Learning Upgrade – Review


What we love…

Step-by-step instructions, summaries, examples in lessons are presented through fun videos and songs.

What we’d love to see…

An option to remove or adjust the timer for the final challenge in each course.

Summary

A complete Math and English learning app that keeps students engaged and motivated to learn and upgrade.

Our Rating

Is your child having problems mastering a particular Math or English lesson no matter what you do to help? My youngest has been struggling to remember the basic rules of writing a simple sentence despite having done many written exercises. Then I let him have a go at the app, Learning Upgrade. To my surprise, he picked up the skills easily within the day!

What worked for my son (who is a visual learner) is the combination of teaching through catchy songs, lively animations and entertaining videos plus game-like exercises that are fun to do. Learning Upgrade is a very engaging learning app. It has lessons that he likes to watch again and again, pop-style songs (highlighting the key words) that he tries to sing along with and exercises that he is willing to redo because all the questions are attractively presented and it is easy for him to input his answers. He especially likes the app’s positive and enthusiastic response whenever he submits a correct answer.

What I like, on the other hand, is the use of visual representations, summaries and examples to teach, the helpful guided exercises that reinforce the learning points, the different ways of questioning to ensure a student’s full understanding of the topic, the comprehensive coverage and the gradual and progressive manner in which skills are being taught.

Students are allowed to progress to the next lesson only when they have earned 100 points (from correct answers) and attained at least 75% correct. A rewards system is in place to encourage students to repeat the exercises in order to improve on their scores. At the completion of a course, students have to pass the final challenge before moving to the next course. But you can also choose to unlock all the lessons in your account settings so that your child can jump to any lesson.

I appreciate how the app supports students who need a little extra help in answering the questions in the learning games that follow each video lesson. Lines in passages are underlined as they are read out. There is a speaker button to tap if students need to hear the questions or instructions again. For answers that require reading, students can hear the individual words before attempting to answer. They also have the opportunity to check their answers before submitting.

The app doesn’t miss any teaching moments either. A short animation repeating the answer follows the correct answer to give further reinforcement. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the correct answer is always demonstrated and the app does not move to the next screen until the student has enough time to review the answer.

Learning Upgrade is free to download and comes with a video on the course descriptions and 6 demo lessons (with exercises) – 3 each for Math and English. If you register with an email, you will have free access to 8 lessons for each subject. To begin, choose between English or Math and then decide between 3 starting points. You can choose to start from the beginning of the curriculum, take a placement test to determine a course that is appropriate for your child’s learning needs or just select a course level that you want to review.

Currently, the app offers 60 lessons for each of the English Upgrade level 1-5 and Math Upgrade level K-8 courses, that’s more than 900 lessons in total. A course on Algebra was also added recently. To continue beyond the free lessons, you have 3 subscription plans to choose from – $7.99 for 1 month access to all lessons, $19.99 for 3 months and $59.99 for 12 months. You can access your lessons from the web as well as your smart phones and tablets. An internet connection is required for loading the lessons and saving the student’s progress.

Learning Upgrade is a comprehensive Math and English learning app that complements the school curriculum. Lessons are professionally done and enjoyable. Review exercises are varied and effective. Whether your child is trying to catch up or stay ahead of the class, Learning Upgrade is an excellent learning companion to have.

 

 

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Learning Upgrade

Learning Upgrade Learning Upgrade by Learning Upgrade

Price: $FREE

Learning Upgrade is the best app for people of all ages looking to improve their English, reading, writing, listening, and mathematics skills!

It’s time to start learning English and math the.

 

 

NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

Grace was working in the fields of early childhood education and staff training before quitting to attend to her 4 children full time. She and her family live in Singapore, which is well known for her highly competitive education system.



Boys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC – Review



iPad Screenshot 1

What we love…

great boy themed reading content that has questions where kids demonstrate comprehension and mastery along with a scorecard

What we’d love to see…

more chapters for kids to read, my son loved the sports ones and kept asking for more

Summary

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Our Rating

Boys Only Reading ComprehensionBoys Only Reading Comprehension by Reinvent Recess Digital is a universal app for iOS that features 15 chapters or passages for kids to read and then take a short test on to determine if they comprehended what they read.  The multi-user app has topics which range from sports, to science and history with both fiction and non-fiction choices.  Upon opening the app and adding the admin and first user, the child can pick ten chapters to read which will be sent to their scorecard.  Users are tested on a summary of the text, identifying items in sequence via  timeline of events (first, second, third), finding an unknown word, problem/solution.

