How many times has your kid come up to you and said “Mum/Dad, can I play on your phone?” Do you let them? Course you do, you don’t want the tears it could inevitably cause. But what do you let them play? Angry Birds? Some kids game where you have to match up the blocks to the holes? Well, check out Poio, a phonics and reading game.
The game is set on a fictional island, and you as the player have to make your way through the various levels that pop up a various locations on the map. You play as various underwater creatures, like Otto, who looks like a fluffy ball, or Anna the octopus who only eats the letter A. I haven’t played much so far, but right now, I am having to collect the vowels to make words.
Some levels require kids to physically write a letter on a screen to unlock the cage the animal has started in. Anna for example was crying, and for me to get her out, I had to write out the letter ‘a’ on my phone’s screen. Simple enough for me of course, but for a learning child, this is very important. LEarning through interactivity is one of the best ways to learn, and repetitive actions, like Otto having to eat the letter ‘O’ over and over again, means the sounds start sticking in your child’s mind.
Collecting these letters is making words appear in the ocean on the world map, and after clicking them, makes me enter a minigame in which I have to drag and drop the letters into a word, learning phonics as I go. Things like ‘TH’ or the letter ‘A’ which gives me sound prompts like ‘AH’. A great way for kids to learn the structure of written words.
Once these minigames are completed, letters started appearing in a book, which meant kids have to continue playing in order to crack the code to be able to read the book. Chapter One of this book is named The Troll That Cannot Read, and it gives them an objective to complete. Again, a great way to hold their attention.
The app is designed to match the reading skill of your child. Poio is designed for kids between the age of three and eight years old, and of course in that range, reading skills could be all over the place. It’s also been designed to hold kids attention, with bright bold animations as well as a host of colourful and fun creatures.
I would say though, as a word of advice, is get this game on a tablet. I felt a mobile phone screen is a little small, and some areas of the game can get quite fiddly, due to the real estate a phone gives you. A tablet will sort this out for sure. For more information on Poio, or if you’re wanting to buy it for yourself, head over to the Google Play Store now.