are my own.
The idea of this app is an interesting one. It has a story format, where you follow Theo the tree frog through different activities as he tries to learn a /s/ sound. The graphics are lovely, and the games are enjoyable – my daughter spent quite a while listening to the story and playing it just for fun!
There is a mirror feature that appears at different points through the app, where the child can watch and copy the frog saying /s/ either in isolation or in words depending on where in the app they are. This is nice and the kids loved watching themselves in the app.
There is a map so you can follow the whole story straight through or choose the part you want. Each of the games is quite nice and they cover /s/in all word positions including blends as well as auditory discrimination.
In this game you have to sort the seashells. When you touch them they say either /s/ or /f/ and the child has to sort them into the right bucket. I have to say that this was quite tricky – even I had to listen quite closely to which sound was being said and many of the children I was doing it with couldn’t hear the difference although they could when I repeated the sound. It’s a lovely engaging game though and it’s not difficult to repeat the sounds yourself for the child to hear.
This game is for /s/ at the end of words. You match the toppings to the right cake and then practise saying the plurals with an /s/ at the end (eg chocolate chips).
This is a game for /s/ in the middle of words. The butterfly appears as different characters and you have to find the right prop for her – they are all things with /s/ in the middle – eg medicine for a doctor, a bicycle for a cyclist, bracelet for a princess etc. As in many of the games there aren’t always obvious opportunities for the child to say the words themselves, so you need to particularly ask them to repeat the words or tell you what the items are before they match them.
This game is for s-blends. This is quite cleverly done. You add the sweets from one of the pots into the blender and it blends the sounds together – in this case /s/ and /n/ to make /sn/. Then it makes some cookies which are shaped like a word which starts with that blend – eg snake, snowflake etc.
I haven’t included all of the games here. Here is part of the settings page with some of the other games described.
Best things about this app:-
- There are lovely graphics and the games are fun and engaging.
- Good value for the price – there are a lot of different activities included in it.
- The mirror feature is especially good and encourages the child to think about how they make the sound.
What could make it better:-
- I did find it quite confusing to follow and find the bits I wanted. Also sometimes you need to listen to quite a bit of the characters talking before you get to the game. The story is nice, but it would make it more versatile and useful if you could go straight to a particular game more easily.
- It is very obviously American in terms of accent and the language and style of the app.
- It is quite easy to get caught up in the story/game and some bits take a while to get started so you don’t necessarily get many opportunities to practise saying the sounds. However this app is quite good for auditory bombardment (listening to lots of examples of a sound). For this reason, I could imagine suggesting it to a parent as a really nice engaging way of introducing a child to a sound that we are going to work on in therapy.
Overall an interesting and different app and very good value for money at £3:99. You can find it in the app store here.