Getting my son to understand what he is reading has always been a challenge for me.  He loves anything sports related so when I had him test the app he picked out all of the sports related chapters along with a few others.  I then had him sit down and read a story to see what he did.  He used an iPad for reading the story and doing the questions.  One of the first comments he made was that the stories were “real” and that he could actually identify with some of them.  As he carefully read the passages – he got better at this as time went on he started getting more of the questions right.  As part of his daily homework, my son can read for 15 minutes and then have a discussion about what he has read.  We used the app multiple times for him to read and then take the test to demonstrate what he learned.  After completing the passage, you are given real time feedback on any answers that were right or wrong and if they were wrong what the correct answer was.  Using a timeline was one of the most challenging things for my son, because although he remembered the events in the story at times it was hard for him to sequence them.  Using the app definitely helped him with that as well as helping him to really take the time to understand what he was reading.  At times when he struggled we also worked on having him tell me the story then going back to answer the questions.

iPad Screenshot 2

As a mom, I really liked that the app encouraged my son to read and comprehend what he was reading.  I also liked that the questions were multiple choice so my son could pick from a field of correct answers similar to tests he takes at school.  The topics were very relevant and interesting to him especially the sports related ones – and had him wanting to use the app for homework — which I call a huge win! I also liked that some passages were shorter or longer – this helped me with having my son pick and choose which one to complete based on the time we had available.  Currently longer passages are marked with a * so you know ahead of time they are longer.  I also liked that my son could go back to the passage to verify what he had read before submitting the answers to the questions.  This gave him a “double check” that helped him feel more confident in his answers.  I also really liked that the scorecard was emailed to me so we could identify areas that we might need to focus more on – and I could share it with his teacher to demonstrate that he was doing reading homework nightly.

iPad Screenshot 4

In terms of improvements, I would like to see more than 15 chapters or passages contained within the app.  At this point, my son has used it quite a bit and has “memorized” some of the stories since we have done them over and over again.  I would like to see some additional passages so we could use it on a more routine basis for reading homework.

Overall, this is a great reading app that has a lot of potential for kids who may struggle with reading.  For my son one of the biggest challenges to reading is finding a topic that he likes along with being able to understand it.  He is now able to do both with this app!

Boys only reading comprehension

Boys Only Reading Comprehension
Boys Only Reading Comprehension
by Reinvent Recess Digital, LLC

Category: Education, Books
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76
Size: 8.44 MB

$3.99USD

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



Smashing Grammar by Fairlady Media – Review & Giveaway



iPad Screenshot 2

What we love…

six fun mini games which target grammar and spelling skills in a fun themed app which encourages play, self regulation, speed and fun!

What we’d love to see…

ability to slow down game play, multi-player option,  ability to have more time to “read” the sentence before play starts.

Summary

Fun grammar themed app which is great for practicing academic skills which carry over to reading, writing and school work.  The app is fun and encouraged my son to practice even during summer vacation!

Our Rating

Smashing GrammarSmashing Grammar by Fairlady Media is a universal app for iOS which targets spelling and grammar sounds.  This app targets slightly older kids ages 9-12 compared to other apps in the Fairlady Media series.  The app has a variety of six mini games which target specific skills to practice.  Each game has words that pop up and you touch the right word to correctly answer the problem.  If you miss, you get a deduction, if you succeed you get points and once you get multiple correct in a row you can get a bonus.  There are other objects which pop up including a heart, a leaf and a bomb.  Each of these has their own actions — sometimes good and other times not!  The app helps promote self-regulation as kids have to scan and hit the correct answer before they disappear or points will be deducted.

iPad Screenshot 4

 

The games are:

  • Noun Disco – which has you smashing nouns to complete the sentence in a timed series of questions.  Don’t hit the bomb or you miss points!
  • Verb Garden– this watermelon garden themed mini game has you smashing verbs to complete the sentences similar to the noun game
  • Syllable Spaghetti – guess how many syllables are in a specific word type
  • Spelling Slumber Party – hit the pillows to smash the correctly spelled word
  • Tense in paradise – practice cur rent, future and past tenses all while hitting coconuts
  • Plural Piggies – find the plural or singular word and smash it

I liked the variety of mini games and that I could target specific types of skills with my sounds without having them all mixed together.  I also liked that you could turn on and off the music in case your child found it distracting as mine did.  Each mini game also has a “help” which defines the type of item you are targeting such as syllables with examples.  The games were well thought out and included appropriate grammar for the targeted age bracket.  My son liked the games because it made practicing school “fun” even though it was summer vacation and I liked that he was working on academic skills even in the summer.  I would like to see a multi-player mode because I enjoyed the app and got to the harder levels which meant my son couldn’t play because it was simply too hard for him.  The app has narration which is well done and very clear in articulation with the spoken portions.  As each level gets harder, more word choices are presented and it goes from a one handed tapping app to two hands if you want  to select multiple answers within the game.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see a way to slow down the words – my eight year old struggled a bit to move to the next level a few times because he needed more time to complete the activity.  As he progressed, some of the higher levels got too hard for him and even got a bit harder for me.  Another thought, it would be nice if the sentence at the top appeared for a few more seconds so a child could start to think about it before they blindly start trying to find the right words.

