Available in the App Store

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Kumon Uppercase ABCs is a letter tracing app designed to help children learn to recognize and write uppercase letters. Built in visual and audio cues are great for language reinforcement, and a fun matching game helps keep the app interesting.

The Good

This app is all about the positive reinforcement, even if your child makes a mistake while drawing a letter. A kind word and a little encouragement can go a long way, especially with sensitive children, so I particularly appreciated the effort to keep it positive in Kumon Uppercase ABCs.

Repetition is an extremely useful educational tool, especially for pre-k learners, and this app has children draw each letter three times, with less support for each attempt. Kumon Uppercase ABCs also gives you the option of letting children learn letters alphabetically, in a random order or in a difficulty scaled Kumon method, which I highly recommend.

Diligent practice is rewarded with fun, occasionally interactive pictures of items starting with each letter. If kids complete each letter successfully three times they earn a customizable certificate of completion. That was a big hit in my family, and is a sure way to keep kids engaged.

Kumon Uppercase ABCs has a second section that quizzes kids on the sounds letters make, another important educational building block. We made this a group activity and tried to find items in the house that started with the sound we were guessing to keep it lively, to fabulous results.

The Not So Good

Some of the app’s iTunes reviewers expressed concerns about the app’s practical application, since it has children trace with their finger instead of write freehand or on lined paper. I think using a stylus might help improve the app’s effectiveness at teaching children how to actually write letters.

On several letters the interactive pictures stop responding after the first motion or touch, and the kids had a few problems with the letter “M” and a few others being super sensitive if they even got close to the edges of the trace area, which was frustrating.

I also noticed that if you exit the matching section the game will continue to play in the background, reading the next letter matching scenario automatically. It doesn’t last for long, but the audio was a bit confusing to the kids. At about $4 Kumon Uppercase ABCs won’t break the bank, although it is a bit pricier than some other letter tracing apps we’ve looked at.

Bottom line

This app utilizes some seriously smart educational techniques but is a bit rough around the edges.

There are many apps for teaching young kids letter writing, but ours is unique. First, we illustrate the proper stroke order and method of writing each letter through an animation. Then letters are traced by the child 3 times, each time with one less set of guidelines, until the child is writing the letter by him or herself. Second, our app features the unique Kumon order, in which letters are mastered in order of simplicity. Our app also includes interactive illustrations for each letter, a sound game so kids can learn to associate the proper sound with each letter, and lots of other interactive and design elements to make the app fun and effective. Regular Price: $3.99