The Ergohacks Verdict

Hairy Letters is a synthetic phonics app that teaches young children the shape and phonetic sounds of letters. Designed by Bristol-based company Net Educational Systems (Nessy), it is an app that combines learning, colour, fun and humour to create an interactive learning experience that should appeal to small children eager to learn how to read and write.

The target audience is age 4 – 7 years and we introduced it to Cass as soon as she had mastered a basic understanding of how letters work to produce words and had the fine motor skills to accurately trace letters on the screen. The voice over is done with a male English (UK) accent.

Hairy Letters is an affordable educational app that aligns with the British educational system and provides an appealing way to learn the first steps in phonics. Cass used it regularly and by the time she’d worked her way through this app alongside a few other similar ones, she had learned the phonetic sounds of all the letters in an interesting and entertaining way.

Ergohacks Essential

Buy it from the Apps Store or Play Store

Cost: £2.99


Platforms: Android, iOS
Genre: educational game for EYFS (Age 4 – 5)
Number of players: single player
Release date: January 2011
Audience Rating: 4+ Nessy recommends ages 4 – 7, however it only covers content learned in pre-school and reception year. We found it perfect for a 4-5 year-old. 

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The Nessy approach to learning has been developed by a team of experienced specialist teachers at the Bristol Dyslexia Centre*. It uses a visual-based approach to anchor new letters to memorable images or funny animation. Although developed by Dyslexia specialists, it’s an all-inclusive strategy that works well to teach synthetic phonics to all children.

 We based our Ergohacks Verdict on 12 months of using the app. This article was first published on 9 March 2014 and last updated on 16 October 2017.