Once your kids have passed the initial phase of learning about phonics and sight words, the next phase that they’d have to conquer is learning about the syllables that make up the words. Getting to know these syllables will help them build words — even new ones — on their own.
I’ve seen plenty of apps that aim to help kids to learn reading and building words, but I’ve never seen one that’s focused on getting the syllables correctly. Nok Syllables is the first one I’ve played with that is designed to teach kids to identify the syllables of a word, count them, find the missing ones, and build a new word from them. Through the different activities, kids will learn about multi-syllable words and how to break them down — in a fun and magical way, of course.
Meet Nok and His Magical Lab
Prior to playing Nok Syllables, I didn’t know that my kids would be able to break down five-syllable words, such as archaeologist and tyrannosaurus. But, the game has proven me wrong. With an interactive gameplay and three difficulty levels, Nok Syllables is able to guide kids ages 4+ to break down words into syllables and construct them back again.
The game is divided into four different activities according to the recommended curve for learning multi-syllable words. In the first activity, for example, you are asked to identify and count how many syllables are there in a word. I’d suggest starting with the easiest level first, which contains one-syllable and two-syllable words, such as chair and chicken. Once you’ve understood the concept, you can move on to the more difficult levels, which feature words such as sword, building, computer, and watermelon.
To keep things interesting, the game will turn words you’ve correctly built into real objects that Nok and his friend can collect and play with. The game illustrates this concept by filling the correct jars with green chemicals that will supposedly turn into the appropriate object, given that you provide the correct syllables to construct the word. For example, if you want to create a
telephone, you’d need to combine these syllables in the correct order:
In the next activity, you are challenged to find a word that has the correct syllable count. Given a set of three objects, you would have to count the syllables in the word that represents each object and decide which one matches the required syllable count. If you get it right, you’d receive the object.
The third activity asks you to find the missing syllable that would complete the word according to the image hint. As with all the other activities, the narrator will pronounce the word to give you an idea of what syllable you must find. For example, to construct the word
lizard, the game will show you three syllable options to combine with
liz, such as
In the final activity, the game challenges you to construct a word from scratch. Given only the image and the pronunciation from the narrator, you’d need to build the word.
Parents Need to Know
Once you have completed all 12 levels of the game, you will unlock the tournament mode. In this mode, you can play with all the games with their different difficulty levels, but with a given period of time to submit your answer. This mode may be appropriate for older kids ages 6+.
If you’re helping your kids to learn about syllables, keep in mind that a syllable is measured as the sound of a vowel, but not the vowel itself. For example, the word
building may have three vowels in it, but it’s actually a two-syllable word.
Nok Syllables can be played without an internet connection. It doesn’t have any third-party ads, in-app purchases, or links to social media.
Things I Like
Unlike many other apps for kids that I’ve played with, Nok Syllables come with three-life allowance. Each time you answer incorrectly, you lose one life. This avoids turning the game into a trial-and-error activity. And I believe it’s crucial for learning syllables to get it right rather than just throwing everything until you find the right combination. I also believe that the game itself would be less interesting if it allows unlimited trials.
Given this requirement, the game helps you to try your answer without submitting it. For example, you can drag the syllables into the jars to test whether they would sound correctly or not. When you’re ready to submit, you simply pull the lever on the right hand side. This simple mechanism helps to avoid any accidental taps, and helps you to test and be sure about your answer before submitting it.
Nok Syllables is one of those apps that you never knew you needed it until you see it for the first time. I’m not an expert in early literacy, but I know breaking down words into syllables and using them to construct the words again is an essential skill to help kids develop their reading skills. I only wish that the developer would update the app to include more words that are appropriate for the age range.
App was provided for our honest review.