Minneapolis, Minnesota – Preschool University today is pleased to introduce ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words Deluxe for iOS, their 23rd education app, which provides practice in reading 3-letter words. Designed to enhance the phonological awareness that is the key to reading mastery through learning games, the app employs interactive sounds, pictures, and letters. Three blank letter tiles are displayed at the bottom of the screen, and when the child touches one of them, they hear the corresponding letter sound aloud. With three levels, kids must correctly blend (combine) letter sounds they hear to make words, then segment (separate) words they hear into letter sounds, and finally, read complete words.

ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words Deluxe can help a child’s future reading success by focusing on CVC (consonant – vowel – consonant) words, such as cat, box, and pig. In the first part of the app, the words are categorized by middle vowel sounds. In the second part of the app, the words are sorted by categories rather than by vowel sound. Including more than 200 words, the app features both male and female voices for every letter, word, and picture.

ABC READING MAGIC gives children solid and direct experience with letters and sounds to help build their phonemic awareness skills. It helps improve kids’ phonological processing ability, guiding them towards becoming a good reader. The educational app has three skill levels for reading development: Blending, Segmenting, and Reading.

Feature Highlights:
* Fun app for preschoolers that concentrates on reading 3-letter words
* Kids develop important phonological awareness, vital for success in reading
* Blending is taking individual letter sounds and combining or blending them into a meaningful word
* Segmenting is taking the sound of a word and segmenting or separating it into individual letter sounds
* Built-in videos demonstrating all three modes
* Choose from a male or female voice

Blending is taking individual letter sounds and combining or blending them into a meaningful word. It could be called “auditory reading” or reading just by sounds with NO letters. This can be a difficult task for beginning readers and requires practice and patience to understand thoroughly. The process of turning /b/ /e/ /l/ /t/ into “belt” is a neurological challenge for emerging readers. It may take some practice to develop this skill, but the time spent is well worth it. Blending is the best way of preparing a child for the much more difficult and essential skill of segmenting.

In the Skill 1 Blending mode there is a large empty square at the center of the screen. At the bottom of the screen are three empty rectangles side-by-side. The child must touch each rectangle from left to right. When each empty rectangle is touched, it lights up and a sound or phoneme is heard. The goal is to combine or blend the sounds together to form a single word. This is the same procedure as “sounding out” a word by reading it aloud, phoneme by phoneme. Here, there are no letters to guide the student, only sounds. This helps strengthen the skill of blending sounds, without the need to know the letters. To check their work, the reader touches the large empty square in the center of the page. Upon being touched, a picture is revealed and a word is spoken that identifies what the picture is. There is an ear icon demo-button that can be touched to show a demo of blending on this app. When touched each empty rectangle lights up as its sound is pronounced, and then the word is spoken aloud, accompanied by a photo or illustration of the word in the large, central square.

Segmenting is one of the most important skills children need for successful spelling, reading and writing. Segmenting can be difficult. One way to look at segmenting is that it is spelling words using the sounds of the letters rather than the names of the letters. Segmenting is a skill and exercise that is unknown by most parents and even many educators, and yet, “The best predictor of reading difficulty in kindergarten or first grade is the inability to segment words and syllables into constituent sound units (phonemic awareness).” (Lyon, 1995). Segmenting is closely associated with spelling. Segmenting is taking a word and breaking it up into its sound parts. In segmenting, the sounds and not the names of the letters are used.

In Skill 2 Segmenting, the procedure is reversed. There are three empty rectangles in a row beneath a large square containing a picture. The large square with the picture in it is tapped to identify the word to be segmented. The goal is to break it down into its simplest component sounds. The child pronounces the word aloud and then says each phoneme or letter sound that makes up that word as they touch the empty rectangles in sequence with a pencil. Students can check their work by touching the empty rectangles to see if they said the correct corresponding sound. Here again, students can use the demo ear icon to see how to do segmenting on this app. When the ear icon is touched the word for the picture in the large square is spoken, then each tile lights up as the corresponding sound is spoken that matches the word in the large square.

The Reading mode should ideally be used only after practicing and becoming proficient at Skill 1 Blending and Skill 2 Segmenting. The reading mode is designed to encourage reading and discourage picture guessing by keeping the picture hidden until after the user taps on the empty picture frame. That way, kids can read the word without being distracted by the picture/word.

In Skill 3 Reading, the blending and segmentation practice is put to use in reading words. Words of three to four letters appear on the bottom of the screen with one letter in each rectangle. Consonants are red and vowels are blue. The large square is empty. Many students will see the word and read it immediately. For those who need help, they can touch each letter to hear its sound. To verify their answer kids touch the large square to reveal the picture and to hear the word being pronounced at the same time. Skill 3 Reading incorporates the skills learned during Skill 1 Blending and Skill 2 Segmenting, and cements the connection between the letters and sounds, the letters and the word, and the word and the illustration to which it refers. When the ear icon is touched in this skill, each letter lights up as it is pronounced, and then the word is spoken aloud as a picture appears in the large square.

“This app series uses the best methods for teaching children how to read, by starting with blending and segmenting,” said Hestia Abeyesekera, Ed.D. of Kinderhaus of Musik.

“A team of educators using accelerated learning techniques and Montessori principles developed this fun app, which your child will enjoy using as they learn,” stated Richard Colombini of Preschool University. “It has been tested and successfully used with preschoolers.”

Device Requirements:
* iPhone 3GS/4/4S/5, iPod touch (3rd/4th/5th generation), and iPad
* Universal app optimized for display on all iOS devices
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later
* 322 MB

Pricing and Availability:
ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words Deluxe 1.0 is $0.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category. Review copies are available on request. ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words Sampler is available free.

ABC READING MAGIC 1 Short Vowel Words Deluxe 1.0
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Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Preschool University’s mission is to create and promote excellent reading materials and high quality learning tools for children. Established in 2010, Preschool University is an accumulation of over 20 years of experience and success in child reading development. It began as a promise by Montessori preschool owner and lead teacher, Richard Colombini, to prospective parents. The promise: “All Kindergartners Are Guaranteed To Read” The company currently offers 14 free educational apps in the App Store. Copyright (C) 2012 Preschool University All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks and registered trademarks may be the property of their respective owners.

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