Developed by a team at Bangor University, who really understand
the learning needs of children with reading difficulties and/or dyslexia,
Sounds and Rhymes offers more than 20 games and activities, which build
children’s awareness of basic letter sounds and how these correspond to
A bright, uncluttered interface ensures that the focus is on
learning. Graphics and animation add visual interest and reinforce user
actions. Sampled speech is used to introduce letter sounds and words, if
desired, and teachers can select which sounds are practised in a session.
Other options allow teachers to define the overall presentation of the
program (sound effects, animations, graphic style).
Each exercise is delivered in short sections, since frequent,
brief practice sessions are recommended. Three main areas are covered:
vowel sounds, rhymes and consonant blends. Activities encourage children
to match vowels to pictures, identify initial vowels and consonants, sort
objects into vowel groups, select missing initial and final consonants,
match or make rhyming words and identify words which don't rhyme.
Most activities are completed via drag-and-drop, or
point-and-click interactivity. Pupils can also key in text to practise the
spelling of consonant blends. User feedback reinforces correct answers
with a tick and/or a graphic response (a picture fills a space in a grid,
for example). If an incorrect answer is selected it simply disappears. If
two incorrect responses are made, a new word is presented. In this way,
mistakes are never reinforced by negative feedback. A 'Show Me' feature
demonstrates how consonant blends are constructed.
Report files record pupils' responses and enable teachers to
track progress. These are displayed in a browser and can then be copied
into any wordprocessor for printing.
A basic User Guide clarifies installation, setup, program
contents and game instructions.
Although the program offers useful practice and the games are
sure to be enjoyed by pupils, the number of items available for some
activities is limited (only 5 words are offered in the Initial Letter
activity, whereas a greater number of randomly generated items would give
more solid practice). Likewise, although it is possible to define which
activities will run in a session, users are not able to select these
freely from a menu and can only locate a particular exercise by moving
through the games in sequence. But these are minor irritations - overall
the program offers good value for money.