Read the guide for schools to getting the most out of our apps.
Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about our apps.
Why do you have both PocketPhonics and PocketPhonics Stories?
The original PocketPhonics works on iPhone and iPad. PocketPhonics Stories only works on iPad. Essentially, we can’t fit the stories onto the smaller iPhone screen. This is both because the pictures in the storybooks are large and the words in the stories need to be large and well spaced out so a child can easily tap on them. Thus we’ve kept PocketPhonics for those who have an iPhone. Putting them together in the Pocket Learning bundle means that people who have PocketPhonics can now get money off when they buy PocketPhonics Stories if they buy the Pocket Learning bundle.
We could have put the stories in a separate app from the phonics, but then kids would have had to swap between the two apps, because in practise you want the child to learn some phonics then practise them in some stories.
The good news is that if a child uses PocketPhonics on your iPhone, when they next use PocketPhonics Stories on your iPad, it will know what they did in PocketPhonics.
From a teacher’s perspective more people tend to have iPhones than iPads so they know they can recommend PocketPhonics to those who just have iPhones.
The app's crashing or getting stuck. What can I do?
First thing to try is to turn your iPhone/iPad completely off and then on again by holding the on/off button at the top of your iPad down until the on-screen message appears that says, "slide to power off", then swipe across that message, let it power down, leave it for a few seconds and then turn it on again.
If your iPhone/iPad won't turn off, press the home and power button together for ten seconds - it forces the reboot (http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/assistant/phone/#section_2).
I can't download the app
The app is too large to be downloaded over a mobile (3G) connection and you have to use a WIFI connection. You may find that downloading first onto your PC/Mac works best and then sync'ing with your device.
How do I add a player?
You can only add players if you are using the paid version as opposed to the free, lite version. You can add them when you are on the app's home screen (the app's first screen). If you are on the screen where a player can choose to play the game, touch the menu button in the top right corner. Select the "choose another player" option. The app's home screen will appear, and you can select an option on here to add a player. Note this option may be scrolled off the screen if you have already added more than six players. Look for the the downwards arrow to navigate to see the other players and the add a player option.
How do I delete a player?
- Choose the player on the home screen,
- when the next screen appears, touch the menu button.
- choose the "edit player details" option.
- a new screen will appear and half-way down this screen, there should be a "delete player" button.
How do I see more letter sounds?
If you are using the full version of PocketPhonics there’s well over 60 letter sounds to learn. If you are on the screen where a player can choose to play the game, look for two arrow buttons below the current set of letter sounds:
- if you can see the arrow buttons, use the right arrow button to see the next group of sounds ;
- if you can’t see the arrow buttons then check your settings as you may have accidentally disabled this feature.
To check your settings:
- Touch the menu button and select the change settings option
- Once you've passed the adult test, on iPhone, check you are on the "General settings" screen. You may need to touch the "General" button at the bottom of the screen.
- Towards the bottom of the "General settings" screen is an option to set whether you can navigate to all the different sounds groups or not. Change this setting to "All letter sounds"
- Touch the done button in the top right of the screen
I've a question about the approach PocketPhonics takes to teaching kids to read. Like, why it doesn't teach letter names at the same time as letter sounds. Where can I get my answers?
Our free guide on teaching kids to read answers in full the different questions parents have asked about the approach that PocketPhonics follows. It explains the celebrated synthetic phonics approach that PocketPhonics is based on. It is highly recommended reading for all parents.
Order our free guide to teaching kids to read.
How do I make the app use lowercase, uppercase or cursive (joined-up) letters?
Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "Writing style". You can choose either lowercase (block), cursive (joined-up handwriting), or uppercase letters as the writing style.
How do I change the handwriting style? It's different to what our kids learn in school.
There's two different handwriting styles in abc PocketPhonics to choose from. Each style is similar to a popular handwriting style taught in many schools. Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "Writing style".
Can my child just focus on letter sounds and not practice spelling words?
Yes, there's quite a lot of flexibility built-in to the app. Here's what you need to do:
- Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game.
- Press the menu button and choose the change settings option.
- Look for the "General settings" section
- Near the bottom of this section is an option to decide whether they practice just letters, words or both. Select letters.
Does my child have to write the letter each time they listen to the letter sound?
No, if your child is just practising listening to and saying the sound then touch the menu button in the top-right of the screen and select the "next" option.
My child struggles with writing the letters correctly. She keeps getting told to try again. How can I make it easier for her?
You can vary how accurate your child needs to be when tracing the letters or completely turn this checking off. Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button in the top right-hand corner of the screen, and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "Writing checking" along the bottom of the screen. Touch that option. You'll now see the setting that allows you to vary how accurate the writing needs to be.
I'd like my child to just focus on one group of letter sounds at a time, but they keep moving onto another set. How can I stop this?
You can lock the app down so they will only move onto the next group of sounds when they've scored a higher enough mark in the word game for the current set of sounds. Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "General". Select the "current group" option near the bottom of this section.
I'd prefer it if rather than prompting the child with "say ... write ...", it just said the letter sound. Is this possible?
Yes, certainly. Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "Letter sounds". You can then change the prompt to be just the letter sound.
On the screen where you listen to the sound and write the letter, how you do you repeat the sound? My daughter misses it sometimes.
Press the menu button and choose the "Re-play letter sound" option.
How can I help my child get the most out of PocketPhonics?
Sit with them and encourage them to practice saying the sounds. Listen carefully and make sure they are able to say the sounds properly. For children who have speech difficulties, this will be a particularly good exercise. Get them to carefully write the letter on the screen and write the letter in the same way as the on-screen demonstration shows. This will teach them how to correctly write the letters.
When they play the game, you’ll quickly notice which sounds they recognise, and which they struggle with. Encourage them to practice the ones they find more tricky. You’ll probably find that after a while they become quite happy to play PocketPhonics on their own. Leave them to it. You can come back later and let them show you how they’ve got on.
How do I choose the American English or British English voice?
You can choose either an American English or a British English voice. Go to the screen where a player can choose to play the game. Press the menu button and choose the change settings option. Once you can see a settings screen, look for "Letter sounds" .
In the word game, why does the voice repeat the letter sound if my child doesn’t answer within a few seconds?
We found previously that children sometimes missed the letter sound, because of background noise or they were momentarily distracted. Therefore the app repeats the letter sound every four or so seconds if they do not respond. This stops after a few times, and then a button appears to play the sound again. How long the child takes to make their choice does not impact their star rating, only the accuracy of their response impacts that.
If you‘ve found a bug please try to report it via our contact us form.