Phontasia: A phonics game for German and its effect on orthographic skills–first corpus explorations

Kay Berkling


This paper reports on first results in a study on orthography acquisition for children in German elementary school. One major aspect of German orthography concerns the marking of vowel duration, which occurs in every regular word in German. Therefore, mastery of this pattern has a large impact both on accurate spelling and very likely on reading ability. However, data shows that acquisition of this sub-skill appears difficult for kids to master, even beyond elementary school. In this paper, we explore a corpus of freely written text data that was collected on a weekly basis across several third grade classes in three different schools over a period of three months. Two of the schools participated in an intervention (iPad Phonics Game for German, called Phontasia). Studying the impact of the game on skill acquisition proved difficult because the ability to employ iPads in the classroom was correlated with socio-economic status of the schools. Results from VERA, a German standardized test, were obtained for several classes, allowing us to add one control group to the study. Preliminary results indicate that Phontasia intervention is worth pursuing in future studies to improve orthographic skills.


 DOI: 10.21437/WOCCI.2017-2

Cite as: Berkling, K. (2017) Phontasia: A phonics game for German and its effect on orthographic skills–first corpus explorations. Proc. WOCCI 2017: 6th International Workshop on Child Computer Interaction, 7-16, DOI: 10.21437/WOCCI.2017-2.


@inproceedings{Berkling2017,
  author={Kay Berkling},
  title={Phontasia: A phonics game for German and its effect on orthographic skills–first corpus explorations},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. WOCCI 2017: 6th International Workshop on Child Computer Interaction},
  pages={7--16},
  doi={10.21437/WOCCI.2017-2},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/WOCCI.2017-2}
}