Tuesday 15 July 2014

App Review: Arabic with Taha and Maryam - Alphabet

When I was asked to review the Arabic with Taha and Maryam App by Arrabee, one thing stood out. The company was founded by two sisters , one of whom is a speech and language therapist with two children.  This made me curious as to how this app might bee different or specifically tailored to the way children learn languages.

The app is made up of a game in the style of a board game, so was easily recognisable to my children.  The board and the characters on it are attractive and colourful and the sound effects clear but not distracting or irritating.  My first impression of the game was that it was easy to understand and play.

You can choose from up to four characters - two boys and two girls which was perfect for my four children.  One of the girls wears hijab and the other doesn't, one of the boys wears a kufi (hat) and the other doesn't, the characters are also of different skin tones.

I got my older three to try out the app and they found it easy to navigate.  At 7, 9 and 11 they are too old for this app as they are already reading Quran fluently.  They still enjoyed playing around with it and competing against each other.  As you move around the board, for each turn you see a letter and then hear it being sounded out, players then then have to identify the letter from a selection five that are displayed.

One aspect of the app that I liked was that it lets parents check their children's progress for each letter and they have to get to know certain letters before they move onto new ones.

The creators highlight the following features of their app:
  • No other app uses a board game to teach the Arabic alphabet
  • Up to four children of different ages can play at one time
  • 3 levels make the learning process simple and easy
  • Learning is at the pace of each individual child
  • Artificial intelligence is used so new letters are only added when your child has learnt the preceding letters
  • Letters are taught in a specially designed order taking into account normal speech-sound development and visual features of individual letters
  • Flashcards with audio allow the look and sound of letters to be learnt
  • Progress page graphically shows show well your child is doing
  • Progress for up to 30 children can be saved
  • Safe environment with no advertising, in-app purchases or collection of personal information
Personally, I thought that this was a really nice app for the right age range.  It's aimed at 5 and under, which is about the age that many children start learning Arabic.  I would try this with Darling when she is older (and knows to stop deleting everything off my phone).

The app usually costs $1.99 at a promotional price, but is currently free for the month of Ramadan, I would say definitely give it a try whilst it is free to see if it is for you. 

It is currently available in the iTunes store here.
The Arrabee website is here.  It is worth checking out for the blog which has additional resources such as colouring pages.
Their Facebook page is here and their Twitter is here.

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