Duolingo has launched March 2020, a completely free app. It helps parents who have suddenly found themselves homeschooling in COVID-19.
This new app is Duolingo ABC, and it is for children learning to read in English. For now, it is only available on iOS, and you can only download it in eight countries. In the Americas, in the United States, and in Canada. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland are the countries that have the same privilege in Europe. And in Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
You can also use the app offline. It has no ads and no in-app purchases.
They planned to launch this new app further this year. But due to the pandemic, it was unveiled sooner.
The company explained this on the iOS app page:
“In light of the recent school closures around the world, we’re making Duolingo ABC available early to help provide more educational resources for kids and parents at home.”
Although this app does not help us or our children learn Italian, we are excited about this launch. We know the high standards this language-learning company has. And we hope a similar app for teaching children to read Italian will also follow. We will be watching out for this!
Duolingo ABC is the third platform launched!
With this app, Duolingo is attempting to help native speakers. And this time of a far younger audience compared to what they have done with their other two platforms. If you are not familiar with Duolingo’s primary service, check it out by clicking here. When publishing this post, they are teaching many pairs of languages. For English speakers, there are 32 languages available. And you can take the complete course in each and all these languages for free.
Duolingo has also launched a flashcard platform to help language learners absorb vocabulary. To check their flashcard platform, click here. It is also completely free to use.
Learning with games
Children like to play. That is not a secret. And even adults, when we can learn in a game format, we enjoy it more.
Duolingo has experience in gamification. And this makes us excited about Duolingo ABC. Children from age three and upward can enjoy this platform.
“You found a story. This story is called Mad Monkeys!”
The app begins with its first lesson this way. There are 127 units with more than 300 lessons summing all the units. After going through the app, a child should know how to read elementary school texts. It sounds a bit different from how I learned to read, LOL.
What can I find inside Duolingo ABC?
It is super simple to use and very intuitive for a 3-year-old child. The “gamified exercises” inside the app teach a child all the letters in the alphabet. He will learn their sounds with some other fundamentals required for early reading.
The app presents one letter at a time. And it asks kids to tap, drag, listen and speak out loud.
The first time a parent opens the app for his child, he must introduce the kid’s name or nickname. Would you be surprised to see your child writing his name a few days later? Who taught him? Duolingo ABC (with no effort from his parents).
This app also uses speech recognition. Children to advance certain levels need to say a letter or read a whole word. The app will need access to the device’s microphone.
If the parents deem it necessary, developers will explain how they collect children’s data. Also, how they use and share it. Duolingo ABC sends this information to parents by email. And parents have choices. They update Privacy policies every If the parents deem it necessary, developers will explain how they collect children’s data. Also, how they use and share it. Duolingo ABC sends this information by email to parents. And parents have the final word. Privacy policies every once in a while. And the updates are also sent via email. But if parents do not provide an email, the child can still play with Duolingo ABC.
The first game the preschooler will come across is “Mad Monkeys.” In it, he will trace the letter “m.” After that, he will identify its sound and recognize words that start with “m.” And as the game progresses, things get a bit more complex. Distinguishing uppercase and lowercase versions is one of the activities. And another one is to say out loud words that include “m.”
To unlock successive games, the infant must complete earlier games.
The games are colorful and will engage any child. I even imagine grown-ups that want to learn English playing them. These mini-games take their players on a logical journey. They start with simple things and gradually increase in complexity.
Duolingo ABC cons
- Children that already have some reading skills can not choose where to start. Everybody must slog through the early levels. It may take some time until they reach material that challenges them.
- The app can be too engaging, LOL. What kid would not like tapping through stories, popping bubbles, and tracing letters? It is a very colorful environment. And it can suck hours away from our little ones. So parents must watch out and allow the child to play with the device in small doses.
- Currently, Duolingo ABC is only available for learning English on iOS. And only in eight countries. In the Americas, the United States, and Canada. England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Ireland in Europe. And in Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.
Duolingo ABC pros
- They start with the very basics and build up from there.
- The app helps kids with all four language skills. As background knowledge, there are two receptive skills and two productive. The former are listening and reading. And the latter are speaking and writing.
- It is engaging.
- Completely free (no ads nor anything of that sort whatsoever).
Duolingo’s first platform teaches adults a second language. But it includes ads for the free version. In contrast, Duolingo ABC is add-free.
We appreciate this effort by Duolingo. For all those parents out there, please check it out. And for those that have already done, please leave us your comment about your experience with the app.
Thank you very much!