Phonological awareness skills are important in order to develop good reading skills.

By engaging in word play, children learn to recognize patterns among words and use this knowledge to read and build words.


Phonological Awareness Lab  is a fun, multi-level game specifically designed to improve phonological awareness in children. The app is centered around the theme of a laboratory.  Phonological Awareness Lab has four “labs” to target phonological awareness skills needed for reading.


1. The Sentence Experiment Lab

The student is required to tap the dropper for each word they hear in the sentence

This is also a great feature for addressing working memory and syntax.

There is a limited number of drops in the dropper, and particularly with the longer sentences, the student tends to get the answer correct because they cannot add more to the beaker.

It would be a great addition to this task if the sentence length and complexity could be increased.




2. The Decoding Room

This has two ‘doors’

  • Blending Syllables
  • Blending Sounds

The Frankenstein monster adds a lovely touch to this task and gives a thumbs up when a student selects the correct answer.

What I would like is the ability to increase the number of pictures in order to increase the difficulty level of the task.

Blending sounds incorporates long and short vowel sounds as well blends.

If the student makes an error, the incorrect item is removed and the student has the opportunity to try again.

This task also address working memory because the student cannot respond until all the items have been heard.




3.  The Rhyming Compound

This has 3 tasks

  • Rhyming Identification:  Rhyming Identification requires the student to identify whether a sequence of words rhyme or do not rhyme.
  • Rhyming Selection: This task requires the student to match the target word with another rhyming word.
  • Rhyming Match: The student is required to match the 4 words that rhyme from 7 items.

I really like the fact that there is no time constraint for any of these activities and this allows you to teach concepts if a student is having difficulty. It also allows you to prompt the student to the final level of rhyming – rhyme production.






4. The Syllable X-Ray

The student must  select the word with the same number of syllables displayed on the x-ray machine. If the student makes an error, the word is turned over and the correct number of syllables is displayed.
Syllable X-Ray allows customization for the individual by choosing the number of syllables to choose (from one to five), as well as the number of pictures from which to choose (from 2 to 4).

This task essentially requires the student to work out the number of syllables in all the words in order to select the correct one.








  • Like all the Smarty Ears Apps, Phonological Awareness Lab can be used with multiple players in each session. Phonological Awareness Lab allows up to 5 children at a time.  The only constraint is that all players need to do the same task.
  • Data is gathered for each player throughout the session and a report is generated.
  • Data can be exported to the Therapy Report Center
  • There is a great video tutorial on how to use the app.


Phonological Awareness Lab targets many of the phonological awareness skills for early reading development. There is scope for increasing the depth of scope of this app by including things like phoneme identification.

A reward game would also keep students more engaged.


Phonological Awareness Lab is available on the App Store for $14.99

Smarty Ears have provided me with a copy of  Phonological Awareness Lab to giveaway. All you need to do is enter via the rafflecopter below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



A copy of this app was provided to me for review. All opinions are my own.

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