Overall, this is a great app which encourages a variety of academic skills related to grammar.  Teaching grammar is one of the hardest academic skills because sometimes, kids simply have a hard time with spelling or visualizing a word.  This app makes it fun and entertaining with the end goal of moving on to a new level.  I enjoyed the app a lot as did my son – and played it enough that we reached level 11 in most of the mini games!  There are no in-app purchases or advertising contained within the app.

 

Smashing Grammar
Smashing Grammar
by Fairlady Media

Category: Education, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX, iPad75-iPad75, iPad76-iPad76
Size: 165.29 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.



Read – Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons by Olivier Romanetti of One Tree Hill Studio- Review



iPad Screenshot 3

What we love…

Lots of great activities to engage readers including  letter formation, sight words, reading comprehension, writing pad, alphabet, listening skills,  Multi-user capability.  Interactive word pad lets kids experiment with word and sound formation.

What we’d love to see…

a test to skip materials already previously learned, some sort of “trophy” or awards case to demonstrate progress and ability to export the lesson progress.

Summary

Content rich app which will help kids with a number of skills including letter formation, letter sounds, reading comprehension and sight words.

Our Rating

Read - Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessonsRead – Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons by Olivier Romanetti of One Tree Hill Studio is a universal app for iOS targeting kids aged four through 8 (or second grade) which helps them to acquire core reading skills including letter formation, sight words, reading comprehension, writing pad, alphabet, listening and more.  The narration can be done in a United States narrator, English narrator, Australian narrator or Indian narrator.  You can also speed up or slow down the words per minute and pitch of the speaker as well as turn on and off the background music.  The app uses phonics teaching sight words in combination with word decoding.    It also includes multi user capabilities and lesson progress

The app features twenty different lessons with over 100 different exercises and interactive stories.  It is designed for the beginning reader through approximately second grade.  Letters are introduced in the app by frequency – something that my son struggled with a bit because he felt they were “out of order”.

Content includes:

  • Letter tracing: Using a finger or stylus your child traces the letter using a supplied model and repeats five times to demonstrate mastery
  • How do you spell it: Listen to a sound and pick the correct letter from a field of six options.
  • Choose the right word: Listen to a word pronunciation and pick the correct answer
  • Listen & Write: Listen to the word and put the letters on the line to spell it
  • Match Words & Sounds: Match a sound with the written form of it – perfect for practicing sight words
  • Interactive Writing Pad: Children can “construct” words and sentences by dragging and dropping individual letters, making letter combinations which are read aloud as the app is played.
  • Stories & Questions: Starting at lesson 5, stories are given in the context of the app and the user is tested for reading comprehension
  • Learn the Alphabet: This helps kids connect letter names and letter sounds with both uppercase and lowercase letters
  • Sight Words & Phrases: Over 100 sight words and sight phrases used in the English language

iPad Screenshot 4

This is a brightly colored app that engages kids to learn core reading and writing skills.  The activities are presented in a patterned way which requires children to finish specific tasks before moving on which is important for early learning skills.  I also liked that as you traced letters or spelled words out that they were sounded out which helped kids attribute the letter sound to the written letter.  Our favorite section – since my son knew many of the sight words was the original story content.  My son enjoyed hearing the stories – although I did have to adjust the word speed so he could follow along more easily – the words were spoken quickly and at times the highlighting and words didn’t match what was being said.  We also liked the sight phrases since my son has moved on beyond his core sight words and wanted to work more on putting words together.

 

iPad Screenshot 5

In terms of improvements –  at times it was hard to discern the word as it was spoken and it would be nice if you could have a second choice.  It would also be nice if the app dynamically adjusted based on if you were getting answers right or wrong.  A visual cue especially for the easier lessons would be helpful too if a child is getting answers wrong – for example showing a picture of a mat along with the spoken word and spelling it out.  I would also like to see the option to “test” so that children can test out of content they might have already learned which would make it repetitive.  Some of the letter formation was different compared to what my son learned in school, but that may vary based on geography.  My son also asked for some sort of “trophy” or reward that you could earn after completing levels which would demonstrate mastery.  It would also be nice if you could transfer progress from device to device – my son played both on my iPhone and iPad and was frustrated when he had to repeat things he had done before.  I’d also like to be able to export my lesson progress. I’d also like to see more options for the letter formation as my son didn’t learn with the manuscript option in school.

Overall, this is a content rich app which will help kids with a number of skills including letter formation, letter sounds, reading comprehension and sight words.  It is a great app to help kids with learning or one to help them practice over the summertime and prevent the #summerslide.  The app includes a parental gated area with a multiplication problem that does have external links.  There are no in-app purchases.


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Category:
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Size: 0 MB

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NOTE: A fee was received to expedite this review to the top of our waiting list but this payment has not influenced the objectivity of the review and all opinions have been offered honestly.

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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