Phono Learning Center App Review and GIVEAWAY

At the end of May, Smarty Ears released a new app called Phono Learning Center.  This app is based on the Hodson Cycles approach which is used specifically for those children who are unintelligible due to a sound-system disorder.  I found this article by Caroline Bowen at that has a great explanation of the Cycles approach. 

Smarty Ears contacted me before the end of the school year to do a review of this app.  I was able to download it and try it out with a few students before the end of the year.  I haven't given it a whole "cycle" yet, but did get some great feedback from my students!  I'm just now sitting down to write this review because, lets face it, now I have some more time!  The end of the year was crazy!

Phono Learning Center (PLC) starts out like most Smarty Ears Apps.  You add players and select participants.  You can import from Therapy Report Center if you use it.  You can select multiple players at a time.

You can double click on each student to adjust the targets that you will be working on.  You can select the level (words, phrases, sentences), primary targets (syllables, initial consonants, final consonants, s clusters, final s clusters, posterior contrasts, anterior contrasts, liquids), and secondary targets (voicing contrasts, stridents, palatals, consonant sequences, medial k, postvocalic r).  There are also advanced targets for students 8 and older.

You can also change the settings before you begin. In the settings you can choose to restrict the app use based on the Cycles framework.

Next, is an auditory bombardment activity where students tap balloons to listen to target words.

After Auditory Bombardment, you select the game you would like to play.  There are four choices:



Basket Paper:


When you have completed your activity, you can go to the report card.  Data collection tabs are at the top right corner of every activity. There is a missed button, almost button, and got it button.  I like having the almost button because it gives me an idea of how many prompts a student needs at the word, phrase, or sentence level. 

One of the best things about this app is the Homework aspect.  On the opening page under the Support button, there is a link to homework pages.  There are a variety of pages available that you can email, print, or open in another app like iBooks.

What I liked about this app:
I thought this app was very thorough.  There were a variety of targets, and the games are really cute for students.  This app is clearly based on the evidence-based practice of the Cycles approach.  The data that is collected is really effective.

What would make this app even better:
There did not seem to be an end to two of the games: balloon, and basket paper.  It would be great if there was a counter or something else to keep track of the number of trials.  My students love having a target number of trials to work towards.

How can you get this app?
You can get Phono Learning Center at the iTunes store for $14.99. This is currently a sale price, with a regular price of $24.99.  I believe the sale will be ending within the next few days.  You can also enter to win a copy in my rafflecopter giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided a copy of the app by Smarty Ears. for this review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.



  1. This looks like a great app and I'm already listing all the kiddos in my head that this app would be great for!

    1. I've used the cycles approach a few times, it works really well with some students.

  2. I've used the cycles approach a few times.

  3. I am definitely excited about learning more about cycles

  4. I used Cycles for the first time this year and found it to be very useful for several of my kids.

  5. Yes, I have used the Cycles approach. This looks like a great app and I have some students in mind who I could use it with.

  6. I have. It works well for some students.

  7. I have used Cycles but when I met the author of this app a few years ago, I found out I was doing it somewhat incorrectly (like treating /f/ as an early target and doing s-blends later and such - oops). Mary is definitely an expert and I cannot wait to try out this app!!

    1. I would love to learn more about they Cycles approach too. Sounds like you got some really great information from Mary!

  8. I have used the cycles approach, but not for a long time. This looks like a great app!

  9. I use it quite a bit with my younger kids with phonological delays. Works well!

  10. I have used cycles approach with variety of results

  11. I have used it with a few students.


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