Home > Language Arts, Phonics, Reading/Books, Sight Words > Smarty Pants School – Best Reading App

Smarty Pants School – Best Reading App

Smarty Pants School is well thought out and awesome application for teaching reading skills. It has built in assessment tool that will run for 10 mins and determine the kids skill level and suggest the program accordingly.  Assessment also gives you a preview of what is coming up.  The best part is the way they taught some of the skills.  It is engaging and entertaining. For special needs kids it also provides generalization (ex: the letters are not always in the same font or style).   The ‘signs’ program teaches the letters with a style. It is all signs that you see on the roads and the kid should find the right letter in the bunch of leeters. Of course this is after ‘My ABCs’ lesson so kid will already know the letters.  The other modues are also very good they teach letter sounds, first words and sight words.  It is little bit pricey but it is well worth it.

Enhancement requests:

Issues with Pictures

  • Pie/cake – It is confusing even for me
  • Pig  picture is in green and it is so small it is difficult to even recognize among  the 20 or pics there
  • Have setting so we can set the # of Pictures Displayed (ex: Some kids can only handle 4 and other may be able handle more)


  • After 3 failed attempts it goes back and say ‘ try again’. Can you just keep going? Any reason for going to the home screen?
  • Matching pictures with same sound s- As soon as the match is done (even when it is a guess) the pictures fly away. Can you adjust setting so it will stay and say ‘ Hat and helmet have the same beginning sound”? This should help kids learn.

Customization options

  • Can you allow adults to select the words to be taught?
  • Can you allow users to upload their own pictures?

Sight words

  • Can you display the word discreetly or like help. It will display again for them to read. This makes it easy for them to solve without  giving up the task.
Area: Reading Age: Pre-school – 2nd Grade Cost: $4.99
Customizable: Yes Platform: iPad Rating: *****  

Description from Developer

Are you serious about teaching your child to read?

Then sign your little smarty pants up for Smarty Pants School.

Smarty Pants School offers a carefully-structured series of games and activities designed to strengthen children’s early reading skills based on the scientific recommendations of the National Reading Panel.

Which might sound like a royal bore.

But Smarty Pants School also makes it fun to get smarty. With a hip, Pop Art look and a friendly gang of cheering kids, Smarty Pants School will put a smile on any budding reader’s face.


Parents, teachers and children all love us (just take a look at our customer reviews!).

And so do the experts. Here’s what the reading specialists at TeachersWithApps.com say about Smarty Pants School:

“The look and feel of this app, as well as its user friendly, intuitive interface, is without a doubt one of the best we’ve seen. We were awed not just by the presentation, which is very COOL, but were impressed with the depth and scope of material that this very comprehensive app contains…The music grabs you right away, the photography is sensational, the content is totally engaging, their mascot adorable, as are the little Smarty Pants voices, and the lessons to be learned are a must have.”


Unlike any other application for the iPhone or iPad, Smarty Pants School starts by evaluating children’s proficiency in five skill areas known to be the building blocks of reading success:

1. letter knowledge,
2. phonemic awareness
3. phonics,
4. regular ‘phonetic’ words
5. and irregular ‘sight’ words.

The entire assessment takes less than 10 minutes and is full of positive encouragement and fun activities designed to reduce children’s test anxiety.

At the end of the assessment, our Smarty Pants Assessment Report shows your child’s performance in each basic skill area relative to standard grade-level expectations and common state standards.

Then we’ll suggest the Smarty Pants “classes” that are right for your child.

The Smarty Pants School application includes five different smarty classes, each one designed to strengthen a particular grade-appropriate reading skill, from recognizing the letters of the alphabet to spelling irregular words.

Each smarty class contains multiple games, activities and puzzles that become increasingly more challenging as the child advances. Children collect shiny star stickers as they master each challenge, cheered along by our friendly gang of smarty pants kids. And when a child completes all the levels within a given class, they are awarded an official Smarty Pants School diploma (which can be emailed or printed out for posterity).

You can even add as many children as you like and Smarty Pants School will keep track of each child’s progress individually over the course of the school year.

So tell your little smarty pants to have fun. And get smarty.

  1. April 9, 2011 at 11:03 am

    4/9/11 – Matching pictures with same sound s- As soon as the match is done (even when it is a guess) the pictures fly away. Can you adjust setting so it will stay and say ‘ Hat and helmet have the same beginning sound”? This should help kids learn.

  2. April 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    One of the users question is, can this run on Iphone?

  3. April 12, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Thanks for those suggestions. All good (and we agree about the green pig as well…).

    To answer your question about why we return the child to the home screen after “three failed attempts”: You’ll notice that in the games designed for younger children (e.g., ABC’s, Alphabet Games), we allow the child to make as many guesses as they need without penalizing them. But in the games designed for older children (e.g., First Words, Sight Words), we start limiting the number of wrong they can make and then, eventually, force them to start over. This is because creating an aversive “cost” for wrong answers prevents them from randomly guessing and, both the academic research and our own experience in user testing shows this ultimately increases learning, focus and retention for most “typical” kids. This said, I can see that some kids and parents might not respond well to “losing”… Perhaps something else to add to the customization options.

  1. August 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm

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