Friday, 3 October 2014

Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper

learn phonics through play, Nintendo 3DS Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper, Oxford Reading Trees phonics game

When I was a child, I didn't learn how to read with phonics. Learning new words is like a memory game. I only started learning phonics when Abby started reception, and I can see the obvious benefit of it. By learning a few simple rules, Abby's reading skill has improved with speed (I remember being super impressed when she started reading a whole book by herself within the first month!). She picks up new words pretty quickly and you can see that she'd automatically apply her phonics skills when she tries to pronounce some difficult words.

Clay will be starting reception next year, and I was hoping that he'd watch Alphablocks now on CBeebies like Abby did in pre-school, so he'll be more ready next year. It's a fantastic program just like his current favourite - Numberjacks, and phonics learning couldn't be easier and more fun than that. But it's either not showing at the moment or we kept missing it.

You can guess how excited I was when we were told that Oxford Reading Trees, the book series Abby's been reading at school, has created a Phonics game with Nintendo on their 3DS/ 2DS consoles, which is the console our kids love at the moment. Children nowadays are always on a device, let it be a tablet or game console. If mine are going to be playing on a device, I'd rather them playing a game that actually teaches them something useful. And since we were already very impressed with the Nintendo 3DS Pokemon Art Academy, I had high hopes that the phonics game - Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper will be as good and helpful.

learn phonics through play, Nintendo 3DS Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper, Oxford Reading Trees phonics game

Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip & Kipper by Nintendo and Oxford Reading Trees comes in 3 volumes/ levels (rrp £19.99 each, pegi 3, suitable for children age 3 to 7). We started Clay on vol. 1, which uses Phonics to teach children how to connect sounds to letters.

As soon as the game has finished downloading, I let Clay have a go. Clay has been really good at playing with our Nintendo 2DS, and has impressed the Nintendo staff at the LolliBop Festival this year, so I didn't think that he'd have a problem playing with Phonics Fun. What I didn't consider, was that he likes how cute and colourful Nintendo games look, with exciting sounds and game play, but wasn't going to be keen in Phonics Fun because it has a completely different style.

We have played Nintendo's Brain Academy and Pokemon Art Academy before, and found both very educational, as well as very cute and fun to play with. There is a lot of features to make learning through play exciting. Phonics Fun, on the other hand, (please do bear in mind that Clay only played a little bit and we can only comment as such) is probably a bit too 2 dimensional for a Nintendo game. The graphics is not so colourful nor animated, and the game started with a basic game play - listen to the sound, then touch the screen for the correct answer.

It is a real shame because I like Clay to learn through play, especially on the Nintendo 2DS console that he loves to play on so much (there is a time limit of course). The game is a collaboration with Oxford Reading Trees too, which means the perfect way to learn phonics. If the game has more sound and colour stimulation like all the other Nintendo DS games, I bet he'd love the game. In fact, I would think that, for children who likes to play on a Nintendo 3DS or 2DS, they would prefer games that is more Nintendo like, and Phonics Fun is just a bit more like an app for Android or iOS.

I still think that it's great that Oxford Reading Trees has seen the need for a new way of teaching children phonics and reading, and instead of being another app for Android or iOS, they've targetted a very children friendly game console for their game. If the game can be more interactive and stimulative, it would definitely make a big difference.