Froggy Phonics: A frog in your throat
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Vancouver Computes,
3D Froggy Phonics
requires: PowerPC Mac w. System 7.5 or later or
$29.95 (teacher version: $49.95)
Like a babies speaking their first words, those first
can be magical times when a child makes that breakthrough to giving
peculiar black symbols on a white background meaning.
Canadian software company, Ingenuity Works can help
early reading experiences with its new 3D Froggy Phonics. This hybrid
will run on both Mac and Windows 95 systems, and as the title suggests,
entrances 4-6 year olds with its 3D animated frog and other characters.
The program provides a range of activities? children
can choose to learn,
watch, or play-- with a variety of choices for each. In the learning
children practice hearing what sounds individual letters make, and how
they combine to make words. While watching, they match words with
of the objects-- six correct responses gets a 3D animation, featuring
same words. The play activities offer reading, spelling, painting,
and pattern recognition.
I tested the program with a grade one class-- for most
when the reading magic takes place. The class found the program
and the children were happy to interact with it. We found one potential
problem-- the interface is inconsistent between sections-- it's not
clear how to end a unit and return to the main menu. As long as a child
is happily interacting with the program, that's not a problem,
and these children were happy to work, play, and learn with this
The program tracks an individual child's progress. The
adds more extensive management functions, and includes the right to
a second copy free. Schools can also obtain 5 copy lab packs ($150) or
site licenses ($600).
The word 'phonics', implying learning language by
sounding out the letters,
has become somewhat of a politicized buzz-word in elementary
with proponents of a phonics approach battling it out with supporters
'whole language' theories, who suggest that children best learn to read
by viewing words as units that occur in a specific context.
Without wanting to jump into this often heated debate,
gets a young child reading is a big help. The grade 1s at Chief
Elementary found 3D Froggy Phonics really kept them hopping!