I am always interested in finding new apps that help children learn to read so I was really interested in the Reader Bee and the Story Tree which helps to introduce children to the honeycomb method of reading.
When you first open the programme you get to choose between K or Pre-K level. I think this is Kindergarden and Pre Kindergarden. You then get to choose your profile and add a picture to it which keeps the progress of multiple children separate. K level will receive a hint after a few seconds but Pre-K will receive a hint straight away. There are also some games missing from the Pre-k level
Once you have signed into your account it is time to start learning the first letter daisy. Each letter daisy focuses around a vowel although the sixth letter daisy focuses around the letter y.
The Honeycomb reading method works by teaching children 7 letters at a time and showing them how these letters can combine to make simple three letter words. Rather than just teaching the shape and sounds of a letter the honeycomb reading method moves straight into teaching simple word formation that gives letters some meaning. Using the app the children only read and write 3 letter words. The Reader Bee app only uses lower case letters to prevent additional confusion whilst a child is first learning to read. It also only uses one sound for a letter whether a consonant or vowel. For example c as in cat not as in ace. This helps prevent confusion for children at this early stage of reading.
To begin with the child has to tap on each hexagon to place a picture inside. The App gives the phonetic sound for the letter and names the image. Once the whole honeycomb daisy is complete the letters appear. Tap on them to see how they are formed. If you are on the K level then the next step would be to trace the letter however if you are on the pre-K level you would skip this part.
After the letters have been formed they turn into little characters which you have to match to the corresponding picture. This is great fun and Alison really enjoyed chasing the “wizz ding” letters around the screen. Next the app moves onto forming words, it will show simple words and pictures and if the child get stuck then the letter hexagons will show in a different colour prompting them which one to touch next.
Once they have formed the words in the book the child then gets the chance to practice their own words. Children can glide their fingers around the letter daisies to make the words. It’s a new form of typing suitable for little fingers which Reader Bee call “daisy typing.”
When making words we did find that some three letter words were deemed inappropriate such as gun and sin. We also noticed that names such as Sam were not allowed either.
As each letter daisy is completed there is a story to listen too that used some of the words that were taught. This was a great way of completing each section. The child can tap on the highlighted words to hear them.
Alison loved listening to the stories and loved being able to relisten to the stories by pulling the level menu down from the top of the page. This also enables the child to select a specific level to complete.
Once a level has been completed you can access it by pulling down the daisy menu on the homepage. This enables you to switch between levels.
Alison really enjoyed this app and it is a great starting point for the other Reader Bee apps.