Hairy Letters is more of an educational game than a storybook, but it does have a lot in common with a print alphabet workbook. It is produced by a UK based company that has been making educational software for children since 1999. They work closely "with the Bristol Dyslexia Centre to ensure that all the Nessy titles are especially helpful for dyslexics." In this app they have created a wonderful bundle of activities to keep a child engaged in learning for hours.
This title has a clean & intuitive interface with three sets of alphabet tiles, each with their own unique role. In uppercase mode the tiles simply say the letter's name aloud. In 'trace' mode, the child is shown the proper way to construct each lowercase letter and then can try it themselves. In lowercase mode, the tiles make the sound of the letter when tapped. Then each one shows an image that corresponds with that letter. Each image is named (tap on the word to hear it read) and then if you tap on the picture, it animates for a few seconds. These animations are both fun and well produced, providing the kind of reward that helped my child stay motivated even when the lessons became more challenging.
Within the app, the alphabet is also broken down into six different color-coded sets within each activity, grouping the letters with important sounds and featuring a game tied to each of the six levels. As the child completes each level, tiles for the next level 'break' open to unlock the entire alphabet. The games allow children to put words together while hearing them sounded out. The game gets more difficult as the levels increase, with lots of great reinforcements that make the learning process fun.
Overall, this is an adorable app that is packed with well thought-out educational games. It is solidly made, simple to use and sure to give young readers and pre-readers hours of playtime.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Net Educational Systems Limited
30 - 60 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 3 - 8 +
The letters of the alphabet are introduced in this educational app in six color-coded stages. Each letter teaches the sound and shape. After playing the first set you can unlock the next color. Interactivity is included for three sets of the alphabet (tracing, lowercase & uppercase). The tracing set allows the child to trace the letter's shape with a finger, following the proper construction of each letter. The lowercase section plays an animation and capital letters say their name. Each of the six letter groups has its own game involving joining sounds into words with more challenge on each level. [Adapted from in-app instructions.]
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