Happi Reads and Happi Spells are two fun literacy Apps from Happi Papi. Although I have the English versions, international versions are available in alternative languages, depending on which country’s iTunes store they are purchased (more information below.)
Happi Reads is a variation of a flash card activity where children read a word and then match it to one of three pictures. Children are clapped and cheered, and receive a fruit token for correctly identifying each word. Once six tokens have been collected, the game ends with children tapping a large picture if the fruit to “eat it.” The feedback for incorrect answers is an “uh-uh” noise. Children don’t get a second attempt at the same word, but they move on to a different word without a penalty. The logic behind this is that the designers thought that, if kids were to get a second chance at the same word and picture set, they would start guessing instead of really making an effort to read the word.
Happi Reads has four levels of difficulty, with 25 words in each level making a total of 100 words. The easiest level, orange, has single syllable words such as boy, red, cat. The hardest level is watermelon, with words such as trumpet, police, tomato and clock. None of the levels are locked, so children do not have to progress through lower levels before they try the harder words. Although the words don’t correspond exactly to the sight word lists my children bring home from school, they are reasonably close, and all of them have appeared in the home readers. I think it is safe to say that the words are very common words that your child will find in their everyday reading and stories.
Below is the YouTube video of Happi Reads
Happi Reads is available for the iPad, the iPhone and Android. Links are below.
Happi Spells is a crossword game for young children. The clues come in the form of pictures at the start of each word. The words are entered into the crossword by dragging letters strewn around the screen to their correct spot. Letters can be displayed in either upper or lower case.
If the crossword looks a bit daunting, there are some supportive features to help children through the task.
- Built-in Success – Letters snap into the crossword grid when placed correctly and pop out when placed in the wrong spot. This means that it is impossible to place letters incorrectly.
- Levels – Each level has 12 crosswords. Level one has 4 words per puzzle, level 2 has 5 words, level 3 has 6 words and levels 4-5 usually have 6-8 words per puzzle. There are about 150 different words that are used throughout the levels. Many words are used on more than one level. In each level, completing each puzzle will unlock the next. Once all 12 are solved, the next level will be unlocked. Although it is intended that children work through the App puzzle by puzzle, level by level, all levels can be unlocked through the Settings App. Go to Settings>General and scroll down to Happi Spells. You can then unlock the Levels.
- A peek option displays the answer when the lightbulb is tapped. This can be turned off via the Settings App.
- Data can be reset via the Settings App.
The YouTube video below shows Happi Spells in Action
What you won’t get
Before I go into my wish list for both Apps, I should point out that these Apps are very reasonably priced for what they are, and that for the price, I don’t actually expect a lot of extra features. I’m really happy with what there already is in the App. Still, it would be nice to have:
- Individual Profiles – Neither of the Apps allow you to create individual profiles for children, so in a class setting this might be problematic.
- Customised word lists – I’d like to be able to turn certain words on or off in particular levels so that I could get my child to concentrate on specific words. With 25 words per level in Happi Reads, that might not seem like a big deal, however students with learning difficulties might cope better if they only concentrate on a few words at a time. I can’t see this working in Happi Spells, but it would be great for Happi Reads.
- No in-app purchases – Happi Papi have a no in-app purchases policy, so once you purchase an App, you don’t need to worry about your children being pestered (or pestering you) to pay for extra features. Happi Spells is promising extra levels in the future, but these will be available as a free App upgrade.
- No Social Networking – Happi Papi also believe (as I do) that Children’s Apps should not link directly to social networking sites. You’ll find the address for their Facebook group in their Parents Information section, but you won’t be able to directly link to the group from the App.
- Alternative Languages – Happi Spells is available in Danish, English, Norwegian and Swedish. Happi Reads is available in these languages and also French, German, Italian and Spanish. Language versions are localised to the iTunes store in particular countries, for example in Australia you’ll only find the English version, but in Italy you’ll find the Italian version. I know I have some international readers who will be very pleased about this.
- Happi Papi Evaluation Program for Schools – Schools can sign up to this program to receive free Apps for evaluation as they are released. Happi Papi asks for feedback in return, however this is not mandatory and there are no obligations. Schools can sign up via the Happi Papi website.
Both Happi Reads and Happi Spells fit really well with the Australian National Curriculum for English. They can be useful as a fun reinforcement/reward activity and could also be a great Literacy Block rotation activity. Both Apps have earned a permanent spot on my iPad. Disclaimer: Happi Papi kindly provided me with these Apps to review.
Both Apps are Published by Happi Papi, also trading as Serendipity
Happi Reads is also available for Android from the Amazon store, Price: $1.
Happi Spells is also available for Android from the Amazon Store. Price: 99 cents.
- Happi 123 – A Maths Game for Kids by Happi Papi (onsarahsipad.wordpress.com)
- Can Apps Revolutionize Early Education? (bigthink.com)