Although I like to teach kids without technology, sometimes it is fun to integrate technology into a simple curriculum in order to engage more actively with the material and the lessons on hand. Build a Word is an iPhone app that costs $1.99, and even though this may seem like an exorbitant price at first, you will soon realize that Build a Word offers great edutainment value for kids.
Build a Word is exactly what its name implies. The user basically builds a word looking at the image accompanying the word. This is a great tool for kids because many kids learn by sight. When they are able to associate a face with a name, they will be more likely to remember both the face and the name. It is difficult to learn words if the kids do not know what they mean. Of course, this is easier to do with nouns than with verbs.
At any rate, Build a Word has a user-interface that is easy to use. Most kids will have no trouble at all trying to put the words and the letters together in order to name the object in the figure. So, for example, if there is a picture of a sheep, there will be a few letters jumbled up on the screen. The child will have to put the letters together to try to spell the name of the object in the picture.
The pictures are also great for the purpose of the app. After all, kids love to look at pictures that are colorful and fun to look at. However, I would also suggest that the developers add “real” pictures of the animals in order to get the children into the right mode of thinking. After all, real life isn’t drawn up into cartooned figures.
Also, there are not too many words, but this may not be a problem for most young children. They can replay the app over and over again. What’s more, sometimes a large volume of words can be overwhelming for kids. It is better to have them start with simple words in a small quantity.
All in all, I would highly recommend Build a Word to parents, homeschoolers, teachers, and the like. This is a good app for young children, and is inexpensive, too. Kids will love to play this app again and again, especially since it has high replay value.