Last Updated on October 12, 2023 by Editorial Team
When one associates sounds with alphabets or letters, this method of teaching reading is called phonics. Phonics is all about how different letters of the alphabet are pronounced. The correct pronunciation is essential for non-native English speakers preparing for Universal Exams like TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC, and others.
Why use phonics apps?
A diverse range of apps is available on both Android and iOS platforms to assist adult learners in improving their reading. Phonics apps are great tools for adult learners to start reading because of these solid reasons!
- Learn at your own pace. The lessons or activities are pre-recorded, so the learner does not fear missing out on some lessons. One can pause and play and repeat a segment as many times as s/he wants.
- Interactive lessons. The segments are so made that the learner can touch the word or sentence and listen to its pronunciation.
- Good engagement = more significant learning. Many apps have been made in a game format so that the learner is always engaged and constantly aims to reach higher, complex phonics levels.
- Scope for practice. Apps have multiple levels of complexity, which helps learners to improve themselves independently. Since one can repeat any module any number of times, the learner can practice repeatedly.
- Compatible. Learners can find these apps on any platform of their convenience suited to their device. Most of these are free to use, but a few offer more features at a premium price.
List of five easy-to-use & user-friendly phonics apps for adults.
1. Phonics Genius
The app has a vast repository of over 6000 words, grouped into 225 categories by their phonics sounds. While it is designed for children, its interface is clean and suitable for adults with learning disabilities like ESL and ABE students. A multi-sensory learning tool, the app merges audio, speech, and written media for a real-life engagement of the learner with language.
- Words are grouped by the position of the phonic sound (beginning/medial/end).
- User can record their voice, playback, and compare with the pre-loaded sound. The articulation practice enables students to recapitulate learned concepts.
- Quiz modes are built for solid understanding.
2. What’s Changed? Skill Builder
The app uses a gaming interface to develop the user’s phonemic awareness, i.e. the ability to discern between sounds or sequence of sounds within a word. It works on the learner’s phonemic awareness of vowel sounds and consonant joins through rigorous exercises. The practice sets require the learner to listen to two non-words and identify which sound changed between them. The exercises may involve:
- identifying a changed sound (‘zat’ to ‘zad’)
- assigning or omitting the appropriate letter to the changed sound (‘field to ‘field)
- switching two letters for sounds that were switched (‘blist’ to ‘blits’)
The app merely focuses on improving phonics awareness but does not help in spelling.
The app is excellent for English language learners who seek to enhance their auditory discrimination and pronunciation of English.
- The app has three categories of games, each with four successive levels of difficulty, where words build from VC (e.g. ‘ob’) to CCVCC (e.g. ‘brisp’).
- In the Standard English category, user can develop the letter-sound association.
- The Readable English category reinforces the learnings from the first category, including the non-standard sounds of letters. Readers can identify non-standard sounds of letters marked with a glyph.
- In the Colour category, sounds are represented by colors. It requires the reader to focus on auditory discrimination rather than sound-symbol association strictly.
3. Ultimate Phonics Reading App
The app is a very clean, no-frills platform that suits adult readers with ESL, learning disabilities, or beginner readers. With various interactive exercises, learners will effectively sound out complex words and progress into speed-reading.
- The app has a good mix of words in its vast word list and features decodable sentences, all broken down into phonemes for clarity and in-depth understanding.
- The Find feature helps readers look up lessons matching any phonogram.
- The program is comprehensive in its teaching of the intricacies of English speech, a word bank of 4,400 words, and 2,100 sentences organized into 262 lessons. The lessons are grouped into 12 levels of increasing complexity to help students self-learn the entire English phonics system.
- While the first level (lessons 1 to 50) is free to access, successive levels are unlocked at a one-time payment or level-wise installment-basis payments.
4. Lexico: A Dyslexia Reading Aid
Adult learners who want to venture into independent reading need to practice above and beyond the limited practice words. Mexico is a clean, distraction-free e-book reader that enables learning-impaired adult readers to control their reading ability. It uses a glare-free, high-contrast display with a dyslexia-friendly typeface and interface that benefits new readers or learning-impaired readers.
- Users can tap the “read” button to view a single word at a time, breaking them into syllables.
- The Audiobook Mode enables the reader to select a comfortable reading speed, mark the text to be read, and have the app read aloud. You can also tap words to hear how they are pronounced.
- The app bundles word-tracking and crossing exercises that help users speed up their reading, helping them develop skills to read across a line and down to the following line.
- Custom lists help users build their library of complex words to listen to for their phonics and spelling improvement.
5. English Pronunciation and Phonetics AudioClass
This app is a professional, clean, and feature-loaded tool that helps any adult learner grasp the intricacies of the English language. The exercises are written by certified native English-speaking professors and include multimedia lessons on pronouncing words correctly.
- The app has unlimited downloadable & free Phonetics Exercises, Audio Packs, Vocabulary builder, Listening Practice, and more.
- The English Phonetics chart in the app uses Symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), suitable for British English.
- Interactive Alphabet and vocabulary learning with Audio, pictures, and Transcriptions help fully grasp difficult words.
- The app is an all-in-one solution for learning Phonemes Pronunciation, with correct terminologies, such as Vowels, Diphthongs, and consonants.
- The app also has spelling rules based on phonics and reading practice through correct intonation and stress patterns.
To sum up, These phonics apps are a good addition to practice sessions for adults who want to become confident in English. You can choose either of these apps based on their set of merits and demerits. Moreover, these apps can come in handy for those willing to pursue courses in English-speaking countries.
Alternatively, there are several books to help you ease yourself with phonics. Having difficulties in pronunciation is not uncommon. However, this should not limit your opportunities. That is why there are several programs hosted around the world to help adults identify and rectify their issues with phonics. What’s best about these phonics apps and programs is that you can try them from the comfort of your home!
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,